“Well behaved women seldom make history” – Book title by Harvard historian Laurel Thatcher Ulrich
So what does that mean for well-behaved women, such as myself?
I’ve been pondering the concepts of being well behaved (read: non-assertive).
My mother raised me to be well behaved. A good girl. Someone who doesn’t rock the boat. Someone who goes with the status quo. Someone who avoids conflict like the plague.
I’ve also been thinking lately about the notions of assertiveness and aggression. It’s helpful to consult Merriam-Webster to parse out the meaning of both words:
Aggressive: ready and willing to fight, argue, etc. : feeling or showing aggression: using forceful methods to succeed or to do something
Assertive: disposed to or characterized by bold or confident statements and behavior
When you’ve been raised to be a good, well-behaved girl, one who doesn’t show her anger and irritation towards others, it leaves you in a quandary on how to be assertive without, say, coming out of the gate like a rabid pit bull, ready to rip someone’s head off should they tread on your boundaries.