My entire life I’ve been told that I’m opinionated. With the flush of youth I thought I knew everything, and I voiced it pretty clearly, but with time I like to think I’ve become a little more diplomatic. Better able to appreciate other people’s points of view. Death, wrinkles and babies in emergency wards will do that to you.
There are still certain things I won’t budge on; marriage equality, pro-choice, racism, pushing in at the supermarket – and sometimes these things get me into trouble. My husband has an inherent dislike for my loose lips, I have been privy to some of his death stares on international airport buses and commutes into work and it aint pretty.
Given that these things often result in being branded opinionated, I’m often left musing if the menfolk are prone to similar judgement. Are opinionated men an anomaly or is it just that when women speak up they are seen as being difficult?
The irony’s not lost on me that I’m being opinionated about being opinionated but I really can’t remember the last time I heard anyone call a man opinionated? Women seem to run the gamut from opinionated to pre-menstrual to hormonal – all perfectly legitimate moods in their own right but each can also serve to undermine a woman’s right to have a say too.
Blogging has mellowed me out a little. Bloggers criticize each other for being too controversial, projecting a perfect life, being exclusive, over-sharing, not sharing enough. There’s a permanence to putting your opinion on the internet and we might not always agree with what other people say or do but we can still do it in a diplomatic and courteous manner.
I know my attempts at humour and style of writing is not to many people’s taste and maybe there are some blogs out there that really get under your skin but behind every blog is a face and making deliberately snarky or hurtful comments behind an anonymous pseudonym isn’t clever. It’s cowardly.
Sometimes it pays to remind ourselves how lucky we are to have a voice. That we can have an opinion without incurring violence. That despite our gender most of us probably don’t fall into the category of the 70% of the world’s poorest people who are female. Let’s respect that.