Asking and Taking
Director Ava DuVernay spoke about something at BlogHer that I’ve been turning around in my mind ever since. She made the point that women are taught a culture of permission. She said,
Women have been trained in our culture and society to ask for what we want instead of taking what we want. We’ve been really indoctrinated with this culture of permission.
It’s part of a larger speech about going after what you want instead of waiting for someone to guess at what you want and hand it to you. And, moreover, not listening to that little voice inside your head that tells you to wait because you’re not good enough. That talks you out of taking action and turning your ideas into reality.
I love that she tempers the message by saying that we don’t have to take what we want with a sense of privilege but we can act from a sense of personhood and own that every single person on this planet is entitled to go after their dreams. (As long as their dreams are not to harm other people… but does that really need to be said?)
It’s hard because sometimes I think the asking of permission is not just about hanging back and thinking that you’re not worthy. I think it’s sometimes about gathering feedback, about gauging a multi-source reality with the goal to save you time and heartache in the long run.
But I am thinking hard on what I’m asking for instead of simply taking. And whether taking is always the route to go, or if asking sometimes opens more doors in the long run. Knocking and waiting vs. twisting the knob and entering both get you through the door, but I worry at times that if one always enters without knocking that people will, over time, lock the door.
What do you think? Are you more a taker or an asker?
I think I may be more of an asker.
Side note: tomorrow is #MicroblogMonday. Get working on your post.