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Why Do They Call You Difficult to Begin With?

Written By: Lauren Howard

The reality is that you weren’t supposed to be here. I mean, there really isn’t any other way to put it. Though women in the workplace aren’t new as far as our generations are concerned, the structure that supports our entire ecosystem was not built to support women as much other than wives and mothers.

Don’t get me wrong, being a wife and mother is one of life’s greatest joys if that’s what you want. That said, it’s not the only joy in life by any means. I am both, and I still love going to work every day and thinking about something that isn’t my family.

So knowing that, despite the gains that have been made toward equity, we’re still pretty far off. People can’t outright say that women don’t belong in the workplace anymore, so they have to find more covert and indirect ways to hurl misogyny at you.

Women are supposed to be demure and gentle. That doesn’t often bode well in a corporate climb, so women who excel tend to have more traditionally masculine behaviors. I say traditionally masculine because you can be both feminine and assertive, both feminine and direct, both feminine and loud among many other combinations. “Traditional” is part of the whole misogynistic narrative here, to be honest.

If you look at it from the lens of the status quo, men are allowed to be knowledgeable and direct, women are not. When you behave in a way that you’re not supposed to, it threatens people who have something to lose from permitting it. They have to throw a label at you for not acting the way that women are supposed to– you know, seen and not heard. So you get labeled difficult or contrary or emotional or whatever other thinly veiled word they can toss at you.

Are you those things? Nope. Odds are you’re competent and strong in a world that believes that you should be those things. Do you dull your capabilities to avoid being labeled something or do you stay you and make them adjust? I can’t tell you the answer to that, but you know where I lean.

This post is part of the monthly themed writing topic: Difficult Women for our Weekly Bullsh!t newsletter. Want to join for exclusive content, giveaways, and events? Click here to subscribe!


Founder & CEO at elletwo


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