a personal essay on being nice


Women learn from a young age that they must behave in a certain way to be approved of. It’s something that you are taught by those around you, family, friends and strangers. You learn it in the media, in books where women’s resilience is romanticized -- at times where they should have walked away from the situation or asked for better treatment. You learn it every time a woman is disrespected and nobody intervenes, when men make jokes about how women ought to be, when women get assaulted and people claim it was their fault. You end up internalising it and start believing that it’s ok to be disrespected. Actually, you don’t even understand that you’re being mistreated because it’s just normal for you, and you accept it. Women are taught to be soft-spoken, kind, and delicate by the patriarchy which establishes precise social conventions and gender roles. This standard that women are held against reinforces our incapability to oppose injustice and it makes us forget that we can walk away and ask for better treatment.


* 内面化 = その社会が有する価値と規範を、自分の価値と規範として、受け入れることを指す。内在化ともいう。

** ジェンダーロール = 社会生活において、性別によって固定的な役割を期待されること。また、その役割。例えば、「男は外で仕事をするべき」など。性的役割。性役割。性別役割分担。

Like many others, I convinced myself that I had to act according to these standards in order to be likeable. To be honest, I never had trouble fitting into the stereotype. I have mostly been a reserved and quiet person who likes to follow rules, and as a cis-woman with a conventionally feminine style, I didn’t have to fight to be my true self. However, I have felt oppressed by what society expects me to be. Successful but not intimidating, resolute but not arrogant, assertive without being a bitch. No matter what I’m doing, at times I feel as if I have to live tip-toeing around men, to speak my mind without bothering them as if I’m not a complete individual but an object to look at. Being nice has become an imperative rather than a natural instinct, and I hate it.