I’m eternally the opinionated girl in the conversation, expressing my thoughts, generally the only female amongst a group of men in many situations and conversations.
Thanks to my parents and many of my teachers, I have been taught that my opinion is something I am entitled to share, whether you like it or not, and that is one reason I will always be the opinionated woman.
Since when was being an opinionated woman a bad thing? Generally, when applied to a woman, the term “opinionated” is used as a synonym to uppity, high maintenance or bossy––all traits women do not want to be pegged as being.
Why are women pegged with these qualities but men aren’t?
I’m opinionated. I’m a woman. And I’m not opinionated just to be annoying or bossy or rude––I’m opinionated because I have a right to have an opinion, and I have the right to share that opinion. There is nothing wrong with that. Everyone has that right.
By this point in my life, though, I stand alone. The girls around me, I feel, have been conditioned to stay quiet. With the exception of advanced classes, I am often one of very few girls to speak out in class on any matter.
By the time girls hit high school, we have been trained to think that our opinions are somehow less than those of our male peers. Have you ever thought about how little many girls seem to speak in class? I think that that might be related to the negative impacts and judgments girls feel comes from sharing their opinions.
Maybe we should start encouraging girls to share their opinions in setting where they feel nonjudged––and I think that needs to start at the grade school level. Qualities engrained in young girls at a middle school level could change the world by the time those same girls hit high school.
If we can manage to raise a generation of girls unafraid of the judgments of sharing their opinions, we will have a powerful new generation of female leaders––in the political world, the business world, and in all areas of the private sector.
We need to support girls who stand up and speak out, even if they are the minority.
Opinions are okay. Girls with opinions are okay.