Daisy Ridley: Male coworkers & bosses have called me ‘intimidating’ & ‘aggressive’

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Daisy Ridley covered a recent issue of Tatler to promote Chaos Walking, a “dystopian thriller” coming out in March. Daisy went through a lot of crap during the entire Star Wars run, but she’s trying to build her post-Star Wars CV and she sounds like she’s in a better place these days. For a while there, she was just under a ton of strain, some of it from outside forces and some of it self-inflicted strain. In this interview, she talks about how directors have always perceived her as “aggressive” or “intimidating” when she’s simply… existing and speaking. She’s a tiny little thing and she really has whole-ass powerful men running scared because she has some opinions, huh.

Being called intimidating on the set of Chaos Walking: ‘I’ve been told that I’m intimidating. “I was having my hair done, having my wig put on, I remember thinking, “God, should I be smaller? Should I be quieter?”’

Being called aggressive: “I’ve been called aggressive, too; my energy is ‘quite aggressive’. That was during a meeting with a director. I was thinking: ‘But why? Is it because I maintained eye contact? Is it because I’m passionate about what we’re talking about?’ I dunno. You have that horrible sinking feeling of, God, do I not come across the way I think I do?”

On keeping her private life on lockdown: “When I signed on to Star Wars, there was nothing in my contract that said: ‘Your life will be talked about’”, she said, telling the magazine she has tried hard to keep her romantic life out of the headlines. “It got to the point where I realised so much of my life was out there…People knew my mum’s name, my dad’s name, what my sisters do for a living. And I thought it would be nice to have something that’s for me, that isn’t for everybody else. I just thought I would keep that separate.”

[From The Evening Standard]

Daisy is 28 years old. How old were you when you began to understand that your male bosses and male coworkers were actually gaslighting you when they told you that you’re “intimidating” and “aggressive” for simply speaking and existing? I got that for most of my life, even when I was younger and pretty shy – men/boys would read my silence and shyness as intimidating and threatening. Then when I would speak up, that too was intimidating and aggressive. At some point, every woman just comes to the realization that it’s not about your looks or what you say or don’t say. There are just tons of men who are always going to say you’re intimidating or aggressive or threatening simply because you’re a woman. That’s it. That’s the aha-moment.

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Photos courtesy of Avalon Red.

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36 Responses to “Daisy Ridley: Male coworkers & bosses have called me ‘intimidating’ & ‘aggressive’”

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  1. VS says:

    After her past comments on her own privilege, I find it hard to take her very seriously but this statement by Kaiser is 100% true

    “There are just tons of men who are always going to say you’re intimidating or aggressive or threatening simply because you’re a woman”

    And sometimes I wonder, what kind of women raised those men?

    • lanne says:

      Don’t blame the women. We have to stop blaming women for the actions of men. How can one woman do much more than make a dent into a society that’s set up to keep men in positions of power? Every aspect of life is centered around the desires and feelings and experiences of men— white men at that. Their POV is our societal default. The best any mom can do is to push back against the system with all she has. She can talk about consent all she wants, but is a 15 year old kid going to listen to his mom, or his peers? Society at large? Mom loses. The best bet is that the boy realizes in time the wisdom of moms teachings, and that they are reinforced in his life by other MALE role models he has.

      • VS says:

        I am not blaming the women but let’s not pretend that there are not certain women like Melania Trump or the duchess of Cambridge or Megan McCain or Sarah Palin or so many others who are more than happy to not challenge patriarchy as it is most beneficial to them to remain in their place; What kind of examples do they set? how useful are they to advancing the cause?

        I do agree with you on the fact that those men probably saw how their father treated women around them just like they may have had other male role model who more than their mother shape their behavior……….

      • Anna says:

        Men are lacking the right MALE role models.

    • Ally says:

      Yeah, but you can’t blame the moms. I’ve raised two men. And the whole time I was so stoked to be raising these amazing feminist men that were going to GET IT. One of them does. The other one…sigh. I love him to death, but he is such a chauvinist sometimes and I don’t know how I failed. Like the other poster said, one woman just can’t compete with the rest of the world sometimes. I just keep hoping that as he continues to grow he will continue to grow.

    • MissMarierose says:

      When you question what kind of woman raised a man and not what kind of man/men raised a man, you are in fact blaming women. You enforce the patriarchy, albeit unintentionally.
      It’s very much akin to the common phrase of abusers “see what you made me do?”

      • lanne says:

        Exactly. That was my original point. Let’s stop asking women to take all responsibility for how their kids turn out. Let’s ask MEN to do their fucking jobs and PARENT their damn kids! I say this as someone with an amazing father who parented me well, so I’m not anti father here. The thing is that men can get away with not parenting their kids, whether they live with the kids or not, while women can’t. As for the Melanias and Sarah Palins of the world, yes there are women who reinforce patriarchy. There always will be. But even they aren’t solely responsible for how men turn out. Their terrible husbands played their part as well.

      • VS says:

        I apologize I didn’t explain myself clearly………

        1) Family dynamic is or should be the example most of us are first exposed to; my point was more like do those men find their own mom aggressive? did their father find their mom aggressive?
        Yes we have role models later but if someone’s perception of their mom differs from the way they treat other women, is it cognitive dissonance or their mom just being the type of women they don’t find aggressive?

        2) Additionally, I think of families with mothers like Melania Trump, Sarah Palin or Mother (Mike Pence’s wife), and the likes ……. what do you expect of the way those families raise their sons vs their daughters?

        Although for the trump, that’s another story…..

    • Julie says:

      Well I don’t care if it was failed parenting, an influential misogynistic culture or just the guys innate predispositions. Completely irrelevant. Just don’t act that way or don’t live in society.

      Also ever notice women’s tendency to forensically breakdown WHY people are acting the way they are? I never see this discussion when men are talking racism or homophobia or any other bigotry. It’s only women who take a macro overview and start puzzling over oppressors psychological or emotional makeup. Where has that approach gotten us? Deal with the behavior not the imagined root causes.

    • MM2 says:

      VS- You’ve explained your comments & I hope you took in what other’s have said: it’s not women’s fault that men are abusive (not the woman being abused & not their mothers).
      You mentioned a few women to double down on your comment & I would pause.
      The women you pointed out, Melania Trump, Pence’s wife & Sarah Palin, all live in sexist, abusive marriages. I would caution anyone blaming them for that dynamic. I loath all these women with a passion, and people can be both perpetrators plus victims of violence at the same time, but they are not responsible for the abuse that their husbands do to them or their children.

    • derps says:

      What kind of men raised those men? People have fathers too, usually. How were you raised that you don’t even think of what men have to do with raising their boys, only what the mothers do? Go sit with yourself for a while until you’re ready to be an equal as you like to think you are.

  2. Digital Unicorn says:

    I’ve had that problem all of my adult life. When I was a teenager starting out on the dating scene I would also get comments about how they thought I was aggressive because I was direct, even when I started my career it was the same. Am older and have ran out of fks to give so I really don’t care about some precious male snowflakes delicate ego.

    Not all men are like that but sadly its still too many who CANNOT handle a woman that uses her voice and is not afraid of them.

  3. Louise177 says:

    I feel like there’s a story about Daisy being intimidating once a month. It just gets annoying when celebrities have the same talking point in all of their interviews.

    • lanne says:

      I disagree. It’s an important talking point—way more than their hair products and weight loss tips. We have to stop seeing women simply as decorative. So let’s start by hearing about their lived experiences as celebrities. So many people aspire to that status, esp. young people, that hearing about their real world challenges cracks the professionally stage managed image (staged by men mainly.). Remember 10 years ago all the women actors who were suddenly talking about how much they loved Star Wars and video games? Male fantasy porn right there—I loved Amy Schumer’s sketch on that. It’s a way to make a more authentic connection with fans as well—how many of us have been called intimidating and assertive on the regular? I have since I was a tiny kid, just because I was raised to speak my mind.

  4. Julia K says:

    It has been my experience that men are assertive while women are aggressive. Nothing has changed over the course of my whole career.

    • ce says:

      Yes, and that a woman being ‘bossy’ is a negative thing! God how I internalized that message as a kid! When I realized that being a good leader may require me to be ‘bossy’ that was a big leap for me growth-wise, surely for many other women as well.
      And, in our love life! I used to ask guys out who would relentlessly flirt but not make the first move, and as soon as I womaned-up and did the work for them they would suddenly lose interest, ‘oh I just like you as a friend’ uh huh. I promised myself I would never make that mistake again, because men don’t like ‘agressive’ women. I broke the rule one last time, but that guy ended up marrying me lol

  5. Cat says:

    Ever since daisy said she had no more of a privileged background than John Boyega I can’t trust her judgment. Nothing wrong with being a intimidating woman though but seems just be a code for people to call a woman unlikeable for having agency and having her own opinions.

  6. jbyrdku says:

    I’ve gotten this my entire life. I just turned 38 years old. It’s only in the last two years that I’ve realized this.

  7. Leanne says:

    I remember being told by one of my old male bosses that I was “mouthy.” I didn’t stop how I acted at all!

  8. duchess of hazard says:

    *kanye shrug*

    I’m a black woman, I have gotten from young the memo that I’m loud and aggressive all the time. It just means that I have firm boundaries, and if you cross them, it’s on sight, that’s all.

    • Julie says:

      Lol. Someone does need to introduce this young lady to “I’m bossy” by Kelis.

    • Rise_Above says:

      Brown, Muslim, Immigrant, female here. Same. Loud, aggressive, intimidating, savage, terrorist, bossy, threatening, can’t stay in my lane, too opinionated, you’re a guest in our country, giving my bf jungle fever, being called a jungle bunny, a sand n*gger, crazy b*tch… the list goes on for daily macro and micro aggressions.. all for merely existing in white spaces and annoying them with any tangible success. We are sisters in arms. You’re living well when these idiots try to ruin your day with their words. I call them out daily and if they’re someone I have to come into contact with often I make it c-r-y-s-t-a-l clear their racism, misogyny, and bs will be called out publicly, not tolerated, and there will be hell to pay as I breathe fire on them. Might as well confirm their worst suspicions and let them know you’re here to take away all their privilege 😁

      • Soupie says:

        ^^😄😄😄 I love this. You keep goin’ girl!

        I AM sorry you’ve heard all that bullsh– though.

  9. Bettyrose says:

    I struggled for two years sharing a small office with a man who was very intimidated by me (and who regularly took credit for my work) I had to hold myself back so much to avoid trouble. When I finally moved into another workplace I felt like I really had to dust off my skills after two years of playing down my work.

  10. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    Completely understand this absolute truth. Men have always been intimidated by strong women. Hopefully Daisy is maturing and settling into herself because she’s always been a bit too excitable for my taste. But that goes away with experience and has nothing to do with aggression or intimidation. In my 20s, I was told I’m intimidating (I guess maybe my whole life). And older men were always telling me that I was too smart for my own good. TOO SMART FOR MY OWN GOOD. I hate that sentence more than I can express. WTF is it even supposed to mean. Another way of telling me to shut up? I told my girlfriends if they ever hear that, ask the issuer to explain your personal good to you, that they’re not smart enough to know better than not to say that to someone, then get up and walk out. Frakkers.

  11. BeanieBean says:

    Oh, I’d say I heard this all my life. Too intimidating when I was quiet, too aggressive when I speak. There’s no end to it.

  12. Kco says:

    Anyone read the Chaos Walking Trilogy? I did several years back, and I really liked it. I’m curious how I’d feel re reading. I’m always thrown when a series I once loved, morphs into something else when read again.

  13. Lissdogmom02 says:

    When I was barely 20, in the early 90’s I was accepted into longshoring or longshoreman job. I being a naive young gal didn’t realize I was the 2nd group accepted in because the government was making them. Most people were all right with me but a lot were not, I had to earn respect & to some it wasn’t an option I was told at every turn that women were just accepted in 1986. I think the worst part of that was when the 1st round of woman were not welcoming but saw me as competition. I succeeded in the arena until my Ra made working outside impossible.
    I then got a degree & a office job, I’ve been met with more animosity by women than I ever was a man. I’ve of course been placated by men but I expect it I guess. I think it’s unfortunate a lot of women see another woman as competition versus an ally.
    I read a poem that struck me, be the person you needed when you were younger. No idea who wrote my bungled quote. I’m trying to live this & pay it forward to the younger women in my orbit as well as all women. We as women need to lift each other as misogyny is real together we can make great strides.

  14. HME says:

    I gave Daisy Ridley the benefit of doubt for a long time but the fact that she STILL hasn’t publically spoken in support of John Boyega since he came forward with the racism he dealt with while making Star Wars really doesn’t sit right with me at all. So yeah I’m having a hard time mustering anything over her “men label me aggressive” comments.

  15. Blerg says:

    I mean—it is possible to be a woman and have an offputting level of aggression, or to intimidate—but more often than not, it feels as if women are called “intimidating” if they’re simply not pushovers.

    And as my mama always said, “Only weak men dislike strong women.”

  16. Lucy2 says:

    Nothing has done more damage to society than the fragile male ego.

  17. rainbowkitty says:

    I worked in a government office for years with male bosses. One was sexually harassing most of the women in the office, and everyone was aware, yet no one did a thing. It was always brushed off as “oh that’s just Joe, he’s friendly and loves everyone.” I went to the HR rep for my department and she was actually in the process of quitting because there were several complaints about this guy and everyone was afraid to touch him, nothing ever got done and essentially even an HR rep couldn’t do the exact job she was hired to do.

    Another male boss, my direct manager, once took him into his office after I spoke up in a meeting and literally said “don’t” referring to my questioning something. He said I couldn’t talk to him that way in front of everyone . There were days that I literally cried at that job it was such a toxic environment.

    I don’t work there anymore. I left a good job, in a position that I went to university for with good pay, benefits, pension, etc because I just couldn’t take it. The men won in the end. It’s a shame.