5 Reasons that a Woman Seems“Aggressive”

Don’t tell her to calm down.

Stark Raving

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Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash

An acquaintance of mine, let’s call him Aaron, has always refused to spar with me, saying he would “destroy me”. Yet as soon as another guy who does kickboxing came into town, he was super keen to try sparing. I called him out on it at a dinner with friends, and Aaron denied this was a sexist thing, saying he didn’t think I knew how to throw a proper punch. This is something he would never have doubted if I had been a guy who practiced Muay Thai. When I got frustrated with him, he told me I was being aggressive.

Women’s anger is still so unaccepted that we have to disguise it and wrap it up in feminine softness. When we talk about oppression, we are still expected to make our experiences palatable to men, so they don’t get upset or offended. If we fail to do so we are told we are being hysterical; we are told that we are not serving our cause, that we are turning people against feminism.

I thought it would be a good opportunity to write about why women might come across as aggressive, and why that shouldn’t change.

1) She isn’t being aggressive

Many fascinating linguistic studies show that if a man and a woman say exactly the same thing, it will not be perceived the same way by the person they are speaking to. We are so used to women saying things in a gentle way that they are perceived as being bitchy if they don’t sugarcoat everything. If they use the same words a man would.

There’s a lot of career advice out there telling women to stop writing “I’m sorry” or “I think” in their emails, but it is important to acknowledge the backlash that comes from them doing so. They will be judged for words that would be normal for a man.

So maybe a woman isn’t being aggressive at all, just refusing to adopt the linguistic constraints of womanhood.

2) You are making a thought experiment out of her life

Guys are often surprised when during debates about feminism, I appear more emotional than them. The fact is that they have the possibility of keeping a distance from these ideas. They can see them as an intellectual debate, they don’t have the emotional connection…

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Stark Raving

Intersectional feminism and environmental issues. Let’s make the world a kinder, more sustainable place. Support my work! https://starkraving.medium.com/members