By Cherimie Crane Weatherford
Each morning begins with a balancing act that consists of basic necessity, socially accepted behavior, missing keys, matted make up and the attempt to make it out the front door with all necessary clothing. Certainly there is a long list of pros of being a woman; many of which can be used at the drop of a hat when needed, conjured up to perfection when pushed into a corner, and delivered with a powerful punch in moments. However, it is without a doubt a power that comes with great responsibility and even greater challenges.
Early training of these fine female faculties began with the simple understanding that my father could, in fact, be swayed. His firm stance on no pigs in the house was one deserving of debate. Porky was my friend, my pet and most times better behaved than my sibling. It was during this momentous stand I learned, as so many women do, that a smile combined with just the right head tilt topped with a bright-eyed stare could be a most effective negotiation technique. Porky learned to sit and Daddy learned to compromise. I learned “no” means find another way to present your case.
It is a common misconception that tears are a cure all for our population. Most of us learn that tears can be misinterpreted, misconstrued, and for all practical purposes, a waste of good mascara. It is not within a woman’s tears where power is found. It is in adaptability, versatility, and compatibility with a slightly less complex gender. Men see blue; women see white, turquoise, muted navy, and a possible need for pink. Once understood, this difference can be maximized for incredible return.
Southern women have a way of mastering the head tilt, the bright-eyed stare and the astonishing ability to create a masterful argument for just about anything. Examples of this phenomenon are easily found in restaurants, shopping centers and homes all over our great nation. Although I haven’t served in the halls of Congress, I am certain there is an ample amount of bright-eyed stares driving legislation. This in no way suggests weakness or naivety, instead it channels years and years of proper training to communicate a reservoir of strength and perseverance.
Having learned that displays of aggression are appropriate coming only from the male masses, women have risen to the occasion of modification in the graceful way only women can. Throwing a fit, a plate, a shoe, even a golf club may have its time and place; however, throwing a devil-be-damned stare changes courses of action. Throwing a plate only changes a dinner setting.
Clearly it is socially, even Southernly, acceptable for a man to express aggression, often it is even poetically painted as passion. Women, on the other hand, have a one-way ticket to the crazy couch when participating in bouts of aggression or passionate debate. It is a learned behavior to find more suitable methods of persuasion. A Southern woman can hush a crowd with a cut of her eyes, even disarm an army with a silent glare. Any skeptic is welcomed to join my grandmother during a Sunday worship service — with one look she can quiet even the most mischievous pew of participants. Still doubtful? Find a woman, any woman and try to take her chocolate. Immediately, you will be reduced to salt and oxygen with the blink of an eye.
In an industry dominated by my male counterparts, I have found my skill set to be as complimentary as it is confusing. Surrounded by testosterone, I have learned to adapt, overcome and even enjoy my female mystique. That which handicaps me in the eyes of many catapults me in the eyes of those that matter. A woman who knows her worth, manages her powers, multiplies her reach, even allowing her to change a man’s mind. And teach a pig to sit.