So, should the writer just shut up and stay home? No! Of course not. No woman should shut up and stay home (unless they like being quiet and staying home. Unless they are Greta Garbo, basically. She chose her choice.)
As a woman, or as a man, you have every right to go out and talk about things that are important to you. That is your right.
But other people have the right to disagree with you when you do. And they will not always do so in the way you wish they would – especially since what you generally wish they would do is “see it from your point of view, realize they were mistaken, and buy you a scotch.” Quite often they will respond to you with anger, because there are also things that they care about, and you may be threatening those things. Sometimes – especially if they are presumably drunk and in a bar – they will use words that you don’t like. Maybe they will yell.
They will be quite likely to yell.
That is part of the risk that men and women and certain parrots take when they speak aloud in public. Especially parrots, but then, they’re just instigators.
Saying your opinions about things in public is not an odd or remarkable thing to do. It is what men have been doing for centuries. But, likewise, men have been being yelled at for centuries. It’s still going on. This week two men nearly came to blows in The House of Commons (apparently “unparliamentary language” was used). That is how a group of very well educated men in The House of Commons behave.
This a thing that people do. They yell. They disagree. It has very little do with gender, and if women think it is evidence of wild misogyny at work, that may simply be evidence of the fact that we have spent much of history not speaking up.
I think there was a time when no gentleman would yell at a lady, or at least, doing so would be frowned upon. I sometimes feel I would have liked this time, partly because I think Julius Beaufort’s parties sound like a lot of fun, and partly as I still like it when men open my door for me, and carry my groceries and generally treat me like an armless infant. But then I remember that the reason men did not yell at women was, because – like a man with a velociraptor puppet on one hand – women were simply assumed to have no place in the societal conversation. It would be like yelling at a child. Men didn’t yell because women’s opinions were so irrelevant as to not be worth yelling about.
That world is gone. Thank heavens.
I am afraid they will yell, Sarah. We will, as women, probably have to be a little braver in this brave new world. If men yell at you, do not sit there shaking and whimpering about it. Yell back.
Yell back, or make a joke, or behave in any one of a thousand ways that do not involve sitting around feeling marginalized. As Nora Ephron says “above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim.”
You must do that, really. Especially because life – even if we behave well, and do not try to provoke people into fights – is going to be one filled with confrontations for people of both genders. The only place you are going to find people who will absolutely never yell at you is Le Grande Chartreuse, and they don’t let women in, anyway. Which, you know, seems pretty misogynistic of them.
Pictures via Amazon, Wikipedia Commons