The Constant Work Of Standing Up For Myself

Kimberley’s Knitting Bag with her Fuck Politeness  button and my Flying Vulva Button on it, among others.

“Get out of my chair”, the man in my dream, said to me.  I didn’t know the man, but I knew of him.  He was an arrogant, self-centered person, who liked to have things his way.  I didn’t hesitate to tell him that he couldn’t talk to me that way, that he had to ask me, not tell me, if he wanted me to do something.

He didn’t understand what I was saying, so I gave him examples of how he could ask me to let him sit in the chair I was sitting in.  But he couldn’t do it.  He couldn’t form the words in his mouth.  They came out all jumbled up.

This dream is strangely close to an experience a friend of mind recently had with someone she works with.  Not the part about the man not being able to form the words, but how she stood up to him.

My friend’s story and now the dream make me think of the button that Kimberly sent me after receiving my Flying Vulva Button in the mail.  The button Kimberly sent me says “Fuck Politeness“.

That idea of being polite or feeling sorry for men who are rude or violate me in some way, is one that is ingrained in me.  Some women, bless them, are naturals at not taking crap from men and standing up for themselves.  But it’s a relatively new way of being for me.  And one that I still work at.

I’m better than I used to be.  As Jon says, I have no problem letting him know exactly how I feel about things.  But that comes more from trusting him.  And he doesn’t treat me in that way.

I imagine the idea of giving in to men in this way,  goes way back to when women needed men to protect them.  But as Jenny Holtzer says, Men Don’t Protect You Anymore.

Still, it’s in many of us to make excuses for men, which, like making excuses for children who misbehave, only makes them believe it’s something they have the right to do.

I’m thinking of my friend Susan who stood up to the man at work who was really rude to her.  And how he didn’t apologize but, for the rest of the day,  changed the way he spoke to her.  They even had a normal conversation.  But the next time they worked together the same thing happened and she had to make her feeling known again.

Most of us aren’t going to change a life time of behavior because of one conversation. I know for me, this idea of sticking up for myself, of not falling back on old habits of allowing men to treat me as if I’m inferior to them is on my mind.  Because I work at home and mostly get to choose the people I associate with, it doesn’t happen often anymore.  But my subconscious is telling me something  in this dream.

Maybe it’s not so much about my personal relationships, but about the current women’s movement and my place and part in it.

So  I’m inspired by my dream to once again let everyone know about my Flying Vulva Decals and Buttons, as a reminder of the work we need to constantly be doing to balance the personal and social relationships  between women and men.

If you’d like  free Flying Vulva Decal, just send a self-addressed stamped envelope in the mail to Maria Wulf PO Box 205 Cambridge NY 12816.  

I’m also offering   my  Flying Vulva Buttons for the cost of shipping, which is $2.  Or if you buy anything from my Etsy Shop and would like a Flying Vulva Button just ask and I’ll put one in the package for free.   


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6 thoughts on “The Constant Work Of Standing Up For Myself

  1. My experiences at work were that women can be just as pushy and mean as men. Because of my difficult and abusive relationship with my mother, its a challenge to stand up for myself, period. I think its almost always a good policy to be polite, after all, people are more willing to listen if your approach is respectful. Even if they are not.

    Men are my protectors. I am very small, 5’1″ and weigh114 lbs. I am 66 yrs old. I don’t stand a chance in a fight.

    Most men are sheep dogs who protect. Some are wolves who harm. If all you look at are their teeth, you won’t be able to tell the difference. I love men and hate to see them lumped into a pile and bashed. I had a wonderful father and birthed an amazing son.

    1. I agree Janet, It’s not just men who I have to stand up to. But in this instance and in regards to the idea behind the button it is men I am referring to. And it is something I’ve seen again with men of all kinds. Those who are kind mean well and those who have a very particular idea about women being inferior to them. This idea is so prevent in our society, it’s sometimes hard to see it for what it is. And protection isn’t just about size and physical strength. I know many women who are small and fearless. I’m familiar with the saying you catch more bees with honey, but for me, being polite often came from a place of fear, it was not genuine. It does depend on how it’s used. But I also believe in a “just” anger You have a very different experience with men than I do. And It’s lovely that you have it. I only began to see men as being able to be good people when I met Jon. Then I was able to see the men I chose to be friends (sounds like men like your father and brother) with and the ones I didn’t want to be around. This is such a heightened issue right, brought to light by the politics in our country and our president. The good part is getting to talk about it openly.

  2. It isn’t surprising the guy offered up the same experience next time as that is his go to. Go Susan for showing him a new way to be, it will serve him well if he can remember.

    I love when a man explains mansplaining. That word was created for women by women! As I told my male friend who was explaining what it meant the other day 🙂

  3. Maria, I, too, must work daily at standing up for myself. Even as “evolved” as I think I am, there are still times when others (it’s not always men!) attempt to tell me who to be, what to do, or how to feel; I always physically feel it, and it rises to my throat. In the past, it would stop there and I would just stuff the feeling, internally stewing. Or, on the other side, I would let the feeling fly right out and say things that were not kind. It has taken real work (with a counselor, prayer, meditation) to be able to feel the feeling and then choose a response. Feelings are not always based on facts, for me. They can be based on some unhealed, old, hurt. Lordy. Super glad to read that others deal with the same feelings. I feel so normal! Thank you!

    1. It’s true Karla, it doesn’t always just come from men. And learning to speak truth is really what it’s about. A very spiritual act. Feelings can be deceiving, and I’ve found it can go both ways. Sometimes I hear something in what a person is saying, because of my old stuff, that they don’t mean or I make excuses for what they are saying for the same reason. Thanks for your personal insights.

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