Dr. Seuss said, “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” It is a liberating axiom, but there is a price to pay for those of us who live by it.
Men say they admire strong, opinionated women, but, when a woman says what she feels believe me, they mind. When a man voices a strong opinion, a thoughtful pause follows. But when a woman does it eyebrows reach previously uncharted territory, followed by the tired, “Why don’t you tell me what you really think?”
When a man says what he thinks he is an independent thinker. Or, he does not follow the pack, which automatically places him in an exalted intellectual niche. In the same situation women are tagged with the not so nice “ballbuster.”
Beginning with Moses, strong opinionated men have been cited as role models. The freedom to orate is their birthright; ingrained in their DNA. I’ll bet there was standing room only when God selected Moses to launch the Ten Commandments. It is probably safe to say he refrained from expressing an opinion or accepting comments from the audience regarding the seventh one.
Women have endured eons of seminars, read tons of self-help books on how to co-exist with those who mind. It has never been part of our thought process to consider that those who mind don’t matter. Far too long, we believed it was our duty to fine-tune our comments to appeal to most everyone.
I’ll bet Hillary Clinton doesn’t give a rip about being scorned for saying what she feels. Sonia Sotomayer writes her opinion everyday. Elizabeth Warren elevated informed opinions to an art form. Dr. Seuss would be proud.