This Twitter thread will make you look at being ‘intimidating’ as a badge of honor
Have you ever been referred to as “intimidating” by a man? Whether it’s by a male co-worker or a potential romantic interest, plenty of women have been described as such by their male counterparts. It has a negative, almost scary connotation to it — one that invokes shame.
A recent Twitter experiment that quickly went viral perfectly highlights the misogyny behind the whole “intimidating” thing. Turns out plenty of women can relate to this sexist phenomenon, and we’re not here for it anymore.
Writer Candice Frederick took her curiosity about The “I” Word to Twitter, and the results — while not at all surprising — are worth a read just the same.
Because I'm curious…
RT if you're a woman who has been called "intimidating" by men at least twice.
— Candice Frederick (@ReelTalker) April 12, 2018
It didn’t take long for this experiment to take off. The re-tweets speak for themselves.
I can't even say I am surprised by the massive amount of responses from this tweet from women who've been called "aggressive," "emasculating," and "super smart" (used as a pejorative)— Candice Frederick (@ReelTalker) April 12, 2018
I brought this up because I've been called this numerous times, and I always think that calling someone "intimidating" says more about the person who's supposedly intimidated than anything else.— Candice Frederick (@ReelTalker) April 12, 2018
When men use words like “intimidating” or “aggressive” or phrases like “too much” — it’s very thinly veiled misogyny. What they’re doing when they describe intelligent, confident women this way is they’re trying to make us feel like we’re not worthy of being smart and self-assured. They’re turning their insecurities around and projecting them onto us.
Sooo many times, by both sexes. Including a man I didn't know well, who said he was frightened of me. I thought, "well, tough...". We've now been together harmoniously for over 35 years. A woman said it to me the other night. Maybe it's true, but I don't think so. Well, tough.— Anne Jackson (@knotgirl1) April 13, 2018
I was literally going to send out this tweet this morning with the word “aggressive” used as a clear insult yesterday by a stellar representative of male white privilege.— Mary Pols (@MaryPols) April 12, 2018
Or "assertive" as a euphemism for aggressive, which is meant to be understood as not feminine enough and probably intimidating.— mariad (@mariamaroo) April 13, 2018
Ah yes, assertive. Forgot about that one. It’s like Aggressive Lite, a favorite of unconfident men who want to make us feel bad about not being like them, but don’t want to directly insult us. I’ve racked up plenty of “assertives” in my day.https://twitter.com/jetpack/status/84439819530067968 https://twitter.com/jetpack/status/984453121203212288
Yep, been called: clever, scary, intense, in yer face, having balls, etc. Since I was a kid. I realised the whole time this is to shame women into shutting up. https://t.co/qndM8qectz
— astriddelazouche (@astriddelazouc1) April 15, 2018
This is absolutely a Man Problem because women don’t do this. We don’t constantly shame men for being “too” smart or accomplished. Also, let’s go ahead and unpack “ballsy” while we’re here — it’s another way we add a negative vibe to an act done by a woman that men are normally applauded for.
I would jump in a circle of sharks before telling a man he intimidated me. But they have no problem telling me. I'm hyper aware of it now. https://t.co/5rZvytTnac
— Tara (@catmonkey22) April 14, 2018
(i'm not intimidating) men are just lousy https://t.co/LlFrqLcSJQ
— ANDREA VERGARA (@dredreftw) April 14, 2018
"Unapproachable," "super intelligent," "scary."— Candice Frederick (@ReelTalker) April 12, 2018
A lot of these words are uttered by men about women often in efforts to make them feel bad for having an opinion or having a brain. This is ridiculous.
The entire thread says a lot about how women are valued by men, and how they think we should be contributing to society. I can’t even begin to recall all the times I’ve been described this way by men in my life — romantic partners, colleagues, friends, and relatives have used terms like these as slander against me when my behavior didn’t warrant it.
And I hope I’m not being too aggresive when I say it’s fucking bullshit.