Raising My Voice

Thursday, January 16, 2020

It is interesting to me that Roy Exum asserts, “Women have been empowered to vote for 100 years but being kind, having good manners, listening closely while never raising your own voice, and treating those with differing views with the respect you would enjoy in return are much older qualities that have never gone out of style.”

Men have been empowered to vote since the creation of our nation and yet no one is ever concerned whether male voters, male politicians, or men in general are kind, have good manners, not raise their voices, or treat those with differing views with respect.  It seems that these qualities were never in style, or expected from men.

Female politicians, political candidates, and confident women are often criticized for being too loud, too assertive, or too cold.  These same qualities in men are categorized as being bold, strong, and indicating a good leader.

From boardrooms to courtrooms to classrooms women are punished for being too arrogant when they are merely confident in their skills and knowledge, because they do not fit society’s expectation of making everyone else (read men) comfortable by being meek, overly solicitous, or willing to tolerate unfair or condescending behavior from their male counterparts. 

Mr. Exum does not seem concerned about these qualities in regards to the current occupant of the Oval Office. Is Trump kind? No. He constantly (and I do mean constantly) tweets petty and personal attacks against anyone who has caught his attention by not blindly following whatever he says.  Does he have good manners? No. Regardless of one’s political leanings, I think anyone would agree that Trump is rude, coarse, and ill-mannered. Does he listen closely? He does not.  Does he raise his voice? Indeed, he does. Lastly, does he treat those with differing views from him with the respect he would enjoy in return? I think we all know the answer to that. How many of his political rivals have been saddled with childish nicknames? How many people in his own party have been attacked on Twitter? How many war heroes has he attacked? How many racist comments or actions have we observed from him?

I would like to know why Mr. Exum and men in general constantly have these expectations of women, but never themselves.

I would apologize if my views are not kind, good mannered, or respectful, but I don’t cater to men’s presumptions about my character.  I also often raise my voice.

Jennifer Bethwell


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