The challenges of being an introverted woman
The introverted female is a species all her own. While other women delight in constant chitchat and colorful banter, we silently wonder if we’re missing a crucial femininity chip.
You can’t blame us for feeling ostracized. In our culture, it is implied that talkative, extroverted females are the norm, while quiet women mostly belong in monasteries and silent films.
Society’s obsession with chatty women
In general, women are expected to be chatty, outgoing and to wear our hearts on our sleeves. Western culture prizes girls who have an easy breezy, smile-at-strangers and giggle-at-everything sort of demeanor.
Unless you’re in Finland or East Asia, introverted females are largely undervalued. We are typically more inhibited, less talkative and less skilled at faking enthusiasm than extroverted women. Our quiet virtues can easily be overshadowed by the dazzling, in-your-face charm of outgoing women.
Introverted women in TV and Movies
One need only look at television role models to understand our plight. The reign of the extroverted female began with Marsha Brady and has steadily gained steam with characters like Rachel Green from Friends and Gloria from Modern Family. These women are the epitome of bubbly, extroverted charm.
They are witty, hilarious and nauseatingly endearing. They are the type of women we have all wanted to be like at some point. Now, compare them with introverted television heroines, such as … ummm … err … gimme a second … hmmm … (see where I’m going with this?).
Lately, there seem to be more introverted females on the silver screen. Bella Swan of Twilight immediately comes to mind. Unfortunately, it’s pretty difficult to relate to someone who divides her time equally between flirting with werewolves and making out with vampires.
My favorite introverted film character is Amelie, a daydreamy, young french woman who is totally loveable. It’s refreshing to see a movie that portrays an introverted woman in a positive light.
Why it’s hard to believe Audrey Hepburn was an introvert
Most people are surprised to learn that Audrey Hepburn was an introvert.
“I have to be alone very often. I’d be perfectly happy if I spent Saturday night until Monday morning alone in my apartment. That’s how I refuel.” Audrey Hepburn
It’s hard to imagine that Hepburn’s true personality was so different from the extroverted characters she played. It’s also difficult for some to fathom that such a beautiful woman could be an introvert. Many people wrongly envision female introverts as pasty white spinster types who own at least three cats.
The reality is, introverted women come in all shapes, sizes and skin colors. And, like Hepburn, we can be radiantly beautiful as well.
Introverted women vs. introverted men
Western society tends to be more accepting of stoic men than their female counterparts. How many of you have heard a friend say, with a chuckle, “dad is pretty quiet, but my mom will talk your ear off”? Or, perhaps they warmly relate how grandpa used to hide out on the roof with a book whenever guests came over.
Can you imagine how people might react if it was grandma on the roof? They would probably think she was crazy, depressed, or incredibly rude. In any case, I doubt they would find her actions endearing.
Why is it okay for grandpa to claim his solitude, but not good ol’ grams?
Introverted women wanting to be extroverts
I used to turn my darkest shade of green-eyed monster when gazing upon extroverted women. I wished I could master the art of flirtation and fluffy banter as they had. I envied how they always knew what to say and when to say it. I strived to be more like them, and in some ways, I succeeded.
After years of practice, I can be easy breezy and bubbly for about 20 minutes at a time (after which point I become exhausted and begin writing blog posts in my head). I’ll admit, putting on my extrovert hat has its advantages. But it also comes at a price.
Every time we stomp down our introverted nature, we crush part of our soul in the process. Click to tweet.
In order to make way for our louder, more extroverted alter ego, we must bury a part of ourselves. Consequently, it becomes more and more difficult to unearth the hidden treasures of our true personality.
Nowadays, I strive to embrace my introversion, and all the wonderful qualities that come with it.
I recognize that femininity radiates from the inside out and finds its true form in quietness. Click to tweet.
I know I’m not necessarily “normal”, but I see my value nonetheless. And besides, being normal is highly overrated – kinda like being extroverted.