So I guess this week’s theme is going to be gender bias, because this week back in school has just been stuffed full of them. Today I’d like to talk about how we deal with gender bias, because it can be hard to know the proper course of action—if there even is one. To preface this, the reason I’m still talking about this today is that, not 30 minutes ago, I was a witness to a horrible silencing of the female voice.
If you read my last talk about gender bias, you’ll notice I mentioned someone in class interrupting a woman while she was speaking. Well, that same guy today had to present with another woman. And I understand that presenting can be hard and intimidating for different people, but it was a quick presentation which was literally reading off of a paper, so both of them had equal ground to read a bit for the class. Instead of letting her read some, he stood there and read the whole thing. Even during the introduction, where each person is supposed to say their name, he cut her off before she could speak and introduced her. “Hi my name is [whatever the fuck] and this is [my partner’s name].” And it wasn’t fluid. Like there was a quarter second pause, so she inhaled to say her name, opened her mouth, and then suddenly his words were in the air. Which was grossly unfair to her.
Of course, it doesn’t seem fair to me to force the teacher to step up here. I mean, sure, it’s her realm of responsibility, but how do you point out one student’s mistreatment without making an entire class of student hate him? Personally, think it may have been right for me to say something. Something non threatening like “hey, what was your name again?” to the girl, so that she can speak for herself. And we should extend this kind of treatment to all people. I mean imagine if you seem someone in public who keeps getting cut off, or during a meeting at work. Isn’t the right thing to do to say “hey, what was it you were going to say?” And rather than blindside whoever was mistreating that person, bring the person who was being mistreated back into the world as a human being.
That being said, nobody did step up, and nobody did speak out and say “hey, what was your name?” Which is too bad. Step on is always to step up and speak though. If you don’t then who will? I would rather have a voice full of people who believe in me and are willing to speak out for me than a room full of people who are too afraid to say anything lest they be labeled something.
Anyways, that’s all the time I have to write today, but it seems simple to me. What do you think? Is it more complex than this? What if the context is different? Is it ok to let this kind of thing slide when your job is on the line? Let me know!