What can women learn from men? A Woman's Day article, written by two men, lists 10 things. Overall, I agree. Yes, we can be agreeable to our own detriment; we don't always say what we mean; and hiding anger does nobody a favor. But there's one bullet point I take issue with: women don't acknowledge their dark side.
I'll let the article explain.
Most men understand that they are deeply flawed, and at times it can seem women strive so hard for an image of perfection that they will admit nothing that could undermine that perception. But there are two serious benefits to owning up to your shadow side: You are less susceptible to it and more empathetic because of it. Women are often so invested in being seen as good or generous or empathetic — rather than actually being that way — that they tend to have harsher judgments of others and conceal vices that, in their repression, become more toxic. Acknowledging taboos, even if they subtract from womanly virtues, yields a more real and more sympathetic integrity.
Are we stuck in Betty Draper's living room? Even her Mad Men character learns life is not the fairy tale she was promised. As for her dark side, well, she's working on it.
Maybe it's because I am all for acknowledging the dark side that calling this a still-relevant female trait irritates me. It's like a throwback to another generation, which it very well may be since the median age of Woman's Day readers is 50. Yet I can't say I've never seen women my own age try to pretend everything is a-OK when it's so not.
"Nobody will hate you for not being perfect," I once read, "but they will if you appear perfect." If you look at the more lovable female characters on TV — Ugly Betty's Betty, 30 Rock's Liz Lemon, and Glee's Rachel — it seems society already knows this. So are real women that far behind? I don't think so!