Resting bitch face – I will not smile

02.09.19 Esseen kirjoittaja: Linda Kivialho
Kirjapisteet: 2
Kirja: Bitch Doctrine
Kirjan kirjoittaja: Laurie Penny
Kategoriat: Johtaminen, Oppiva organisaatio




I really struggle with hate. I really hate the patriarchy. But it seems to be very terrible to say, as a woman, that I am angry. Because usually you are stigmatized as ‘an angry feminist’. So only because you are a feminist, you are angry. That is just the essence of being a feminist. It is not because there are actually a lot of things to be angry about. I don’t need to tell you about how much powerplay, control and oppression there is going on in the world, since we already know it. But I will tell you about some of my experiences.


First let define some important and relevant terms (so no one can say that feminism is wanting the women be more than men or that it is just natural that men are dominant because we are animals):


Feminism is a range of social movements, political movements, and ideologies that share a common goal: to define, establish, and achieve the political, economic, personal, and social equality of the sexes. So freedom and equality for all.


Patriarchy is a social system in which men hold primary power and predominate in roles of political leadership, moral authority, social privilege and control of property. This of course brings problems to all, also to the men. Everyone is being controlled and oppressed by this 5 000 year-old institutional structure. It is not healthy even to those who are at the top of the food chain.


Toxic masculinityis what can come of teaching boys that they can’t express emotion openly; that they have to be “tough all the time”; that anything other than that makes them “feminine” or weak. (No, it doesn’t mean that all men are inherently toxic.) – New York Times


“By far the worst thing we do to males — by making them feel they have to be hard — is that we leave them with very fragile egos.” 
— Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, award-winning author


It is not that people are misogynists usually on purpose. It is also not that people intentionally want to hold up the power structures of suppressing women and minorities. From my perspective the problem seems to be that people don’t actually understand that they are holding the power structures up or suppressing the voices of women or minorities. This is why we need to have conversations about these topics. We need to start seeing the patriarchy as an enemy for us all. Laurie Penny writes in her book Bitch Doctrine that “If queer people and marginalized people and freaks and outsiders cannot live free, freedom is an empty word.”


“It is no longer an overstatement to suggest that toxic masculinity is killing the world.”

– Laurie Penny


One of the most common phenomena that I’ve had an encounter with is the nice girl -syndrome. Like Penny says: “Nice girls don’t speak out or defend themselves. It’s unladylike.” So, what does that mean?


It means that to be accepted as a woman in a society, you need to act like the role of a woman. It is not seen as attractive if a woman has a loud voice and if she speaks up and puts strong boundaries, she is seen as difficult. She is stigmatized.


I was happy to be raised as never even thinking that women are not equal to men. But as we all know, the outside world is not always acting according to this way of thinking. I’ve had a lot of troubles with walking around with the confidence of a white man. It means that I don’t say I’m sorry for existing, or that I spread my legs if I’m sitting somewhere, or that I take as much space as the men do. It really annoys people that don’t recognize the patriarchal structure in their own thinking. It is not only the men who get annoyed, but also the women. The reaction usually is the try to put the other person ‘back to their place’ so no one would be disturbed.



”There’s no drug quite like the confidence of a mediocre white man.”

– Laurie Penny



I once even had a feedback about my personality that said that “Her existence is disturbing to people who are not similar to her”. Well, the person who gave me this feedback was a man. To state that my behavior is very similar to some men that I work with, but they are seen as great dudes with great leadership skills. More than once I’ve heard that I’m annoying! One of my colleagues got a feedback that she is too dominant, only because she is a woman. These traits don’t fit into the idea we have about women.


I work as a consultant, and you would think that if you are paying for a person to come and advice you on something, you would actually want to hear what they have to say. But a lot of times I’ve been called as a girl, and the men have been wanting to make sure that I understand how much they know. It is so sad, even though it is very ridiculous. After some time people usually understand that they have asked a consultant for a reason to come and help them, but the thing that there is a problem to begin with is something that is wrong in this system.


You can also see it in situations when two men are totally discussing about something and leaving the women outside the conversation. This I’ve seen many times in my work. My reaction is to interrupt the conversation and guide the women to be a part of it again. I can also tell the man to be quiet for a while and listen instead. Or when nobody reacts when a woman states and idea, but when a man states the same idea 5 minutes later, it is recognized as a good idea! When I’ve pointed out this situation to the men who were part of it, they told me that they didn’t even realize what they were doing. We are so blind to these structures.


I often think what the women would be if they wouldn’t need to struggle so much to get on the same level with the men. Like if the women wouldn’t need to have a really loud voices to state their existence to be heard. Or that they wouldn’t suffer from ridiculous pressures with their bodies only because the ideal of a woman. Or if it would be okay to be angry as a woman. Or if the periods wouldn’t be used as something that can shame women. The big problem here is that none of us can be free, if all of us are not free. Then we are losing half of the potential of the population. If that doesn’t make you angry, you are not a reasonable person. I will continue being angry, and I will continue having a resting bitch face.

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