A few weeks ago, I was chatting with three of my girlfriends, and we started talking about the LSAT and how much it really sucked.
We had all taken it and had a fairly hard time performing how we hoped we would.
I opened my mouth to say, “I mean, I'm really smart, but that test was another animal."
However, I stopped myself mid-sentence.
I couldn't tell this group of girls I was really smart. I would sound so full of myself.
And, God forbid I sound full of myself.
Then they'd just think I'm a stuck-up b*tch.
Instead, I swallowed my words and said, “Yeah, it was super hard. I'm glad it's over!”
I didn't think much of the conversation until I was driving home later that day.
I began to think of the interaction, and I asked myself, "Why I didn't just say what I wanted to say?"
I've said it before, so why couldn't I say it in this situation?
I realized the only people I've ever said anything like that to are my sisters, my mom and my best friend because I knew they wouldn't judge me.
They know I'm smart, and they know I know I'm smart.
I can only say self-assuring and self-confident things to those three people.
I cannot say them to people I'm not super close to because then I'd look like I'm full of myself.
Why is this the case? Why can't women express confidence in themselves?
I am constantly told by other women to be confident.
I have to be confident in myself, I have to be confident in my abilities and I have to be confident enough to not let a man treat me badly.
If these are the things I'm being told, why am I still afraid to act accordingly?
When a woman is confident, she is automatically titled a bitch.
No one wants to be called a bitch, so we make sure our actions and words never allow us to be categorized as such.
So, is this what men have to worry about?
Do they have to worry about being called a bitch when they express confidence in themselves?
It's quite the opposite.
If a man is not confident, he is seen as weak. When a man is acting insecure, it's absolutely unacceptable.
Now, I know that when a woman is insecure, it is viewed as unattractive.
We are told by men to be secure, but then immediately, we are condemned as “intimidating” when we are “too secure.”
How do we find a balance?
How am I supposed to be insecure enough to not be threatening, but secure enough to be attractive?
No but seriously, how the hell am I supposed to do that?
I've worked my ass off to be this confident.
I've worked through years of insecurity and self-shaming tendencies, and I have finally emerged as a woman who is confident in who she is.
I am confident in my intelligence, in my abilities, in my talents and yes, in my appearance.
There's a big one: my appearance.
I know I'm attractive, and I know I have a great body.
Ouch. What did you think when you read that last sentence?
You probably thought I was full of myself. Great.
At least, that's what I'm thinking as I sit here writing this.
I don't blame you. That is how society has programmed us to think.
We are programmed to think that when a woman knows she is all of the above, she is cocky, and you should stay away from her because she's a what?
Oh right, she's a bitch.
I finally see why so many women battle with insecurity.
I finally see why I battled (and still battle) so much with insecurity.
Society does not allow us to be secure.
I hate to say it, but women contribute to this deep-seated issue.
When was the last time you said less than pleasant things about that one woman in your class who just really needed to shut up?
Listen, I'm only saying all this because I'm speaking from experience.
I was both the woman who was talked about and the woman who did the talking.
None of us are innocent, and that's okay.
But, it's time to realize that the only way to change the way we are treated and the way we are perceived by our twisted society is to change the way that we treat each other.
Why would men stop putting women down, when women won't stop putting other women down?
Let's support one other, compliment one another and celebrate victories together.
Do not make other women your enemies.
We are all fighting for the same rights, and we are stronger when we fight together.