mealy mouthed


mealy mouthed adj. reluctant to speak frankly

Scarlett O’Hara versus Melanie Hamilton – Gone with the Wind….best illustration of this adjective.

Back in the Civil War South, the reluctance to speak frankly came with a certain type of grace – case in point Melanie Hamilton. Scarlett was the proverbial “bull in the china closet” while Melanie had a quiet and graceful piety. They were opposite sides of the coin. In the end both lose as Melanie dies and Scarlett drives away the last person left who could love her, Rhett Butler.

Today being called mealy mouthed would be quite a derogatory term. Unfortunately I don’t think many people are mealy mouthed these days. In our modern times, passive aggressiveness has become far more prevalent and has replaced the quiet piety of mealy mouthism. The quiet, seemingly meek kittens that are sweet and friendly to your face turn into rabid lions on the phone and over email. I have met too many people like this than I care to count. It has become a right of passage in the workplace and I believe it is reversing the inroads that feminism has made over the years.

I would like to call myself a moderate feminist. I believe in some of the feminist tenets, but not all. The one tenet I do hold important when it comes to the rights and liberties of my gender is the ability and tendency to speak out on opinions – to stick up for what one believes in. Passive aggressiveness is weak and does nothing to further the cause of womanhood.  Men can be passive aggressive as well, but I really do believe it is far more common amongst females. Why are women so afraid of other women or men that they cannot even debate or have a difficult conversation face to face, resorting to emails or voicemails to show their true colors?

It is a baffling conundrum. Females have the courage to achieve many difficult tasks – child bearing and rearing, education, political office – women can do anything. Yet why is this passive aggressive trait so common amongst my gender?

Perhaps it is a sort of crisis of confusion caused by all of the goals and ideas of womanly success. Woman are told to want it all – the man, the baby, the house, the car, the career. Maybe for some women this actually happens. For most, it’s a trade off. You may have it all during the course of your life, but I doubt all at one time. I believe women in the workplace have been conditioned to think that they should use a combination of sex and aggression to get ahead – a corporate version of “a lady in the parlor, slut in the bedroom.” In an effort to achieve “it all” some women tend to put on the facade of grace and manners while tearing people to shreds undercover – a lethal combination of Melanie and Scarlett wrapped up in a power suit.

Frankly, my dear, it’s sad.

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