People who think lowly of those who do not act or speak according to their preference are very shallow and only attract conflict with others because of their attitude. I think that not being direct with a stranger is acceptable. Although we want to be transparent to other people, we should still be reserved in the things that we say to protect ourselves. You are right in saying that this could cause misunderstanding because people may not be able to get your point. At times, it is hard to communicate with people that you do not know because of language barriers.
This is especially hard when dealing with the opposite sex who might not see things your way and may have the tendency to misinterpret what you are saying. You are also correct in saying that people should be more flexible in terms of following the rules of gender because not all scenarios are the same for everybody else. Also, people are not perfect and would be able to act according to the rules at all times. Men cry. Women curse and shout. It does not matter where they are or when they choose to do so because they should not be judged for their actions and decisions.
People do not know what caused their actions and have no right in thinking lowly of them. Your experiences are similar to mine in that I am also a female and that I am expected the best behavior at all times just because of my gender. I also tend to become reserved when dealing with people I do not closely work with because I do not feel comfortable enough to share important information with them. I find having friends, specifically female friends, very comforting because they are able to empathize with me when I need them to. They are also able to give their opinions without appearing biased or judgmental.
We all grew up thinking the same things regarding how men and women should act and speak, especially in front of everyone else. This is why it is hard for some to see behaviors that contradict what they have known growing up, which is why they too cannot be blamed. This is the reason why people need to be more open-minded when it comes to understanding others and even the opposite sex. Men and women communicate in different ways and people need to accept this fact. After accepting and adjusting to this reality, people should find ways on how to understand each other more effectively.
If it means talking more often or asking questions, then this should be done. On the other hand, people should also learn how to listen and explain what they feel and think better. Your self-reflection says that we should be more understanding and I believe that this is one key to a better communication. We should also make it a point to practice what we preach. If we think that people should be more understanding of others, we should start with ourselves and practice this thought. We should never base our opinions from one encounter with a person because we would not be able to see the real them with just one experience.