Being an intimidating woman
If someone finds me scary or intimidating for what I do, I can’t let it distract me from pushing myself.
The real challenge, in my opinion, comes when women take these comments as insults.
A friend from high school admitted on my status to internalizing these comments, while a relative, a Bryn Mawr/Harvard/MIT-educated artist-potter-extraordinaire, said that she has been “frustrated and … As women, we are often scrutinized for how we carry ourselves, walking a tightrope between expressing femininity and operating in masculine spaces.
I witnessed women who have never met offering support to one another, liking each other’s comments, and responding with advice and encouragement.
While I have recognized this issue as something that stems from a certain expectation of women, I have never, in my conversations with friends, mentors, my mom, professors, talked about how to respond when someone labels me, or anyone else, this way.
To those who are skeptical of the label’s harm, consider that calling someone intimidating places blame on that person for your feelings.
It says that your response is to their characteristics, something that you perceive as a problematic part of them, rather than your own insecurities.
It is okay to recognize your admiration for someone else’s achievements, but not to challenge their success by labeling them as intimidating.