When I Wasn’t Nice. No More Surrender.

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When my ex-husband and I were coming to the end of our marriage, he accused me of not being nice anymore.  I understood that this meant I had stopped subjugating myself to him. I had stopped surrendering.

This tactic worked in the past, it was a matter of survival for me, as it is and has been for so many women.We learned how to manipulate men, because that was the only way we could have any power at all.

Until now.

As a matter of fact I learned to submit to it early in life.  Of course I wanted to be nice.  As a girl I was taught that’s what boys and men like in girls. And demand.

I can remember my older brother doing something like taking my doll and strangling it, or taunting me about the way I looked.

When I tried to get  back  what was mine or defend myself, he would turn all sweet and act like he was hurt.  “You’re being mean to me,” he’d say and act sad.

And I fell for it every time.

I didn’t want to be mean.  I wanted to be nice.  Even if it was at my expense. That was what I had been taught, what was demanded of me, especially from my father. Who was not, I noticed, nice to women.

The men didn’t have to be nice. I did.

So when I watched the Debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump and Trump started whining that the campaign ads that  Clinton was running weren’t nice,  I felt my blood rise.

At the moment it happened, I didn’t understand my physical reaction, but reading about the debate afterwards and thinking about it, I now understand. It got very personal, for me as well as Hillary Clinton.

Can you imagine if one of the Republican Candidates that Trump debated in the primaries stood on stage and whined that Donald Trump wasn’t being nice to them?

Talk about a double standard.

The thing is Trump expects that kind of thing to work for him because  Hillary Clinton is a woman.  He expects her to feel bad about not being nice to him, because that’s what his experience with women has been.  In my experience, it’s what many men believe.

And that’s why Trump sees nothing wrong with saying it. To him, it’s just the way the world works.

My heart is pounding as I’m writing this.  Because since the debate I’m seeing that the misogyny that I experienced growing up in my home is so wide-spread and accepted that a presidential candidate in 2016 doesn’t know that it’s not okay to call a woman  fat, pig, dog, slob.

I used to think the problem was me, there must have been something wrong with me. I don’t feel that way any longer.

Donald Trump doesn’t know there’s anything wrong with  calling  former Miss Universe Alicia Machado ,” Miss Piggy.” And that there’s anything wrong with the  idea that her gaining weight is a problem for him, which gives him the right to subject her to being publicly humiliated and harassed.

I grew up hearing my father call women the same names Donald Trump calls women.  And I’m not blind to sexism.  I see it all the time through out my whole life in the way that only someone who is subjected to it can see it.  Some sexism is so subtle, and has become such an expected part of my life that  I don’t even notice or take exception to it.

In the article   Hillary Clinton Will Not Be Manturrupted  by Jessica Bennett,  Bennett spoke of how men and boys are  regularly talking over women and girls and interrupting them  (Trump constantly interrupted Clinton in the debate).

Because of  Bennett,  the word  “manturrupting”,  which defines this phenomenon, is now a part of our vocabulary.   The article claims that women are less likely to speak up, to be heard and often have their idea taken away from them by men.  ( Zelda Fitzgerald,  Robert Lewis Stevenson’s wife, Fanny Stevenson and Vera Nabokov  are the first to come to mind).

This hit me hard, because this is about a persons voice or loss of it.   And as someone who only recently found her voice, I know how important it is.

I don’t think I understood how prevalent this idea of manturrupting was until reading this article and seeing it occur in the debate.  I always took it personally, like there was something wrong with me for not speaking up.

Now I see there’s something wrong with a society, where this is accepted.

The idea of the first woman president in not lost on me.  I get choked up every time I think of it.  I hear a lot of younger women saying it doesn’t really matter to them.  And a part of me thinks that’s good.  It means they didn’t grow up with the sexism women of my generation did.

But there’s still so much sexism that goes on in this country and much of it is  just under the surface.  So we may not even understand what’s really happening until someone gives it a word.  Like manterrupting.

I guess the good thing to come out of Donald Trump being a blatant and unapologetic misogynist is that it puts it all out in the open.  We get to see how many Americans, both male and female feel the way he does.  And we get to witness and explore the more subtle aspects of sexism through his interactions with Hillary Clinton.

I can’t wait to vote for Hillary Clinton, who I’m beginning to see as the Crone Archetype.

In our time The Crone is  known as a repulsive, older woman, a witch to be  ostracized from society.

Traditionally, she is the wise and powerful postmenopausal woman.  Both feared and loved and “ever ready to rekindle the inner fire of your creative souls.”  As you can see, she’s already doing that for me.


68 thoughts on “When I Wasn’t Nice. No More Surrender.

  1. Thanks for the clarity around the anger I feel over his vocabulary. I too spent too long pretending not to be offended by how I was treated. I can only hope that we as mature woman no longer stand for the load of crap he’s selling. Thankfully, we don’t base our value on what this narcissistic ass thinks of woman.

  2. Wonderful writing! I know exactly what you are talking about. I still catch myself once in awhile “being nice” when I shouldn’t be. As Crone we are worthy, wise, kind, understanding, but also strong, capable & ready to take on the men of this world who says we are nothing. So, vote Hillary, vote Crone for all of us!

  3. Thank you so much for this. I was measuring boys and girls for costumes for a community play (children ages 9-14). It is remarkable how differently the boys and girls treated this exercise. The girls were ashamed of their size — beautiful, healthy strong girls who whispered “I am a women’s ‘medium’?” I couldn’t help but think these girls are buying into the idea they should take up less space than their male counterparts. The fat shaming, the misogyny is real and it affects our youngest citizens.

  4. HI Maria,
    Wonderful post. I can relate. My mother’s words, “Be nice or no one will like you”.
    For me what gets me going is “calm down”. Why should I calm down? No, I won’t calm down.
    Thanks for sharing your feelings. Your words -our words – help to set us free.

  5. Thanks for this Maria. Thanks for being so present in your own self that you could call it as it is. Being “nice” is it’s own currency for sure and it confusing and complicated when you are a really “nice” person, especially if you are a woman. I learned like so many do that being “nice” will get you much further than not but there is there is a sense that you give something of yourself that is precious and in so many cases it is taken for granted, especially by those that have no regard for your well being at all. Both Trump and Hillary are reflections of where we are at socially and with so much at stake in terms of our collective future we really are being asked to see clearly and begin to really “stand” in what we know to be true for our own well being. Thanks for doing that and for your commitment to always do so.

  6. There’s one problem here; Trump is famous for calling people of both genders “not nice” – it’s kind of a throughline in his responses. You can Google the word “nice” along with Trump and the name of anyone he has gone up against, you will find it over and over again, with men as well as women. Here’s just one example where he called Jeb Bush, “not nice.” http://www.mediaite.com/online/trump-trashes-barbara-bush-jeb-rolling-out-mommy-not-nice/

  7. As far as the article goes there is truth in it. But to vote for someone simply because they are a woman is wrong. If you do not like Trump, then do not vote for him, but I can’t vote for Hillary just because she has a vagina. I agree with his lack of compassion and his total lack of respect where women. I do not think that either one of them are good candidates. They are both wrong in how they deal with things. I watched the debates and felt like we needed to go get an adult, because it was like watching my teenagers bicker back and forth. Neither of them really made any sense at all and they were both rude and childish. I don’t want either of them to have the Nuclear codes.

    1. Jennifer, you and I obviously disagree about a lot of things, and you are making a lot of assumptions about my beliefs and choices. Including why I’m voting for Hillary Clinton. I’ve deleted most of your comment because I don’t want to make my blog a platform for your political views. Which have nothing to do with what I wrote. You can do that on your own blog.

  8. Maria,
    Well written! Thank you for writing your opinions that speak to me and so many of us! I will also vote For Hillary! I’ve waited my whole life to vote for a woman President with experience and character (and not a jackass). I apologize to the donkeys of course.


  9. Wow, this piece knocked my socks off. Isn’t it annoying (and tragic) to be so conditioned to this treatment that we hardly notice. Thank you so much for articulating what is an all too common experience for women. Blessings!

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