Women like to be taken seriously. Why is obvious enough: Too many of us have spent too much of our lives not being taken seriously, or living in fear of not being taken seriously, or suspecting that even if we’re being taken seriously now, we won’t be in a minute or two.
We like to be taken seriously by men. We don’t like being: shouted down, patronized, ignored, regarded over the tops of our heads (whether literal or figurative), dismissed, psychoanalyzed, diagnosed or otherwise mansplained. We resent it when men try to tell us what we’re thinking and why, how we’re feeling and why, what we should be thinking and feeling and why. And we especially don’t like being told that our motives for doing something are other than what they are.
We don’t like it when women do that, either.
And that’s about all I have to say in response to Gloria Steinem and Madeleine Albright and their much-discussed attacks on the women — the young ones especially — who support Bernie Sanders over Hillary Clinton. By now you’ve read all about Steinem’s now-weakly-retreated suggestion that female students were flocking to Bernie for the boys; Albright’s hellfire proclamation damning such women for eternity; and all the responses, both sympathetic and outraged, that pit This Kind of Feminist versus That Kind of Feminist.
But that, too me, is not the issue. Bernie or Hillary is not the issue. The campaigns of both are not the issue. The issue, to me, is anyone of any sex on any side not taking any woman seriously. If some double-X Democrat says she’s voting for Sanders because she’s more closely aligned with him or she distrusts Clinton’s motives, BELIEVE HER. If someone else says she’s voting for Clinton because she’s experienced, savvy and gets things done, BELIEVE HER.
Don’t ignore what a woman is actually saying. Don’t shout her down. Don’t shut her up. Don’t shrink her, scoff at her, dismiss her point of view and impugn the validity of her thoughts, feelings, actions. Take her seriously. Take her at her word. That’s all we ever ask.
6 thoughts on “what women want”
Thank you for posting this, Amy. This was a lively discussion for most of my weekend, and your simple retort — believe her! — should be the only answer any of us need to give when asked to justify our choices.
What you said. You know, you get similar stuff on race and ethnicity, about not being authentically black enough, e.g.
So well said. Thank you.
Amen Amy, Amen!
(That’s ‘sister’ as in “South Pacific'”‘s Nellie Forbush, not a political ‘sister.’ Necessarily.)
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A longtime friend who now has no short term memory at all but adores Hilary and Gloria from the olden days had a wonderful laugh with me over the Albright “hell” comment, not to mention Gloria’s faux pas. Laughing is so important now that she can’t recall “what just happened.” But she so enjoyed just seeing this word-war, took her back to her BPW, AAUW, League and Dem days. Now I can’t wait to show her your piece, and she’ll say “Damn straight, we want to be taken seriously.” I know that’s what she’ll say, and maybe just, “Get me some more from this Biancoli. I’d like to know her.”