Why is the first response, “You’re too idealistic” followed by more undermining remarks? Why is it that when I get angry for being “questioned” for my capabilities that I’m told to be over-dramatic? Why was I asked what my “background” was when I was giving an oral exam in dental school? Does it matter what my background is even if I get questions wrong? What assumptions was the Professor making about me at that time?
A woman with a dream or passion is radical. Women who do dare to believe in themselves are constantly told to be too idealistic, sometimes too ambitious, a little too dreamy. Women who are expressive are called out for their emotions being out of control, overly dramatic, sometimes a bit too much. Women who take their careers seriously are stated as bitchy, “nose up in the air.” Women who can’t maintain social lives are ostracized, too “involved with work.” Passion relays to being “too fierce” for women. Sometimes even their own women friends lose to share their perspectives. Women feign in solidarity.
On the other side, when men are passionate, ambitious or business oriented, they are told to be powerful. When men show any sign of emotion, they’re shed with praise. They’re instantly told to be sensitive, caring, empathetic and marked with positive words.
When a woman walks into a room, especially a woman of color, she is instantly challenged to work harder to prove her abilities, whereas, when a white man walks in there’s a form of relief and confidence instilled.
Although this will not change in a single day, we can act towards doing one step every day to make it better. Through intentional movement, action and saying, it is more achievable.
We live in a patriarchal world, so: Embrace Change.