Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Mean Girl

I am opinionated. I say what’s on my mind. Sometimes, when I feel the situation warrants it, I am blunt. Does this make me seem like a mean person? Does it cause people to perceive me as ‘less feminine’? Apparently, it does.

Since when does being outspoken equal being mean? I’ve seen and heard things over the past few months that indicate that some people view me as a mean person. And I’m starting to get the impression that because of my outspokenness people see me as not being very feminine. I’ve always been a tomboy, but this is different. It’s like my perceived femininity directly corresponds to what I say. It's not like I walk around spewing obscenities and rude criticism, though. I think it's a similar phenomenon to people viewing strong or successful women as cold.

While I try very hard not to judge others, I’m not afraid to call a spade a spade, and I would expect others to do the same to me. If someone is trying to sell me a load of BS, then of course I'm going to call them on it. It’s not about being mean; it’s about observation and interpretation. It’s about having a brain and using it. It’s about seeing beneath the surface, and seeing through the smoke. It’s about having an opinion and being unafraid to share it, even though someone may not agree.

I understand that perceptions are unique; I know I may not see things in myself that others see. I also may come across differently to others than I intend. However, I really don’t believe that I am a mean person; I’m actually very caring, and I think I’m pretty nice. So does having an opinion (and not being afraid to be honest and sometimes blunt) mean that I can’t also be a nice person?

Does this stem from some culturally ingrained notion that women are better seen than heard, and that a “nice” woman is one who smiles and keeps her mouth shut? Because if that’s the case, I suppose can accept being viewed as mean.

Contrary to (apparently) popular belief, I am indeed capable of keeping my opinions to myself. I would never say something to a friend if I thought it would hurt his/her feelings. If someone specifically asked for my honesty, I would be as gentle as possible when sharing any potentially hurtful information. It’s not like I completely lack a filter. But I hate it when people are so afraid to state how they feel that you never really know what they’re thinking.

I guess maybe it’s human nature to view other people as ‘nice’ when they never say anything with which you might disagree.


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