Difficult Women Are Needed to Fight Off the Tyranny of Niceness

“She’s such a difficult woman” is something no woman wants to be referred to and for good reason because since time immemorial, difficult women have been ostracized by society and although some people have said that the work rests on a knife-edge. In 2016, former British prime minister was branded a “bloody difficult woman” and surely she isn’t the only one who has been called one. In 1998, the late Elizabeth Wurtzel praised difficult women, which was the basis of her book and more importantly, the word “difficult” has often reappeared when women have challenged sexism and have gone public about it. 

Humans are complicated but women are only “permitted” to behave a certain way; women are people too

Jennifer Lawrence once stood up to a rude director and was called difficult and she feared that after this she would be shunned by the industry, and news like this only propagates the myth that when women step out of their “nice” box, they are branded selfish, unreasonable and unwomanly, and moreover, when they stand up for themselves. “I myself have never been able to find out precisely what feminism is. I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat or a prostitute,” wrote Rebecca West in 1913. The truth is that human beings are complicated people, regardless of their gender, but for some reason, women are only “permitted” to behave a certain way, but women are people too. “A history of feminism should not try to sand off the sharp corners of the movement’s pioneers – or write them out of the story entirely if their sins are deemed too great. It must allow them to be just as flawed – just as human – as men. Women are people, and people are more interesting than cliches. We don’t have to be perfect to deserve equal rights,” said The Guardian. 

Women are being celebrated and in the same breath they are being torn apart because both women and men idealize “perfect women”

Women’s history has long celebrated only a certain kind of woman and there is a need for women diversity in the celebration of women, they need not be perfect and that’s okay because women are human too. “Changing the world won’t make people like you. It will cause you pain. It will be difficult. It will feel like a struggle. You must accept the size of the mountain ahead of you, and start climbing it anyway.” Today, feminism may be a louder movement today than it ever was before, but on one hand, women are being celebrated and in the same breath they are being torn apart because both women and men idealize “perfect women”. Hence, for this reason, women need to fight niceness and which has become so tyrannical for women because women do not exist only to help everyone else but to help overturn subjugation and the status quo. Hence, women need to work together to swim against the tide and to stop asking other women “Can you be feminist and…” because, yes, you can be a feminist and disagree with someone else, you can be a feminist and be fashionable and you can be a feminist and outspoken. 

Image credit: Mana.net

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