No explanation needed

Just read this amazing article that talks about socialized male speech dominance, which relates to who interrupts whom and how women are often just blatantly ignored.
A woman, speaking clearly and out loud, can say something that no one appears to hear, only to have a man repeat it minutes, maybe seconds later, to accolades and group discussion.
Yup.  I've experienced this exact dynamic, though thankfully not with great frequency.  An example along these lines, from the article:
Solnit's tipping point experience really did take the cake. She was talking to a man at a cocktail party when he asked her what she did. She replied that she wrote books and she described her most recent one, River of Shadows: Eadweard Muybridge and the Technological Wild West. The man interrupted her soon after she said the word Muybridge and asked, "And have you heard about the very important Muybridge book that came out this year?" He then waxed on, based on his reading of a review of the book, not even the book itself, until finally, a friend said, "That's her book." He ignored that friend (also a woman) and she had to say it more than three times before "he went ashen" and walked away. If you are not a woman, ask any woman you know what this is like, because it is not fun and happens to all of us.
Another recent related example: about two or three weeks ago, I was sitting on the couches in my church building working on my laptop since NWC had to be there early for a meeting.  The wifi was down, so I opened a new tab in my browser and it gave me the typical can't-find-the-network page.  A male missionary caught a glance of my screen and waltzed over, asking if I was having computer problems.  I told him that the wifi was just having issues and that I was fine.  He proceed to tell me that he didn't have that much experience with Macs (ignoring my statement that I didn't need help), so I said I'm a computer scientist; I think I can handle it.  After all that, he still acts like he hasn't heard a word I said and says something along the lines of sorry I couldn't help you.  How about sorry I assumed you needed help with a computer because you're a woman instead?  Because I'm pretty sure he never would have done the same thing to a man my age.

The author suggests that girls learn to say the following phrases more regularly: "Stop interrupting me," "I just said that," and "No explanation needed."  Yet none of these apply to my recent experience, so maybe we should add: "Thank you, but I don't need your help."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Very interesting, but have you seen this related article?

I'm joshing, of course. I'm glad this kind of thing doesn't happen in my social circles, at least not that I can remember.