Tag Archives: society

“Think before you speak. Read before you think.” -Fran Lebowitz

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Women’s tongues are like lambs’ tails – they are never still. –English

The North Sea will sooner be found wanting in water than a woman at a loss for words. –Jutlandic

The woman with active hands and feet, marry her, but the woman with overactive mouth, leave well alone. –Maori

When both husband and wife wear pants it is not difficult to tell them apart – he is the one who is listening. –American

Nothing is so unnatural as a talkative man or a quiet woman. –Scottish

Where there are women and geese, there’s noise. –Japanese.

The tongue is the sword of a woman and she never lets it become rusty. -Chinese

Women clearly talk more than men, right? The stereotype is so strong across so many cultures and places so clearly this is one stereotype based in fact. Right?

Right?

Well, let us look at the evidence.

Researchers reviewed sixty-three studies that looked at how much American men and women talked when put together in various situations. Out of sixty-three studies, women spoke more than men in exactly two.

In New Zealand, a researcher compared the talking time of experts and interviewers on television. In situations where the time was meant to be split into thirds, men took over half of the time. Every time.

Another researcher analyzed the talking time of men and women in 100 open forums. Women dominated those discussions…7% of the time. When the participants were equally divided along gender lines, men still managed to take two-thirds of the speaking time.

I had a meeting with a [female] sales manager and three of my [male] directors once…it took about two hours. She only spoke once and one of my fellow directors cut across her and said ‘What Anne is trying to say, Roger, is…’ and I think that about sums it up. He knew better than Anne what she was trying to say, and she never got anything said.

Let’s look at some other professional situations, shall we?

Years ago, while producing the hit TV series “The Shield,” Glen Mazzara noticed that two young female writers were quiet during story meetings. He pulled them aside and encouraged them to speak up more.

Watch what happens when we do, they replied.

Almost every time they started to speak, they were interrupted or shot down before finishing their pitch. When one had a good idea, a male writer would jump in and run with it before she could complete her thought.

A Yale psychologist tracked the speaking time of new senators and those with more tenure and leadership. She found that tenured male senators spoke much more than their junior colleagues, but female senators’ speaking time did not significantly increase with time or power.

After discovering this gender inconsistency, the psychologist asked professionals to judge the competence of executives based on how often they shared their opinion. Male executives who spoke up received 10% higher competency ratings. Meanwhile, female executives who shared their opinions openly received 14% lower competency ratings from both men and women.

Another analysis showed that women who make their companies significant revenue and contribute good ideas do not receive better performance reviews and are not seen in a better light by their bosses. Men, however, are.

A researcher at UT had various males and females suggest a proven idea for streamlining their team’s inventory. He found that the women who suggested the new idea were viewed as less loyal by their leaders and those leaders were less likely to take the suggestion. Even when the leaders were told that one member of their team was given unique, helpful information, the women were ignored.

Women do not talk more. They know that talking more will do them harm, both professionally and socially. All those pictures up top saying that women outpace men by thousands of words per day? False. The erroneous numbers seem to have started with someone trying to sell a book. The real numbers?

But in the end, the sexes came out just about even in the daily averages: women at 16,215 words and men at 15,669. In terms of statistical significance, Pennebaker says, “It’s not even remotely close to different.”

So, our daily averages are about the same, but in mixed and professional situations, men dominate time and again. There is abundant research that this starts early–we’re talking elementary school early. From the classroom to the boardroom, women are not heard in public. Being listened to in public is a confirmation of importance and social status. So what does this say about where society places women? What does it say about how women view themselves?

To be fair, many of those pictures up top seemed to be referencing couples, not executives. So:

Another study compared the relative amount of talk of spouses. Men dominated the conversations between couples with traditional gender roles and expectations, but when the women were associated with a feminist organization they tended to talk more than their husbands. So feminist women were more likely to challenge traditional gender roles in interaction.

It seems possible that both these factors – expert status and feminist philosophy – have the effect of developing women’s social confidence. This explanation also fits with the fact that women tend to talk more with close friends and family, when women are in the majority, and also when they are explicitly invited to talk (in an interview, for example).

So, women are starting to realize that they are worthy of a voice, both in their relationships and in public. We still only expect people to listen to us if they are close to us or if we are an expert on the topic, but it’s progress. But that is how we see ourselves, how do the men see the women?

When a teacher worked at giving equal talking time to both boys and girls, he felt he was giving the girls 90% of his attention and his male pupils agreed. They complained angrily about it, in fact. Got that? An attempt at equality is seen as overwhelming favor and bitterly resented.

The same thing happens at seminars and debates, too. At a workshop where 32 women and 5 men were in attendance, analysis showed that the 5 men spoke over 50% of the time. They said what they wanted to say and set the tone for what was to be said and how. The researcher noted that there was no hostility, but the pressure the men exerted on the conversation was accepted without comment or question.

When women are given equal time to talk, it is believed that women were given more than their fair share. After all, what is fair in a patriarchal society? Dale Spencer says this:

The talkativeness of women has been gauged in comparison not with men but with silence. Women have not been judged on the grounds of whether they talk more than men, but of whether they talk more than silent women.

How do we fix this extreme disparity? I’ll talk about that in my next post.

Society: Decoded

I have been watching a YouTube show called Decoded for several months now. I really appreciate the information and how it is presented. Franchesca Ramsay released a new video today which I want to share here. I am also going to share links to some of my favorite videos from her.

Why Aren’t All Protestors Treated Like the Oregon Militia? | Video
8 Comebacks for Transphobic Relatives Over the Holidays | Video
Everything You Know About Thanksgiving is WRONG | Video
7 Myths about Cultural Appropriation DEBUNKED! | Video
White People Whitesplain Whitesplaining | Video
Do #BlackLivesMatter or #AllLivesMatter? | Video
Should ALL Native American Mascots be BANNED? | Video

 

“And if your heart’s full of sorrow: keep walking–don’t rest.”

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I remain unconvinced that I will ever know myself fully. There always seems to be another Identity Uncertainty looming near or within me. Not a crisis, mind you. It’s just that this thing that is me is ever-changing and I’m only clued in on the conscious actions, which seems to be a great minority of who I am.

So much about me was determined the moment sperm met egg. Even more was determined before my brain had the capacity to form lasting memories. I have been entrenched in a civilization that I have all but no control over since before I took my first breath.

pathway-to-the-light-of-heaven-lee-yangMy biases were formed while I was learning to form sentences. They hardened as I created opinions. Crack them as I might, shall they ever be destroyed? Do I have that power? Or can I only let in as much light as possible and try to enclose my children as little as possible?

I’ve been called an overthinker many, many times. I tend to think this isn’t a bad thing though it has its disadvantages, one of which is constantly questioning my own motivations.

As a feminist, I wonder how much my personal preferences are influenced by patriarchy. I am an amalgamation of sexual desire and detestation. I rarely wear makeup or heels, but I shave and am counting calories to lose weight. Sure, the ebb and flow of desire is natural and losing excess weight tends to be better for your health, but how much of that is true for me personally? My perception of my body and its processes are filtered through a billion ideas about what a person should be, what a woman should be, what a woman with my racial/biological/educational/ideological background should look like, what she should think and do and feel. How much is me and how much is what I think I should be?

I heard a quote recently. It was one of those moments where someone perfectly expresses a concept you’ve had on the tip of your tongue for years. I could almost feel my brain cells shifting into a new pattern. The quote was brought up during a radio discussion about why we feel like we’re different people depending on who we’re with.

“I am not who you think I am; I am not who I think I am; I am who I think you think I am.”
-Thomas Cooley

Indeed.

Whitman was right. We contradict ourselves. We contain multitudes. So be it.

I am coming out of another long period of Identity Uncertainty. The time spent within always feels dark and depressing, but I come out better for it on the other side. Sorrow is inevitable, we must savor it as much as joy. Such is life.

My perspective has shifted again. As it should, as it must, as I am thankful for. May I never stagnate.

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“So, I guess we are who we are for alot of reasons. And maybe we’ll never know most of them. But even if we don’t have the power to choose where we come from, we can still choose where we go from there. We can still do things. And we can try to feel okay about them.”
-Stephen Chbosky

If you are wondering where the title quote came from, check out the student-made advertisement below. If ads were like this, I would watch more television.

“I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent.” -Gandhi

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I’m sitting in my room with my headphones on. The low murmur of CNN is still detectable. There was another shooting today. My husband needs to know. I already want to forget.

I watched with him during some of the calmer moments–SWAT teams walking around a residential neighborhood, that sort of thing. The anchor and her guests were stating the obvious things about American police tactics that they always talk about during times of action, but no information. Then they talked of Paris and radicals, terrorism and bombs. They prefaced everything with acknowledgements of their ignorance, but that did not stop their mouths.

As they spoke, the never-ending scroll of information caught my eye: United States decides to start bombing after some debate; Britain to start bombing soon; Germany gearing up to start bombing; France asking for more bombs…

I am not a pacifist though I imagine I could become one before my life ends. Why do we keep doing the same thing and expecting different results?

I think of America’s Civil War and World War II and decide those were wars that needed to be fought, but I say that with the distinct advantage of hindsight. Would I have thought the same thing if I had been around at the time? Would I call them justified if they had ended differently?

How can you have a war on terrorism when war itself is terrorism?
-Howard Zinn

We do this thing where we spend millions and billions on war, then we leave. Maybe the fighting is done, maybe it isn’t, but we leave. We leave these people that we have terrorized with ruined homes and ruined lives and expect them to fix what we have broken. We may send a tiny fraction of the money we spent destroying them to rebuild, but never enough. We leave the ones we claim to have “saved” in squalor, usually worse than where they began, and are surprised when they grow to hate us.

We contribute to the cycle of violence with every act of violence we commit, regardless of our intentions. So, how do we stop? Can we stop? Evolution is a game of getting to the top and it was a bloody rise for humans. Societal evolution has been just as bloody, but even worse, for we have been violent whilst having a conscious.

My children’s first acts of violence came long before they could speak. I regularly played games in which I and my friends imagined ourselves in situations of heinous hardship. Our entertainment is not just laced with violence–violence is often the point. Our games are purposely ‘us versus them’. Do these casual examples of violence serve as outlets or provocations of our worst traits?

Fear is such a basic instinct. It is easy to lash out in pain, easier than to spread happiness. The dichotomy of good versus evil is uncomplicated compared to the complex reasons why people deliberately cause harm. Are we doomed to rinse and repeat the bloodshed until we are no more?

Imperialism is not our answer, but neither is willful ignorance and inaction. This is not a day on which I feel optimistic about the human race.

“We were put there because we have cultivated legitimacy.” -Hank Green

Almost one year ago, I published a post about ageism as it relates to politics. A week and a half ago, I was reminded how this issue is evolving and how far we still have to go. On January 22nd, President Obama gave his State of the Union address for the year. Most media and social outlets thought it was a good speech, agree with the content or not. Personally, I was super pleased to hear him mention transgender individuals. If you didn’t catch the address, here are some highlights. You can also catch it in its entirety on YouTube. If you go that route, odds are pretty good that this video will show up in the sidebar:

If you’ve hung around here for a while, you may recognize Hank as one half of the Vlogbrothers whose videos I sometimes include in posts. He and two other YouTubers (GloZell Green and Bethany Mota) were given the opportunity to spend about 12 minutes each interviewing President Obama right after the SotU. Though this isn’t the first time that the President has been interviewed by YouTubers, it is the first time he has done so in person. And the media was not happy.

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Yep. They weren’t happy at all.
Hank took the opportunity to say exactly why he thought that was in an article he published on Medium, along with a follow-up about the difference between media and journalism. He and GloZell also discussed the issue with PBS News Hour over Twitter. I would suggest reading all of it, but here are a few gems:

“Legacy media accuses young people of being apathetic while actively attempting to remove them from the discussion.”

“Legacy media isn’t mocking us because we aren’t a legitimate source of information; they’re mocking us because they’re terrified.”

“YouTube already is Mainstream Media…which is why I’ve stopped using the phrase Mainstream Media.”

“The news is losing an entire generation.”

“I think sub-consciously they understand the really terrifying thing here. Glozell and Bethany and I weren’t put in a chair next to President Obama because we have cultivated an audience. We were put there because we have cultivated legitimacy.”

This is the same thing I was talking about last year. So many media outlets were doing all they could to undermine and belittle them. Those that did did so by tapping into ageism, cultivating technophobia, and heaping on a side portion of racism and sexism. It’s not acceptable, it’s not okay, and it was absolutely expected. I knew it would happen from the moment I heard YouTube’s announcement. I’m not surprised and that’s the problem.

This criticism was coming from the same outlets that were reporting around the clock on Deflategate. It’s not that I have a problem with sports stories being on the news. Billions of people care about what is happening in the sports world. Give it a segment, put it on the screen scroll, report it endlessly on one of the over 40 stations exclusively dedicated to sports. But don’t report it hour after hour on 24-hour news stations and expect me to take you seriously when you denounce content creators asking about immigration, war, legislation, Cuba, bullying, and other issues that affect more than just who wins a game.

I look forward to when those in their 20s and 30s now take over the traditional media platforms. I hope they won’t make the same mistakes. In the meantime, I will get my news from sources I trust and enjoy the snark of Generations X and Y.

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