my tiny worrisome asian mother strikes again (part 1)
Teachers are often unaware of the gender distribution of talk in their classrooms. They usually consider that they give equal amounts of attention to girls and boys, and it is only when they make a tape recording that they realize that boys are dominating the interactions. Dale Spender, an Australian feminist who has been a strong advocate of female rights in this area, noted that teachers who tried to restore the balance by deliberately ‘favouring’ the girls were astounded to find that despite their efforts they continued to devote more time to the boys in their classrooms. Another study reported that a male science teacher who managed to create an atmosphere in which girls and boys contributed more equally to discussion felt that he was devoting 90 per cent of his attention to the girls. And so did his male pupils. They complained vociferously that the girls were getting too much talking time.
In other public contexts, too, such as seminars and debates, when women and men are deliberately given an equal amount of the highly valued talking time, there is often a perception that they are getting more than their fair share. Dale Spender explains this as follows:
“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.”
In other words, if women talk at all, this may be perceived as ‘too much’ by men who expect them to provide a silent, decorative background in many social contexts."
OH MY GOD THE TRUTH OF THIS.
I went to a conference over the summer. I was asked to prepare a 20-minute presentation. I gave a 20-minute presentation *to the exact minute.* Then I took questions and comments. The very first comment? A man who raised his hand and said, LITERALLY, “I’m older than you so I feel I’m in a position to give you some advice and my advice would be that you should approach these situations as learning opportunities and not talk as much.”
…Like, wow. *Wow.* Literally his first comment to me was, “Woman, you talked too long in the PRESENTATION THAT YOU WERE IN CHARGE OF GIVING. Sit down and let the menfolk have a chance, who let you and your breasts into this room of srs learning anyway?”
(Also, P.S., now I worry I’m not paying enough attention to the females in my classroom. I’ll have to think about this.)
Ten-year-old Macy Friday, front left, reacts as she looks back at her family after meeting Hillary Clinton, front right, as she campaigns for U.S. Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., back, during a stop in the newly-renovated Union Station in Denver, Oct. 13, 2014. Clinton appeared at an event to raise money for Udall’s current re-election campaign and then headed to Las Vegas for another appearance on Monday night. (Photo: David Zalubowski/AP) See: This Week in Pictures.