By Shayne Moore
In the book Women’s Ways of Knowing: The Development of Self, Voice and Mind, four female authors explore the world of women, knowledge and identity. Originally published in 1969, it was a ground-breaking work encouraging new ways to think about what constitutes knowledge and therefore about the aims of education and communication for both women and men.
I was born in 1970, and although reading this book for the first time in my thirties, and a generation removed from the authors, my experience and revelations were no less poignant than for the original audience.
The authors explore the idea of “Real Talk.” As I have journeyed my own awakening to my voice, identity and self I found this section riveting. All the years I worked in academia to receive my Master of Arts in Theology, and the years I spent on various not-for-profit boards, I was immersed in the company and culture of men.
I often found myself following their scripts on how one achieves influence and “gets things done.” So much so, that I lost my own voice and spiraled into depression. What was missing, beyond the given reality that women are not valued as highly as men in certain settings, was this idea of Real Talk.
The authors explain, “Women intuitively make the distinction between “really talking” and what they consider “didactic” talk in which the speaker’s intention is to hold forth rather than to share ideas. In didactic talk, each participant may report experience, but there is no attempt among participants to join together at some new understanding.”
Women understand that “really talking” - or to frame it another way, real influence with one another - is not being talked at. Rather it is authentic conversation and relationship that includes give-and-take discourse, exploration, respect, talking and listening, questioning, speculation, sharing and dreaming.
My journey into understanding this need for real talk and authentic influence has brought me into some wonderful feminine communities. I am honored to be in Redbud Writers Guild, a group of women who use real talk, authentic voice, and their own grounded identities to write and speak and change the world. It is a “room of our own” where ideas are nurtured, individuals are celebrated, truth is confronted and accepted, and meaning and influence is real.
Shayne Moore is the author of FullFill’s “Worldly Women” column, Global Soccer Mom and the soon-to-be-released Refuse to Do Nothing with co-author Kimbery Yim. You can find out more at www.shaynemoore.com.