Thursday, October 22, 2015

From a Woman's Perspective


Earlier this week I read an on-point article about being female in a male dominated world.  In the article, Alexandra Petri brilliantly illustrates the double standard when it comes to communication. Women must be careful with what we say and how we say it. Otherwise we are accused of being rude, angry, a bitch, not a team player, etc. Her examples of how a woman would have to deliver famous quotes are sadly true.

Orginal source unknown
Not only do women have to drastically soften whatever message needs to be delivered, we must also overcome being interrupted before we have finished sharing a thought. We also must navigate a world where our ideas are either ignored until a male voice expresses them or outright stolen from us. In this article, Soraya Chemaly talks about how "[m]en interrupt women, speak over them, and discount their contributions to a discussion with surprising regularity." She says we should start teaching girls to use the following expressions to overcome this problem:

“Stop interrupting me.” 

“I just said that.”

“No explanation needed.”

Unfortunately, even men who believe they are tearing down our patriarchal society 
are guilty of quieting female voices. Back in March, in a panel discussion on "diversity and gender inclusivity," Google executive Eric Schmidt constantly interrupted Megan Smith, the Chief Technology Officer for the United States. A woman in the audience finally called Schmidt out on it. Smith added that "because of unconscious bias, men often appropriate the ideas of female counterparts and get all the credit."

Even though much (but not all) of this behavior is unintentional and part of our cultural make up, trying to bring these biases to light requires women to continue the practice of softening the message. The very act of calling men out on rudeness is perceived as being rude. We are blamed when we point out the error of another. Yet how are we to move forward without clearly and succinctly expressing the problem - especially since the problem is we aren't allowed to clearly and succinctly express it - and without being interrupted?

Of course, I don't mean any offence by this post. I just thought it would be helpful to share. I hope readers don't take it the wrong way....Oh, no. Go ahead; I was finished speaking..,.

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