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Speak Up -- They Just Might Hear You

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DATING
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While researching interesting viral social campaigns for a project at work recently, I happened upon an amazing campaign in New Zealand. The purpose of the campaign was to draw attention to the fact that women in New Zealand were getting paid less than their male counterparts for the exact same work. To protest, the women of the YWCA of Auckland stationed a coffee cart outside of Parliament and charged men 10 percent more for their daily Java than women, the rationale being that if men make more, they should be forced to pay more for the same goods. Aggressive? Perhaps. But highly effective. It caught media attention all over the world and generated signatures on their Pay Equality Bill.

Though the gender pay gap, compounded by the fact that women have to jump up to even touch the glass ceilings in the workplace, is a topic near and dear to my heart, it's not the topic of this post. Aggression, however, is. More specifically, aggression in both the dating world and in the professional world and how sometimes, we are forced to shout a bit louder than everyone else just to be heard.

For instance, I'm a freelancer. I work on a contractual basis, get brought in for a project and stay through its completion. Problem is, sometimes you're told you're being brought in for a week and you end up staying for a month, two months or longer. You never really know when you will or won't have work. The relative instability of contractual work requires you to be constantly on the ball. Emailing headhunters and recruiters on a regular basis. Following up constantly. Juggling multiple opportunities. You can't do this gig if you don't have a healthy dose of "In Your Face." But how much is too much? What is diligence as opposed to straight up annoying? When it's your job on the line, who's going to stand up for you... except you? My professional partner tells me I need to chill a bit. Let things play out as they will. I'm skeptical that letting nature play its course will have the desired result. So I push extra hard and hope for the best. Just like in New Zealand, some people are fans of this aggressive attitude. Others, not so much.

This "aggression" extends to other facets of my life, and sometimes, I'm met with the same resistance in my personal endeavors (read: dating). As with my job, when I see something I want, I have no qualms at pursuing it with fervor. Who has time for games? Some people appreciate this forthrightness, whereas others balk at it. I was recently called aggressive by a guy I dated briefly. He chided me that men love the chase, and as a woman, I needed to let them enjoy it. (Ironically, in that particular instance, I didn't even think I was being aggressive but that's mostly besides the point.)

I wonder if when women are perceived as being aggressive, it's really just because we're trying to get credit where credit is due. Or make sure that we're not overlooked as was the case in New Zealand. When we're supposedly aggressive while dating, it's because we want to go after what we think we deserve, in the same way as a man would. Is it so bad to try to level the playing field? All I know is, if its' aggression that's gotten me to where I am today, I'm content with not backing off.