Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Finding Your Voice*

The following was originally posted on Sept. 17, 2008. It is being re-posted as part of our CHICKS ROCK! Holiday series.

Growing up, I didn't think much of my opinion. It didn't seem others thought much about it either, so I didn't give it unless it was explicitly asked of me - which wasn't often.

In college, it got better. I had women's studies classes where I felt comfortable opening up. I had my Hermanas (sorority sisters) who always valued my opinion, asked for it all the time, and let me give it even if they didn't ask! But even then, it was hard to do this in a group of strangers.

What really changed this was my involvement in TWM. Suddenly, I was asked to give an opinion about everything, even things I didn't really have an opinion about. I mingled at events, spoke up at a Visioning Workshop, organized an entire event, and became an integral part of TWM. I slowly started to speak up at work and grew more confident each time. I'm still quiet, but usually because I'm thinking - not from fear of speaking up. Oftentimes, I don't shut up really!

I'm writing all of this not just to reflect, but because I've met countless other women who still haven't found their voice. When I was young, it seemed everybody else was speaking out with little effort and I was the odd one out. Unfortunately, I wasn't.

The truth is, women are still being silenced. There are cultural and generational differences, but, on the whole, women's opinions just don't matter as much. What do we know? What interest could we possibly have in politics or society or the workforce? We're defined by those around us without much thought to who we actually are.

That's why I love blogs! Women who normally keep quiet can comment on whatever moves them, without as much fear. Nobody knows who they are, and they're likely to find a space somewhere, where others share their opinions. Best case scenario, if you don't already speak up in "real life," this helps you come closer to doing that.

Are you making sure your voice is heard? If you have something to say, do you say it, or keep quiet more often than not?

1 comment:

RB said...

I think women are just socially conditioned to keep quiet. We have more doubt about our opinions, too. So often I wonder, am I right? and since I don't know, I keep it to myself.

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