“Consider your Contribution:” Thoughts on Opposition

Guest post by OpEd Project Facilitator Deborah Douglas.

deborahd1Sunlight is the best disinfectant.”  ― William O. Douglas

From the Department of Why do you do what you do (WDYDWYD)?: According to NYT writer Tara Mohr, “If a woman wants to do substantive work of any kind, she’s going to be criticized — with comments not just about her work but also about herself. … And yet, many women don’t have that tool kit.”

As author of the upcoming “Playing Big: Find Your Voice, Your Mission, Your Message,” Mohr highlights research that shows women are judged more harshly in workplace evaluations, with a focus on aspects of their personality

She says, “Women today inhabit a transitional historical moment. We have tremendous new freedoms and new opportunities, but the legacy of a very different past is around us and inside us. Learning to respond to praise and criticism — without getting hooked by it — is for most of us, a necessary rite of passage.”

I offer Mohr’s thoughts for your consideration, first, to strengthen your resolve against those who vehemently disagree with you as you push your voice and ideas into a more expansive marketplace of ideas. Second, please consider your contribution to this transitional, historical moment and how your thoughts, words and expertise can be leverage into this transitional moment.

And while I don’t have the research to back this up, my gut tells me, minorities face similar circumstances. This is our time; let’s use it.

Deborah Douglas is a veteran journalist and an OpEd Project Fellowship Leader. In 2014, Douglas has led OpEd Project programs across the continent, including our Public Voices fellowships at Dartmouth College and University of Texas at Austin.

For more advice on dealing with negative feedback, see this post by OpEd Project Fellowship Leader Chloe Angyal

To learn more about the photo project WDYDWYD, see here.


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