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Aggressive or Assertive?

How to be an assertive (not aggressive) woman in life, in love and on the job
A total guide to self-assertiveness

I want to say “no”!  I want a better table in a restaurant! Maybe I do need this book.

Doesn’t the book cover just scream 70s women’s movement?  This is great example of  women’s empowerment book during the 70s.  I don’t remember this being a particularly impressive title, but I remember lots of books with similar titles.   I am sure that Phil Donohue did several episodes on this theme.

Regardless of the time and place I still think most strong women are thought of as “bitchy” or “mean”  and men exhibiting the exact same behavior would be considered assertive or forthright.  Maybe times haven’t changed that much.  So maybe the topic is still important but how about something from this decade?

Just another aggressive librarian,


0 Responses to Aggressive or Assertive?

  • Can we put this on the same burn pile as “How to be a Reasonably Thin Teenager” and “How to Make a Man Fall in Love with You”?

    I second that notion, Mary.

    “How to be a composed librarian in the daily adversity of public service.”

    All I hear is the crickets.

  • Ugh the line about “doing excellent work but not getting a promotion” on the back really bugs me. That’s right, ladies, it’s YOUR fault you’re not getting anywhere in your job, not the fault of institutionalized sexism and a good old boys club! You’re just not ASSERTIVE enough. Of course, if you ARE assertive, you will be thought of as aggressive, so you can’t win. Still, it’ll be one more thing to feel guilty about!

  • It might be a little old, but is the content really that dated and irrelevant for today?

    The ‘not aggressive’ part of the title is weird, but surely all the notes on the back are still applicable to many women.

  • Aggressive seems to be in the “eye” of the beholder
    In most cases, if you agree with the request they are assertive, if you are on the recieving end they are being agressive.
    Sometimes you can’t win for trying…
    If I ever write a self help book I think that will be its title.

  • There is certainly still a place for self-help books like this, but I am finding that age and experience are great aids to assertiveness. In my 20’s I was way too embarrassed to speak out but now in my 50’s it’s become a way of life.

    Of course I could just becoming a grumpy old woman…..

  • Nowadays, with so many more women in the workplace, a guy that acts overly assertive or aggressive is considered an asshole. A guy who acts “bitchy” is most likely gay. See the show “Flipping Out” on Bravo.

    • I agree. Women are still bitchy and mean and men are bitchy and mean just like women. I’m not sure that’s what was supposed to happen.

  • Oh, snap! Take that, Henry James!

  • It’s the wording and attitude that make the difference. I knew several women whom thought they were assertive, they were jut b***hes and one of the reasons I will never be a “feminist” as they define it. Their idea of being assertive was telling everyone they were idiots, acting like they owned the world, and telling everyone how to live their lives. They even went so far as to tell me what kind of underwear I should wear to “boost my self esteem.” I don’t care if it’ll cure cancer and cause world peace, I am NOT wearing a thong!

    So yeah, there ARE women still out there who need to learn the difference. Being assertive is saying, politely but firmly “I don’t like that.” Aggressive is saying “You’re a moron and you MUST do things my way, you #&$Q@# idiot!”

    • So you don’t believe that women have the right to economic, social and political equality? And this is because of a few people that you’ve had bad encounters with?
      It’s a shame that you eschew the movement that allows women to sing in the first place.

      • Allows women to sing? Probably women have been singing for eons before feminism.

      • W/b, granny. For centuries, women who performed in public were considered women of ill repute. Feminism broke down the barrier between the idea of the modest woman ensconced in the home and the public woman that was allowed to have a life outside the home.

      • I don’t believe women – or men – should be RUDE.

        You treat people how you want to be treated. You don’t call them names, mock their beliefs, or make them feel like crap. That’s not being assertive. That’s being a bully.

        Obviously, you didn’t read my post.

      • Isn’t assuming I didn’t read your post kind of rude? I’m not the only person who commented on your interpretation of feminism, clearly wouldn’t you think that you’re projecting something negative?
        Every group has rude people–men, women, conservatives, and liberals and in a lot of your posts about feminism I’ve noticed that you lump all feminists into this negative group. My question is have you actually read anything about feminism and are you actually familiar with the theory?

  • Nooo…don’t let women gets their hands on this. Life as a manipulating man will never be the same.

  • In British slang, ‘on the job’ means ‘having sex’.

  • @jamisings: “feminism” is merely the belief that women have the same legal and social rights as men. It has nothing to do with thong underwear. You can go ahead and call yourself a feminist if you want to.

  • Call me naive, but I don’t think women have to learn how to act a certain way anymore. It’s now a different issue and one that has been suggested by some of the comments–getting full equality in all things, particularly in the workplace. So I think a much more valuable book today would be tips on that aspect of being a woman, and not about pretending to be something other than what you are (which is neither a female- nor male-specific issue). In other words, how you present and conduct yourself is a separate and universal issue versus one of true equality.

  • I hate to be the one to point things like this out, but you spelled Phil Donahue’s name wrong.

  • I hate these books about how women “should” act. “don’t be aggressive” you get nowhere by being passive,which is so old fashioned. But don’t be too over the top,like a guy,right?!
    Do you think men read this kind of crap? No they don’t even bother,no one writes books on how they should be nicer to anyone. Geez the books they write for women,and they call this “self help”. Women are conditioned into being like door mats too often. And this type of book just reinforces it. Toss it into the pile fast!

    • What’s terrifying is that Fascinating Womanhood, the creepiest antifeminist pro-doormat book in existence, continues to be updated. I think the last update was 2003. We’ve come a long way, baby…

  • Just about every book published in the 70s had the same exact template for a cover with the same exact shitty font and same exact lack of pictures.

  • I want to tell you ASSERTIVELY (not agressively) to WEED THIS BOOK!! Oh wait, my ovaries are getting in the way …

  • ‘aggressive’…
    whatever. Everyone calls her the same word around the water cooler…

  • I actually read this book. (I’m a historian.) It’s not as bad as the title sounds — aggression is defined as an immature and unworkable strategy for both genders, and there are some exercises I’ve definitely seen in later self help books. The title is unfortunate, but it’s really neat being able to read something written for an audience that’s just coming to grips with the women’s movement.