After reading about gender-bias and conversation dominance in the classroom, I asked for a peer to observe a physics class I was teaching and keep track of the discussion time I was giving to various students along with their race and gender. In this exercise, I knew I was being observed and I was trying to be extra careful to equally represent all students―but I STILL gave a disproportionate amount of discussion time to the white male students in my classroom (controlling for the overall distribution of genders and races in the class). I was shocked. It felt like I was giving a disproportionate amount of time to my white female and non-white students.
Even when I was explicitly trying, I still failed to have the discussion participants fairly represent the population of the students in my classroom.
This is a well-studied phenomena and it’s called listener bias. We are socialized to think women talk more than they actually do. Listener bias results in most people thinking that women are ‘hogging the floor’ even when men are dominating.
Stop interrupting me: gender, conversation dominance and listener bias, by Jessica Kirkpatrick from Women In Astronomy
Implicit bias is a thing, just like privilege. Calling it out isn’t meant to shame anyone, but to alert us to step it up and improve ourselves so everyone can have a voice. Be conscious of what you and others are saying, and know when not to speak.
This is a culture war. The right side is winning, at great cost. At great personal costs to people like Anita Sarkeesian, Leigh Alexander, Zoe Quinn and even Jennifer Lawrence, and countless others who are on the frontlines of creating new worlds for women, for girls, for everyone who believes that stories matter and there are too many still untold. We are winning. We are winning because we are more resourceful, more compassionate, more culturally aware. We’re winning because we know what it’s like to fight through adversity, through shame and pain and constant reminders of our own worthlessness, and come up punching. We know we’re winning because the terrified rage of a million mouthbreathing manchild misogynists is thick as nerve gas in the air right now.
Us Social Justice Warriors – this is me, stealing that word in order to use it against my enemies- are winning the culture war by tearing up the rulebook, and there’s nothing the sad, mad little boys who hate women and queers and people of colour can do about it. Nothing, at least, that doesn’t sabotage their strategy, because they can win their game from day to day, but they’re losing the war. They can punish me for writing this, and I’m sure they will, but that will only prove my point. I’m not afraid anymore.
Every time they make an example of one of us, ten more stand up in outrage to hold her up or take her place.
We are stronger, smarter and more numerous than anyone imagined, and we are not to be fucked with.