Tuesday’s blackboard session with Audrey Watters took me back to my undergrad classes in Psychology. It seems like only a short time ago and yet it was more than 13 years ago. I became consciously aware of the many injustices in the world, that on a day to day basis, are rarely thought about.
Considering that I am in my 12th year of teaching, I have become so wrapped up in day to day teaching and day to day activities that these issues are rarely brought to my awareness. I appreciate this class for bringing about so much more awareness.
I respect and appreciate Audrey Watters for her work and the passion she shares with the public via the world wide web. She takes a risk and sets a great example for other woman to do the same. Considering Audrey Watters is well educated and has written 6 books and yet she still has to deal with death and rape threats and is harassed on a regular basis is hard to comprehend. If Audrey Watters can put herself out there then I can certainly try to do the same.
When I saw the video about celebrities reading mean posts on twitter, shared by Jeremy Black I feel a sense of compassion for them. I have read a few Instagram comments but many of them are so disrespectful and awful that I avoid them. Just like most celebrities try to do (I imagine) but it would be hard. A lot of the celebrities in the video laughed them off but I am pretty sure a lot of those tweets would ‘sting’ a bit!
The article Ryan Hicks posted about Barbie was another eye opener. It started off positive and then in no time, it became stereotypical of women having to ask for help. I found a recent article showing a new Barbie doll with acne, scars, average figure, tattoos, cellulite, etc. which I found interesting and I thought would be a great example to have a discussion about with a classroom of kids. It would be interesting to hear what their interpretation would be. Here are the observations of a grade 2 class comparing 2 barbie dolls.
After taking a number of Psychology and Sociology classes for my undergrad BA degree, I have always understood gender differences to stem from birth and even before the baby is born. I will always remember the story of baby X. Basically, it is about a child who was raised as both a boy and a girl to prevent gender biases and stereotypes. Here is an example from the article. It is a very interesting read;
“Ms. and Mr. Jones had to be Xtra careful. If they kept bouncing it up in the air and saying how strong and active it was, they’d be treating it more like a boy than an X. But if all they did was cuddle it and kiss it and tell it how sweet and dainty it was, they’d be treating it more like a girl than an X (Gould, 1978).”
This article really struck a chord with me back in 2000 because I still think of it today. Gender roles are part of our culture, society and everyday conversation. I like how the article really points out so many examples of how everyday conversations, questions, and controversies are focused on these roles.
The question still is, how do we go about making a positive change? It makes complete sense that if these gender roles are still very set in our society as a whole (at such a young age), it is not hard to imagine that so many people are being verbally abused in the form of threats, verbal harassment, snide remarks, etc., all over the internet to this day. Mansplaining (to get us to cower, to hesitate, to doubt ourselves and our stories and our needs, to step back, to shut up) is a problem for women in the technology industry and it really isn’t surprising that the percentage of females working for Google, Apple, Facebook, and Twitter is 70% male.
As Audrey Watters wrote, we can’t keep quiet or allow this abuse to go on. I hope to support a positive change in the male domination in the technology industry by doing just that. To speak up more, share videos and/or articles through twitter and other social media. Up to this point, I do speak out (verbally) and share my opinions on these matters. I find that so many people remain silent and I don’t mind being the person to speak out. I have co-workers that ask me (or hint) that I should ask a controversial question or question what we may be told to do. Often times, I will speak up.
On the other hand, I will back down or question myself when someone becomes heated and/or belligerent during a discussion. It is not because I feel that I am wrong, but I feel flustered and cannot find the words to get my point across. Next time this happens to me, I am going to think about the term mansplaining and I hope at the end of the conversation I feel a sense of pride rather than thinking about what I should have said.
I could probably go on and on. This is the type of topic that would bring about a great discussion.
What other ways can we speak out to bring change to the male domination in the technology industry?