I Have a Gripe

December 7, 2009

The Many Meanings of “Aggressive”

Filed under: General Annoyances,Manipulation — alvb1227 @ 12:32 pm
Tags: ,

What do you think of when you hear the word “aggressive?”

It may sound like a simple question, but it is one that has bugged me for years. Aggressive can mean words like focused, assertive, contentious, bold, dynamic…and my personal favorite…bitchy.

When you look up aggressive on Thesaurus.com, you find such words as cocky, combative, quarrelsome and intruding. The first entry on the site at the time was: “pit bulls can be naturally aggressive.”

Obviously, words can have many meanings. Aggressive, however, is one that really annoys me. I don’t want to sound like I am getting on my femi-nazi soap  box, but I always found it fascinating that when men are aggressive at work, it is expected and even celebrated. Words used synonymously can include assertive, focused, aspiring and go-getter.  However, when a woman is aggressive at work, she is labeled as bitchy, pushy, combative and disruptive. Is it because men still dominate the workplace and don’t like the competition? Or is it that women are still considered an annoyance in the workplace?

I have to be honest…I don’t know the answer to this one, but I’d love to find out.


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