On Her Own

You are allowed to be rude

“You are allowed to be rude.”

It’s one of the early lessons of women’s self defense: our socially-imposed drive to be “nice” is what gets us into trouble, and learning how to resist it can help keep us safe. We tell stories of Ted Bundy’s victims, and how they couldn’t help but be kind to the handsome man with a cast or crutches, struggling to carry some awkward object. We tell women that they owe no courtesy to strangers on the street.

But then we tell them not to be too mean, not to be too loud, not to be too assertive.

We tell them that #metoo was hysteria. We tell them that protesting against racism or misogyny is too challenging. We tell them that turning down a date is too rude. We tell them that they should be flattered by the attention. We tell them that insults should be met with acceptance instead of outrage. We tell them that their sense of humor is wrong if they don’t find a joke funny. We tell them acknowledging that they may be subject to more violence, more crime, is merely taking on a victim mentality, and one that should be avoided at all costs.

Guess what? You can’t have it both ways.

Ladies, when I say you are allowed to be rude, I mean it.

You do not have to be quiet because someone tells you to. You do not have to compromise your demands. You do not have to shut up to make someone else comfortable. You do not have to accept someone else telling you how you should feel. You do not have to laugh at someone else’s jokes. You do not have to be less than magnificently you.

And if anyone tells you otherwise? If anyone tells you to be rude when it’s convenient to them, and not when they don’t like it? They do not have your best interests at heart. Move on.

Hi, I'm Annette.

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