Bad outspoken girl, no cookie!
March 14, 2015 1:28 PM   Subscribe

Help me find blogs/books/articles that will make me feel better about being an outspoken lady.

I'm a lady in my mid 30's who looks a bit like a kindly kindergarten teacher, but I'm really super outspoken, have lots of opinions and don't suffer fools lightly. I do all this typically with a smile, laugh and wink - as well as the occasionally light chiding and sarcasm, so most of the time I don't rub people the wrong way. Periodically though I run into older men (always white) who get really outraged that I'm not subservient, demure etc. And when I challenge them they become absolutely outraged. I think they are particularly outraged because I look like a kindly elementary teacher and I'm just not stepping down.

Most recently this resulted in a guy who I had a 'confrontation' with (his initiation and escalation) to head to his 20k followers on twitter to blast me. To give you an idea of how 'important' I am it's taken me three years to get to 700 followers - so like, I'm pretty insignificant. I honestly can't figure out why he would care about me, and all I was saying over and over again, was 'I don't agree with you'. (Really, I promise that's all).

So, I'm human and feel bad when people get mad at me - but realize that I am who I am and I'm not going to ever step down from a challenge, even from a 'really important' man. Are there any blogs/articles/books out there for ladies like me? Hopefully something that is less 'women getting screwed' and more people being like 'it's ok to challenge the patriarchy, mama.'

FWIW, I don't really need advice of how to manage these interactions or how to avoid them.
posted by Toddles to Media & Arts (9 answers total) 33 users marked this as a favorite
You might like The Toast.
posted by MadamM at 1:30 PM on March 14, 2015 [2 favorites]

Ask Polly, by Heather Havrilesky, is good for this. Another archive of her work (she moved sites) is here.
posted by tooloudinhere at 1:56 PM on March 14, 2015 [1 favorite]

Yes, Please by Amy Poehler, and I've recently subcribed to (and really enjoy!) the Two Bossy Dames tumblr and newsletter.
posted by ChuraChura at 2:18 PM on March 14, 2015 [3 favorites]

My friend swears by Harriet the Spy (which yes, is a children's book, but she said she enjoyed re-reading as an adult).

Have you tried the MaddAdam Series by Margaret Atwood? Lots of badass women in it.

I also recommend Margaret Cho's stand up.

Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay

The Woman Upstairs by Claire Messud

The Signature of All Thing by Elizabeth Gilbert

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Also, what about biographies of famous women you admire?
posted by CMcG at 3:08 PM on March 14, 2015

Semi-current meme: women giving no fucks. Sort of a Buzzfeed thing.
* 12 Historical Women Who Gave No F*cks
* 6 Historical Women Who Gave No F***s [video]
* 22 Women In Art History Who Gave Absolutely Zero F**ks -- okay, now they're just ripping off Mallory Ortberg.

I thought there was a tumblr along these lines but I could only find this one fantastic post that really fit.

Buzzfeed also did If Hermione Were The Main Character In Harry Potter ... about "Hermione Granger, the girl who gave zero fucks". And of course, Emma Watson herself spoke at the UN.

Along those lines, I'm also really inspired by the strength of Malala.

Two things aimed a little differently are Amy Poehler's Smart Girls and Pigtail Pals and Ballcap Buddies, the first aimed at young women, and the other perhaps more at parents of girls, but both concerned with gender representation and social assumptions. (The latter is by Melissa Atkins Wardy, who wrote the book Redefining Girly.) They might just be good background resources to keep in mind that there are good people out there working on these issues (and monitoring the backlash). Poehler also does interviews for the site like this great one with her comedic mentees, Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson aka Broad City.
posted by dhartung at 3:45 PM on March 14, 2015

Quick side-array into YA, but one of the things I love rereading when I get in the same mood as you are in is Tamora Pierce's Protector of the Small quartet--especially Lady Knight, which is all about the main character assuming command and settling into a position as a Real Authority Figure. I love it to pieces. You could probably read that one on your own if you wanted without reading the rest, but the theme of "Kel wants to do her own thing; is intensely stubborn and does it regardless of how much people try to dissuade her, is still awesome" is woven through the entire series.

Seconding the recommendation for Yes Please, which I am in the middle of and deeply enjoying. If you read it and find yourself wanting something else but similar, maybe check out Tina Fey's Bossypants. I think I'd go with Yes Please over Bossypants if you're going to read just one, though. I also really liked Mindy Kaling's Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns).

I like reading history, too--currently I'm in the middle of Triangle: The Fire That Changed America and finding myself really, really inspired by the activism of Clara Lemlich. History is full of amazing, tough-as-nails women who were heavily criticized and were nevertheless right. Reminding me that it's not just something that I personally experience can be really important.

And then I listen to angry music when I feel like that. I like Pink's Rockstar, Natalia Kills' Problem, Ida Maria's Oh My God and Dessa's Bullpen. Actually, I discovered all of these via fanvids--videos of footage from assorted movies or TV shows set to music and cut to say something about the source material--and since all of those are set to footage of women being kickass, sometimes I watch them on repeat and sometimes I just listen to the music. (If you'd like the vids, I'll track them down.)
posted by sciatrix at 4:36 PM on March 14, 2015 [1 favorite]

If you're open to some lighter reading, anything by Terry Pratchett that has Tiffany Aching, the witches or Death's daughter in it should fit the bill. There are kick-ass women in many of his other books as well.

Also, this post on the blue seems relevant.
posted by rjs at 10:38 AM on March 15, 2015

Speaking of Amy Poehler (and yes, absolutely read Yes, Please, it has some truly great stuff about living life as a pleasant and good-natured but outspoken woman), there was a discussion on the blue lately that mentioned this fabulous story about her from Tina Fey's Bossypants (another good one):

Amy was in the middle of some such nonsense with Seth Meyers across the table, and she did something vulgar as a joke. I can't remember what it was exactly, except it was dirty and loud and "unladylike."

Jimmy Fallon, who was arguably the star of the show at the time, turned to her and in a faux-squeamish voice said: "Stop that! It's not cute! I don't like it."

Amy dropped what she was doing, went black in the eyes for a second, and wheeled around on him. "I don't fucking care if you like it." Jimmy was visibly startled. Amy went right back to enjoying her ridiculous bit …

With that exchange, a cosmic shift took place. Amy made it clear that she wasn't there to be cute. She wasn't there to play wives and girlfriends in the boys' scenes. She was there to do what she wanted to do and she did not fucking care if you like it …

Seriously, I think of that exchange at least once a week and it always gives me an excellent little charge.
posted by lunasol at 3:04 PM on March 15, 2015 [1 favorite]

There's Nicki Minaj's great "bossed up" speech.
posted by Lexica at 3:36 PM on March 15, 2015 [1 favorite]

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