Dismantling the Archetype of the Nag

-Rosemary Barria

I became a feminist at a young age. Though I did know that word early on, my otherness was apparent to me and I wanted to do something about it. I didn’t feel like it was right for the boys to automatically assume leadership roles, for them to automatically get passed the ball, or for them to get to be Sebastian the crab in our 3rd grade musical of The Little Mermaid. I was always a shy kid though and it took me a while to speak my mind. I wrote about it often, though I couldn’t quite stand up verbally.  What was I afraid of? Surely we have progressed past this putting women and girls in their place and keeping them quiet while men run wild with power…right? Even if a woman is physically safe to, is she emotionally safe to speak her mind without being called names, like bitch or nag?

If you met my partner, he is not the type to run wild with power, nor is he the type to call me names…unless you count that one time he was super pissed and called me “missy”. He is a really good guy and people frequently comment on how lucky I am. He is a good father, loves me and truly means well. He, however, values his freedom above all else and sometimes at the cost of mine. There are no apologies, no guilt, and no shame in it unless I say something. We had our son seven months ago and this only made things worse me. Even as a forward thinking feminist, even before our son was born, I bore the weight of managing the household while holding a full time job and going to school. When are the animals due for the vet, to get their nails trimmed or flea treatment? When was the last time we dusted the ceiling fans I really can’t reach? When is this or that bill due? It is exhausting really and puts me in the place of the so called nag.

Ah the nag…what women are caricatured as when things don’t get done, because sometimes they are in charge of remembering it all. They have to remind and sometimes plead for assistance because no one will give it to them otherwise. A nag is defined literally as someone who insists and annoys finding faults in another person or persistent urging. Are all women nags? Am I truly just finding faults when I ask for someone to share the workload? A lot of times the nag takes a passive aggressive stance. Wouldn’t it be nice if? I sure wish this or that. If the so called nagging goes further than the nag transforms into a bitch.

Whose fault is it though really? Is it so bad that men are allowed to do as they please, shouldn’t all creatures be free to do as they please? Of course we should! The fault lies in our upbringing and conditioning. It will take a lot to change that. We all know that we can really only change ourselves. We have to start expressing our needs in an effective way and just taking what is ours, despite the criticism we may receive, despite being called a bitch or a nag. Our very livelihood depends on asking for our needs and that includes creative and spiritual needs. It is not selfish for my partner to want to rehearse or for me to go to yoga. It is just not realistic some days, so we must compromise. Change must start with us clearly communicating our needs and feeling empowered to do so. Passive aggression is when we hide our anger, but aggressive aggression is when we let our anger take control. We should let anger push us, but not take us over and we should not fear our anger and hide under it.

I have started asking directly for what I want and stating my needs before I explode in anger or passive aggression. It’s starting to work. I am letting my anger fuel my words and my methods to find balance in our family. I support myself and by doing so I show my partner that I respect myself and will not cave during time scheduled for me. Support from others cannot be expected if you don’t support yourself. Support yourself and step into your power and dismantle the archetype of the nag with me! Raise your words. Do not hide your true words from someone you love. Do not waste your words by yelling at someone you love. I will be posting exercises and videos to support us on youtube, so be looking out for those!


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