Tag Archives: women

“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.

We’re all (nearly) equal now …

It’s International Women’s Day. I didn’t have the time to write a post about my convoluted feelings on the matter. Thankfully, I can point you to this post instead. It says everything I wanted to say, better than I would have said it.

We’re all (nearly) equal now …

 

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“To lose confidence in one’s body is to lose confidence in oneself.” -Simone de Beauvoir

This is about to get adult. Back away if you are uncomfortable. However, if you are female or are sexually attracted to anyone that has typically female anatomy, I hope you’ll stick around and listen up.

Women’s bodies have been poked, prodded, judged, and misunderstood since the beginning of civilization. This is not news. Anyone that is paying the least bit of attention knows the damaging effects of societal pressure for females to look, act, and respond a certain way. Because of heightened awareness the last few decades, we have made great strides, but oh the distance we still have to go.

One thing that makes clear the journey ahead of us is the subject of ‘squirting’. Every once in a while a new ‘study’ will emerge that says that women aren’t actually capable of such a thing, that any copious amount of liquid coming from sexually excited women is just urine. Hear that ladies? You can’t even tell whether you’re peeing or not.

To which I state, Fuck No.

Another of these irresponsible, misleading studies came out recently. The backlash has been swift and wonderful. Women have taken to Twitter to post images of bed sheets damp with what they know is #NotPee. Two of my favorite YouTubers also decided it was time to address the issue, Lindsey Doe and Laci Green. Their informative videos are below.

What it comes down to is this – too often our doctors and our scientists have been content with not knowing and whining about the complexity of female anatomy. Pile on to that the shame society places on bodies, especially female bodies and specifically the sexually functioning parts of a female body, and you have generations of women who truly don’t know what is going on down there.

A tragic example of this played out in the Netflix show Orange is the New Black. This is part of the episode entitled The Hole:

The tragic part isn’t that this happened on a fictitious show, it’s what happened after it aired. Social media was ablaze with women having the same conversations, amazed at what they didn’t know about their own bodies, what they had never dared ask.

Ladies, grab a mirror. Experts, start listening. If we seek to understand what surrounds us, we must understand what’s within us.

“Men are from Earth, women are from Earth. Deal with it.” -George Carlin

UN Women’s new ad campaign came to my attention several days ago. It made me sick to my stomach, disappointed, sad, and angry. Let’s see how it makes you feel.

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So, how do you feel?

The autofill content is based on real searches. I pulled up almost the exact same results myself. Google’s autocomplete technology works in several different ways. It takes into account the region and language, the user’s previous searches, popularity, and recent events. Interestingly, Google does try to block hate speech which makes me wonder just how prevalent such searches are. Exactly how many people question women’s abilities, their trustworthiness, their place?

I cannot help but notice the ones referencing church. Almost half of the results I pulled up on my own had to do with religion. Is it really any wonder? Centuries of religious and societal standards have told us that women are less than men. Women are starting to show up in leadership positions, but they still feel the sting of patriarchy.

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woMAN

huMAN

It may seem like a simple language quirk, but it goes so much deeper than that. Women are defined by their relationships to men. An AP style guide states that a widowed woman should be referred to as a widow, while a widowed man should simply be called ‘her husband’. Couples are announced as Mr. and Mrs. [husband’s name]. It is still common to hear an officiant call a newly wedded couple ‘man and wife’. When a woman is a victim of violent crime, advocates ask for her to be viewed as one’s own sister, wife, or daughter; it isn’t enough that she is a person.

Women are more than mothers, daughters, wives, and sisters. They are individual beings worthy of empathy and respect and should be seen as such. People are all too willing to declare that there is no need to fight for gender equality anymore, that women got what they came for. Not even close. Until we stop wondering whether women should drive or vote, we are no where near equality.

A friend suggested that I turn the search on its head. What do people think about men?

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As always, patriarchy harms men too. It is more subtle, but the damage is clear. What men wear is limited by social convention. Their integrity as partners is constantly questioned. Where women are seen as sexual objects, men are told they cannot function without sex. These are harmful stereotypes which need to be amended. Still, none of the results for men suggested that they were undeserving of basic rights or that they shouldn’t be in charge of their own lives.

The ad made me uncomfortable because it reminded me of how far we still have to go. The last few decades have seen significant strides. Seeing girls like Malala Yousafzai proves to me that we can traverse the remaining ground. But only if we admit to ourselves that there are still miles to go. We cannot seek rest stops because the journey has gotten more comfortable. Every sexist comment and search should serve as a road sign, reminding us how far we still have to travel. Our destination is distant, but we won’t be at home until we reach it.

Feel the anger, agitation, grief, and pain. Then do something about it.

“You do not have to be pretty if you don’t want to. It is not your job.” -Julia Hubbell

This poem and the post that followed brought tears to my eyes. It has shifted my perspective.

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Feminists-at-Large

by Julia Hubbell 

when your little girl
asks you if she’s pretty
your heart will drop like a wineglass
on the hardwood floor
part of you will want to say
of course you are, don’t ever question it
and the other part
the part that is clawing at

you

will want to grab her by her shoulders

look straight into the wells of
her eyes until they echo back to you
and say
you do not have to be if you don’t want to
it is not your job
both with feel right
one will feel better
she will only understand the first
when she wants to cut her hair off
or wear her brother’s clothes
you will feel the words in your
mouth like marbles
you do not have to be pretty if you don’t want to
it is not your job

“it’s not your job”

Caitlyn Siehl

This…

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