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Archive > Time for introspection - equality in your life

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message 1: by Ashwin (last edited Feb 25, 2016 11:11AM) (new)

Ashwin (ashiot) | 215 comments This topic might make some people a little uncomfortable because what I want to ask of my fellow readers is to look within rather than without. It is easy to pass judgement on people or analyse every action / statement of theirs; but when it comes to looking within or even reflecting, we are either too kind to ourselves or even dishonest to ourselves. Therefore I urge each one of you to think clearly and as much as possible objectively about your own behaviour towards the members of different (I will not say opposite because gender identity is not binary) gender.

Apart from past behaviour, I encourage everyone to make a mental note in future of how you behaved in a certain situation with a person and whether you would have behaved identically had the person been of another gender.


message 2: by Ashwin (new)

Ashwin (ashiot) | 215 comments For instance, I personally do discriminate between my female friends and male friends when it comes to gifting. I don't remember the last time I gave a male friend of mine a gift (or received any from them). However, I make it a point to gift my female friends on special occasions, for reasons even I don't understand. Of course I also only get gifts from female friends but I will not fool myself into believing it is a give and take because I gift female friends who don't give me gifts as well.


message 3: by Kristine (new)

Kristine (y2kristine) | 18 comments Great discussion topic Ashwin. I for one like to believe I don't act differently around men and women, but I know inherent bias exists and I am not an exception. For example I recently took AAUW/Harvards implicit bias test and found out I have a strong bias against women leaders. Me, a self-proclaimed feminist who believes gender is a social-construct...

It made me think back to how often when I am under the leadership of women I act more casual and friendly, and I am more serious, respectful, and attentive when I am around male leaders. Ouch. Differences from being more respectful of men manifests in other ways too. For example, if I am alone with powerful men I become much more alert to possibilities of danger/violence too. I assume men will abuse their power more often than women will, which isn't necessarily fair either (or true.)

It's hard to undo this kind of thinking but being aware of it is definitely the first step.


message 4: by Melle (new)

Melle (feministkilljoy13) | 68 comments Good topic! I can say, personally, that the majority of my life is women. I'm bisexual and married to a woman, have a daughter, work at an OB/GYN practice where all but one person is female... but one of my very best friends is male and I surprise myself sometimes (and he frequently calls me out) on my sexist behavior. The main things I notice are that I often assume men don't have feelings or, at least, aren't as emotional. I know I need to work on that, for sure. I think that's a major obstacle men have, for sure.


message 5: by Jaclyn (new)

Jaclyn Laigle (readwritebemerry) | 2 comments This is a great topic. Real change has to start with yourself before you can have an impact on others. I realize that there are several areas of my life in which I show sexist or bias behavior. It's so easy to turn "girl time" into male bashing time. Also, how often do you turn on the tv to a show that basically insults men in their roles as husbands and fathers? I can think of many shows that depict men as lazy and uncaring in their homes. I'm wondering if this has something to do with my hesitation to start a family with my husband. I have already assumed that all the resppnsibilty will fall on me and envision him sitting in front of the television or going out with friends instead of playing an equal part. This assumption has very little to do with the individual merits of my husband and more to do with the image I have in my head of what all men do. If I don't want anyone to assume I will behave a certain way or play a certain role in my life just because I'm a woman and "that's what women do", I shouldn't place that same expectation on men.


message 6: by Dichotomy Girl (new)

Dichotomy Girl (dichotomygirl) | 1 comments Just recently, when filling out valentine's for my 4 year old daughter's pre-k class. The valentines in question were Batgirl, Supergirl, and Wonder Woman. And I was just so happy that we had managed to steer things away from the Disney Princesses. But as I was looking down on these valentines, I noticed in particular the ones that said "Girls Rule!" and "Girl Power!" and I thought how irritated it would make me if she brought home a bunch of cards that said "Boys are Awesome". And my husband, honestly didn't get it, but I pulled all those one's out, and only used the other ones.


message 7: by Ashwin (new)

Ashwin (ashiot) | 215 comments Thanks Kristine for the link.

Thank you everyone for replying with such honesty and candour. It has always been my belief that "If I can't correct myself when I err, what moral right do I have to correct anyone else".

Another thing where I discriminate is when it comes to mathematics and coding. I don't know why this happens because I've had wonderful female teachers teaching math and programming both in school and college, I respect them a lot. But if I were presented an option between a male and a female teacher for those disciplines without having met either, it is highly possible I'll pick male teacher. I'm trying hard to overcome this bias and I hope I do sooner rather than later.


message 8: by Ashwin (new)

Ashwin (ashiot) | 215 comments Kassidi wrote: "Ashwin, have you read the article Women Can Code- as Long as No One Knows They're Women ? I thought it was quite interesting, and apparently you're not alone in that thinking."

Interesting! Having earned a degree in computer science, I know first hand that in ours as well as our senior batch it was the girls who won the gold medal. I don't know why I feel the way I do.


message 9: by Aglaea (new)

Aglaea | 987 comments Great topic, thanks for all input, it's been interesting to read.

I know I have biases against men. I'm still surprised when a man is very in tune with his self, as in he isn't completely oblivious to his inner world nor is he incapable of analysing what is going on, how he reacts in certain situations, and of course also how he advises me in return.

I'm not sure where this is coming from, but it has something to do with the fact that my dad very rarely was emotional in front of the kids, and I haven't had boys as friends when growing up either, but it's been sort of observing from a distance, until my mid-20's. And then most of them were rather bratty still.

Living on my own has meant cracking down on the "women can't change lightbulbs" ridiculousness, and I'd actually love to learn woodworking for example or fixing cars. But women can't fix cars :) And if they do, they're usually weird tomboys. Right? Haha.

Need to give this more thought, as I'm sure there's plenty more where these came from. It helps that we had our first female president years ago, though, so there is no place women can't go anymore, so to speak.


message 10: by Ashwin (new)

Ashwin (ashiot) | 215 comments Thanks Aglaea. I started this thread with this exact purpose in mind, to make everyone, and me, think and as much as possible think out loud.

So that people don't feel inhibited in sharing their thoughts, let's keep this thread as place for sharing thoughts only. I urge people to refrain from making judgemental posts about others (there have not been any till now and let us keep it that way). Mods, can you please help out?


message 11: by Katelyn, Our Shared Shelf Moderator (new)

Katelyn (katelynrh) | 836 comments Mod
Hey Ashwin, absolutely. Always on the lookout to make sure these convos are respectful and productive :)

I think the Valentine's cards is an interesting example. I wonder about how the implications of "Girl Power" and "Boy Power" differ. My immediate thought goes to "Black Lives Matter" and "All Lives Matter." I guess I would just argue that systemic oppression of certain groups creates a problem for the group holding the power to express pride about their demographic... I wouldn't call that a bias against them though, but moreso an acknowledgement that oppressed groups benefit from pride movements in a way that is unnecessary for those who hold positions of power.

I'm going to take the implicit bias test later. Thanks for the link!


message 12: by Laura (new)

Laura Bousquet (enya31) | 25 comments I have to be honest, I am really judgemental when it comes to men. I can really easily say that a man is physically disgusting, whereas I would never say so about a woman. I think it comes from the fact that I always feel in danger when I have men who seem to be attracted to me but that I do not fancy around.
Generally speaking, I do not have male friends. I really would like to, but it seems I am unable of understanding men minds. This thing about females' and males' mind is also a cliché by the way. How could (can?) it be that we do not think the same ? We are humans, we should be able to understand each other and to realise that men do not use only their penis. I say so, but some of my attitudes show that somewhere deep down inside of me, I think the contrary.


message 13: by Aglaea (new)

Aglaea | 987 comments Bou wrote: "I have to be honest, I am really judgemental when it comes to men. I can really easily say that a man is physically disgusting, whereas I would never say so about a woman. I think it comes from the..."

I thought I had male friends. Either they stop talking at some point because the pasture is greener elsewhere, they view me as an asexual being (which I haven't decided is a compliment or insult - because I'm influenced by stereotypes like anyone else), or they were friends until they insinuated stuff regarding a bed, usually after a few glasses. Sigh, why did they have to destroy the friendship? Is it seriously impossible to have men as friends?

The highlight was when a housemate after a party somewhere around 5 am suggested to me that we should head upstairs. Everyone else was asleep in the common room, passed out, and he thought it would be fun to have a quickie. Hrm, thanks for the offer, but supposedly I was friends with both him and his girlfriend... I never said anything, but he has two kids with her now - yet I recall the incident as were it yesterday rather than ten years ago. How could the question roll off his tongue that easily? If I'd see him today, I'll still know, and my view of him is forever tainted no matter how fun etc. he might be. I'll know and she doesn't, has no idea what her guy is actually capable of doing.

I do want to see the best in men, but most have let me down one way or the other, when we became more than acquaintances.


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