Thursday, March 17, 2005

I'm opinionated...

I've been keeping track of this conversation about the dearth of female opinion columnists and I've just got to offer my 2 cents worth. I do agree that there are not enough women writing opinion columns and that sexism is still alive in the newsroom as it is in the boardroom and other work places, but I have also read Deborah Tannen's book and I do agree that women do in fact "speak" differently than men. I was raised to be an agreeable person and avoid conflict, and so when I married an Indian-American who loves a good debate, the first year of our marriage, he tried to engage me in lively debates while I avoided him...just to be agreeable. This did not create a real dialogue between us, and so I soon found myself in lively debates with him, finally learning to assert my opinions, discovering, in the words of his former PSU colleague, Linda Trevino, that "conflict is about caring." Twenty years later, we carry on a lively dialogue in our home, and I am grateful to him for teaching me how to be more assertive in my opinions and beliefs. Our ten year old daughter has learned from the master. She will read this conversation someday and wonder what all the fuss was about. She thinks she is right about everything.


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