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Sorry, I shouldn’t use so many exclamation points. Wait sorry, I shouldn’t be apologising.
Ah. The perils of punctuation and politeness.
Women are often told to remove the exclamation point, delete the “just” from our vocabulary and stop saying “no worries if not”. Whilst some argue it’s an act of courtesy, others say this feminine form of friendliness is a product of sexism.
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One woman who knows about this all too well is UK-based author Rebecca Reid, whose recent book The Power of Rude argues that women in the workplace need to adopt ‘positive rudeness’.
Reid is a journalist who in 2018 made headlines thanks to a run-in on Good Morning Britain, while seated next to Piers Morgan. When Reid was interrupted by a fellow panellist, she asked him to ‘shush’. A social media storm ensued, with hundreds of people labelling her as ‘rude’. But Reid doesn’t see being ‘rude’ as a weakness. Rather, it is a strength that more women should embrace, she says, just like their male counterparts.
“Very often we as women mitigate our behaviour in an attempt to avoid being regarded as aggressive, bossy or controlling,” she tells Mamamia. “Positive rudeness is about freeing yourself from that fear and embracing the idea that someone might think you're rude. It allows you to focus on what you want or need, rather than worrying about someone else's opinion of you.”
Studies show that this pressure for women to be more polite in their mannerisms is not just an innate urge, but a societal expectation.
“Unfortunately we know from lots of research that women are punished for the same workplace behaviours for which men are rewarded,” Reid explains.
“Men who ask for pay rises, for instance, are regarded as ambitious whereas women are often regarded as ungrateful. We also expect women to pretend that they don't have children, whereas we know that men tend to earn more money and be promoted after becoming fathers.”
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