I was bringing my mountain bike in to my hotel room when two guys decided to come in behind me after I had unlocked the hotel’s side entrance with my room key. As I made my way down the hallway, one of them tried to pass me.
I turned to him and said “Watch out!”
At the same time I heard him say: “You’re alright.”
I shot him a WTF stare, stopped at my room, entered, and then allowed what had just happened to sink in.
He had expected ME to apologize to HIM. When HE got in MY way.
Why did he expect that? Who did he think he was? After further reflection, I hated to admit it, but what do many women do? They apologize for things they have no need to apologize for.
I’m not wired that way. My place and value in the world are not above or below another person’s. I won’t apologize for taking space, being who I am, or having opinions, feelings, and emotions. You get in my way, you apologize.
Being a Lady for a Gentleman
A couple of nights before that, I was out on a date. When we arrived at the restaurant, I told the hostess “table for two,” when she asked for the name, I was about to give her my name when my date stepped up and gave her, his name. I wasn’t offended by that, instead, I was impressed he’d stepped up. So far on the date: he had a coffee waiting for me at the coffee shop where we met (he had texted me and asked what I’d wanted), he’d opened every door and made room for me to walk ahead of him in the crowd—he asserted himself as the man in a dating scenario.
Some women would have taken issue with this—I even read an article providing the advice that a man should ask permission to do the gentlemanly things (like pulling out chairs, opening up doors) before doing them. What?! No, just no. Why would a man need to ask permission to be man?
I ‘m a strong and independent woman that doesn’t need protection or being taken care of, but you best believe I consciously give men the opportunity to be gentlemen because I expect to be treated like a lady.
You see, I don’t have anything to prove. Plus, I know the difference between a good guy, being a gentleman (asserting himself in the situation), versus a DB trying to assert himself over me. My date attentively listened to me, he didn’t talk over me, and he didn’t try to explain to me what I was saying (mansplaining). He asked questions, he opened up, and clearly valued what I had to say. The DB is the complete opposite of that and he’ll normally try to peacock his way to being assertive. A technique that is guaranteed to backfire with me. If you’re out to prove something–I’ll call you out on it.
Gender Roles – No One Size Fits All
I’ve spent the majority of my adult life in charge of men. When I’m uniform, I’m a Marine. I don’t see my gender or that of other Marines. Scenarios have a way of bringing gender to the forefront, but I handle those scenarios appropriately and as required.
When a (male) Colonel spent an entire meeting staring at me, but wouldn’t address me or acknowledge me in the hallway when surrounded by other peers, I noticed. But until I could figure out if his behavior hindered my mission, I let that be HIS problem, not mine. You having an issue with me for whatever reason, doesn’t need to be my issue. It never became my problem. If it had, I would have addressed it.
It’s obvious we live in a time and society where gender roles, responsibilities, and expectations are not only in flux but being battled from multiple fronts, reasons, and purposes.
In my experiences and within the roles I play, it’s clear to me that one size doesn’t fit all. Sometimes you lead, sometimes you follow, sometimes you dominate, sometimes you submit, sometimes you give, and sometimes you take.
Really doesn’t matter if you’re a man or woman. If you constantly need to be right, in charge, in control, or are always competing with everyone—you’re showing your insecurities, immaturity, and weaknesses.
The best adjusted individuals to tackle today’s society are the ones who balance masculine and feminine traits as the situation dictates.
It’s starts with knowing who you are, having the ability to read people and situations, putting your ego on the back seat, and then taking conscious actions versus having reactions.
Eradication of sexism will happen when everyone understands and becomes comfortable consciously maneuvering around and within gender roles. When fears, ignorance, and egos stop clashing into each other or the earth is obliterated by an asteroid.