This week I’ve been laboring on about how women are viewed in our society. Consciously or subconsciously, we meet a woman and often label her, decide whether or not we like her, put her into a category. How do we identify what triggers these thoughts, feelings and emotions? By figuring that out, we can only then figure out how to not to that.
What is assertive?
What is aggressive?
These words came up often the past few days. We use them as positives, and we also use them as negatives. I bet if you ask five people, each one will have a different interpretation of these words.
Let’s cut to the dictionary (Oxford):
Assertive: having or showing a confident and forceful personality
Aggressive: ready or likely to attack or confront
If I had to venture a guess, I’d say the difference between these words is tone. One word is clearly more forthright than the other. I understand why in normal life, aggressive might not be the way to go. Sometimes….I’ll add, because maybe I don’t want to be physically aggressive, but aggressive with words? I think there is a time and a place for that…(and now that I think about it, I would rather my daughter have the ability to speak aggressively when she needs to- so aggressive leans over the line towards good quality for me)
Now, about assertive.
Why are there problems with assertive?
If we look at the definition, assertive is confident and forceful.
What’s wrong with confident and forceful?
Do we reserve our issues with women who are confident and forceful, or are these equal opportunity adjectives?
When you say a woman is assertive, is it a good thing or a bad thing? What about a man?
When you think assertive and aggressive, what comes to mind? This is a case of examples helping clarify a definition, so think of maybe a character in a movie or book or TV show. Elizabeth Bennett is clearly assertive, even in a time and place where she really wasn’t supposed to be. I’d say, you could even call her aggressive in certain scenes.
I think we know she is my favorite character in literature.
So, think about characters that exhibit aggressive or assertive traits. Do you like them, admire them? Respect them? Hate them?