The other day I was talking to a group of friends over dinner when somewhere between the appetizers and the main course the hot topic of gender roles came up. One man in the group said that women should not be leaders and a woman responded by saying that men think this way because they can’t handle women who are successful. Sitting at the far end of the table, I decided to keep my opinions regarding the issue to myself because in reality I disagree with both these arguments.
Personally, I think that we cannot generalize about women in leadership roles and if some females are making it a point to be ruthless in leadership, then this is only because they are trying to prove themselves in a society filled with men who don’t believe in their capacities. Harsh women are not a reflection of women in general. With that being said, I have to admit that I myself have objected to some of the behaviors of women at the top of corporate ladders but this is because I believe that these particular women simply don’t grasp the difference between leading and bossing. I also think that if some men can’t handle successful women then this is a reflection of their weakness and not of men in general, besides I don’t think that in a healthy relationship anyone should be handling anyone else
However, like I said before, I kept these opinions to myself.
Later that night I wondered why I didn’t say anything that evening, then I realized that this incident was not a first. In fact, I have been calmly listening to the view points of many people over many years while neglecting to share my own. I guess I did that to avoid conflicts.
I admit now that I have listened to many people give their interpretations of religion, politics, and even literature, and I have stayed silent letting them babble on and on while I have disagreed in my head. I have listened to men talk about women, and women talk about men, only to project their generalized opinions about looks, interests, and preference. The only difference between me and them was that those people stated their opinions as if they were facts while I neglected my own and I nodded in silence. Of course I am not saying that my opinions are facts but yet they remained unsaid .
My decisions to nod in silence have also seeped into my professional life as well. I have listened to people criticize my abilities,, my knowledge, and even my skills and I smiled and thought I am above answering back.
Now, I am thinking that maybe I was wrong to stay silent all this time. Maybe there are incidents in life where you shouldn’t avoid a conflict. Sure, a friendly dinner amongst friends is not one of them. After all, we have all let our friends make comment we don’t necessarily agree with because the friendship is too important to us. In fact I think that is smart, because part of being a good friend is allowing your friend to speak their mind in front of you and even laugh with them about it. Maybe I didn’t express my opinion at dinner and It is in no way a big deal for me. I like all my friends the way they are and even if I don’t agree with everything they say . However, when it comes to more serious issues in life like our integrity, our knowledge, our careers, our life decisions, our choice of partner, and even our nationalism maybe we need to speak up and maybe we need to argue. Maybe we are wrong to calmly agree
To put it in simple terms, .each time we blindly nod our heads in agreement regarding an issue that we disagree with, then we stay where we are. At the end of the day, If we are only one huge conflict away from making a monumental change in our lives, then I say let us argue and let us express ourselves.