On trying to be heard

Posted: June 9, 2011 by Jender in being afraid to speak, ignoring women, implicit bias

I’m a graduate student in philosophy. At one of the first seminars I went to, I was the only girl. I raise an objection. I’m told that I have misunderstood the point. I hadn’t – the professor in charge of the seminar pointed this out twenty minutes later once all the boys had finally got round to saying what I said initially. I try to speak again later. My point is completely ignored. Two minutes later, a male makes exactly the same point. The objection in his mouth is hailed as decisive. I worry that my being dismissed and ignored is not because of my gender but because I am foolish; I worry that I don’t love philosophy because almost every seminar I go to leaves me second guessing my own abilities. I’m jealous of the ease with which men speak, not having to worry that a single silly remark will mean they are never taken seriously again.

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