“A few weeks ago at work,” Jennifer Lawrence wrote in an essay for Lenny (yup, I guess I’m subscribed to Lenny now! Well played, Lena Dunham).

“I spoke my mind and gave my opinion in a clear and no-[BS] way; no aggression, just blunt. The man I was working with (actually, he was working for me) said, ‘Whoa! We’re all on the same team here!’ As if I was yelling at him. I was so shocked because nothing that I said was personal, offensive, or, to be honest, wrong.

"All I hear and see all day are men speaking their opinions, and I give mine in the same exact manner, and you would have thought I had said something offensive.”

Nailed it.

“Woman in a Meeting” is a language of its own.

It should not be, but it is. You will think that you have stated the case simply and effectively, and everyone else will wonder why you were so Terrifyingly Angry. Instead, you have to translate. You start with your thought, then you figure out how to say it as though you were offering a groveling apology for an unspecified error. (In fact, as Sloane Crosley pointed out in an essay earlier this year, the time you are most likely to say “I’m sorry” is the time when you feel that you, personally, have just been grievously wronged. Not vice versa.)

To illustrate this difficulty, I have taken the liberty of translating some famous sentences into the phrases a woman would have to use to say them during a meeting not to be perceived as angry, threatening or (gasp!) bitchy.

1. “Give me liberty, or give me death.”

Woman in a Meeting:

Dave, if I could, I could just — I just really feel like if we had liberty it would be terrific, and the alternative would just be awful, you know? That’s just how it strikes me. I don’t know.

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