Disagreement and Respect

When someone says something you know to be blatantly wrong, there are different ways to react…

—roll your eyes
—smile politely and move on
—explain your own position

Or if you really respect them…

—stop and wonder, have I missed something? could I be the one who’s wrong?

The final straw in my relationship with my dad — which had many, many problems — was when I realized he would never respect me enough to wonder when we disagreed if I had a good reason, if maybe he was the one who was wrong.

It’s subtle and hard to quantify, but over the years, I’ve become fairly sure that I’ve seen a wide gulf in terms of how often men are afforded that degree of respect as opposed to women.

As opposed to ME.

And it has made me fierce. And angry.

So when women seem preemptively angry and defensive, try to imagine a lifetime of people not QUITE listening to you, unless you were only saying what they expected to hear, in fact, of assuming that you’d misspoke if your words didn’t match their expectations.

When you spend a lifetime defending every statement — even simple ones like “I’m in pain” — then seeming casual and breezy becomes a performance, one that may be required of you daily but that never ever quite fits.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *