Things I’ve Learned This Week – June 2-8, 2013

1 – The term ‘microaggressions’

I picked this one up from the excellent blog This View of Life. Basically it’s a woman’s perspective on being a member of geek culture, and it’s insightful and interesting reading. The term refers to petty acts and commentary designed to make women feel discomforted in a social space. An example she gave was of being told repeatedly ‘oh, dear, you know your skirt is a bit short don’t you?’ and suchlike. Another example was of male geeks aggressively grilling her on Trek trivia in order to verify her geek credentials, rather than simply extending goodwill. What disturbed me was the notion that most of the comments on ‘you look trampy’ came from other women, who should ostensibly be allied with her in her efforts to show off her geeky costumes.

2. Women can be ‘crabby’

I’m not referring to temperament, but rather to the tendency of crabs in a bushel to hold eachother down instead of teaming up to climb out. At work, there is a young woman who got out of a relationship with a hideous young man who cheated on her and lied about it. Instead of expressing solidarity with her decision, the women at work were saying things like “well you should make him do something romantic for you when he tries to get back with you.” It was again, disturbing to hear.

3. My personal thoughts are hypocritical

I am trying to be more gender-inclusive and expansive in my thinking. Most of the employees at my place of work are women. I get along with most, and there is very little friction. There is one, however, who is abrasive and rude, and I don’t get along with her. That said, it sickens me that my immediate thoughts when she does this are typically structured as gendered slurs. “Bitch” is the least of these. I always reprimand myself and try to modify my thoughts, but it makes me nauseous that I have such ingrained habits of making gendered slurs.


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