I remember last Thanksgiving at our family gathering. I got passionate about something, and a male family member kept interrupting me. I told him very firmly to stop, and he said, “Don’t yell at me.”
Now, if you’d ever heard me yell (remember, I used to be an opera singer), you’d know I wasn’t even close to yelling. I told him so, and he left the table.
He wanted to control the conversation, and when I wouldn’t let him, he accused me of yelling, and that was supposed to make me shut up. When that didn’t work, he took his football and left.
Most of you women have heard this MANY, MANY times in your lives when you weren’t even close to yelling. Some of you men may have been the ones saying, “Don’t yell at me,” when the woman wasn’t even close to yelling.
It’s another cultural voice story. Women aren’t supposed to speak strongly and forcefully. And to put us back in our place when we do, we’re accused of “yelling,” which is not nice or feminine.
It’s a way of saying – I’m can stop listening to you because you’re speaking in a way I don’t like, or – you’ve stepped over a line, which means I don’t have to listen to you.
Donald Trump talks about HRC this way. He says she shouts all the time and that “Women don’t shout,” as if that invalidates everything she says.
No matter what you think of HRC, none of the male candidates were ever called out for shouting, which they all do.
So, dear conscious men – if you find yourself complaining that a woman is yelling or shouting at you, check in. It is really true, or are you perpetuating that old story that women shouldn’t speak strongly? Or are you just trying to avoid or end a conversation?
Dear women – don’t fall for that old story. Keep speaking up and speaking out, strongly and forcefully. Your powerful voices are needed.