“I can handle a strong woman.” That’s the hardest statement to dissect as a female because it implies that strong women must be handled. Handled by definition means to manage, feel or manipulate with the hands. An assertive, focused and driven individual is not something you want to manage or manipulate with the hands. In short, you can’t really direct or want to redirect a person that knows what they want and are inpired to achieve said goals. The only smart thing to do is help them or get out of their way. The lady with a mission and plan needs assistance to get it done not hindrances and show stoppers!
In of itself, the phrase is misguided at best and misogynist at its worst. What respectable human being would allow thenselves to be handled by any man? Why would you as a partner invite or condone being handled? Unless you are a domesticated animal you certainly wouldn’t want to be treated this way. Think about it. Do you really want to tame a person? To mold and shape then to your will? Tolerating someone in spite of their strongsuits seems a bit pedantic and selfish. People with dreams should be guided and cultivated, not reaped and sowed out of their crop. In my opinion only materials, situations and tools should be handled.
Words have meaning. Common vernacular and colloquialisms aside, phrases like this one serve no purpose but to promote a culture where people who are different or behave contrary to social expectations must be controlled or monitored. Handling someone is a dangerous concept because it reopens a door that we have been trying to close for a while: slavery and indentured servitude. For free will to be real and respected we have to learn to embrace others and promote diversity of thought and experience. Being homogeneous deprives us of vision and knowledge; handling others contributes to this problem because we rob them of the opportunity to be themselves and of their value. I personally detest the notion that I need to be reigned in because I am courageous, bold and out of the norm. My contributions to my peers and society beg to differ. The benefits of letting my free spirit roam are more than the gains of locking me up in a room and removing me from the workforce and denying me a career because of my gender.
It may be a lot to ask but whenever you say a cliché phrase think before you release your words into the air. Many of the quick thoughts passed on to us by previous generations have an inherent bias that is veiled in passive aggressiveness or micro aggresion. Yes, it is PC talk but very valid. Don’t you get tired of hearing empty consolations and laments? Platitudes don’t cut it anymore in the information age. We should put more effort into what we say and how we day it. Opinions are like assholes (pardon my french); everyone has them but no one wants to hear yours. Rise above the rest and show those you encounter that you are not only listening to them but that you truly understand and support them. Choose your words effectively and carefully to ensure you are seen as reasonable and caring. This is how we make the world a better place, by paying attention to our reality and enhancing communication. The women and men you admire and love will thank you for it. Trust me, I’m an engineer. 😉