Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Speaking Up

Are you the little mouse in the corner or are you the big, bad dog? 

I admit it.  I am the barking dog.  I am not quite a rabble-rouser anymore as I was in my younger days, but I do speak my mind.

This issue came up yesterday with a few acquaintances of mine.  I was suggesting that we make an issue about how we are being treated at a certain business we frequent.  We women were divided on the course of action.  A few were suggesting that we not complain, lest the facility no longer make services available.  I and one other woman said that we needed to speak up.  The services are not free.  We are paying customers.

I started thinking about this some more when I got home.  I wondered why some people, especially women of a certain age, are so hesitant to open their mouths.  I believe it is the 'little woman' or 'battered woman' syndrome.  They seem to believe that if they complain, it will only get worse.

I remember a time when I was a teen and my mother came home from a baby shower.  It was on my father's side of the family.  My mother had what some would call a 'big mouth'.  She related the following story:

The women were talking about beauty and fashion, or at least their idea of it.  One of my father's cousins had long straight hair.  The women were trying to convince her to get it cut short.  They told her she would be more attractive with shorter hair.  She replied that if she cut her hair that her husband 'Johnny' would beat her.  My mother told her that if she cut her hair, the next time she ended up in emergency saying that she 'fell', at least she would look good.  The fact was that 'Johnny' didn't need an excuse to beat her, he did it every time he got drunk.  Yet this poor woman thought he did it because he 'loved' her.  And she didn't want to complain.

Yesterday, the more I thought about this 'don't complain' mentality, the madder I got.  Why do women of my generation fear speaking up?  Why do these women look down on other women who do?   Why, when Reps. Brown and Byrum spoke up for women in the State Legislature, did other women jump on them and criticize, echoing the male jerks in the chamber? 

I remember a time about five years ago when I talking to a woman a few years older than I.  She said to me that the world would not get any better for women until all the men over 60 were dead.  She said that these men believed that women should stay at home and do what their husbands and fathers tell them to do.  She was tired of it.

I have to say that I still see older men raise their eyebrows when I speak up.  I know they don't like it.  Makes me 'yap' even more.  And I guess men aren't the only problem if women are willing to spend their money and not get 100% service in return.


  1. Denise, I'm a yapper, too. The older I get the more I realize there's nothing anyone can do to me when I offer my opinion. Very liberating!

  2. I just came back from a subdivision meeting where I again did a lot of yapping. Glad to know I am not the only one who does so.


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