Today I realized that sexism is still a thing.
That sounds dramatic, but i’m sitting here surrounded by the male friends that I’ve invested so much time into and care about so deeply, listening to them converse around me.
I have things to say, but when I speak, it’s glazed over. Or reiterated by one of them and only then gets notice.
I loved the direct way men communicate. One of my main goals for college was to open myself up to male friends so I could learn to communicate in that way I admire. And to some extent it’s worked - to my female friends, i’m the one that extinguishes the secrets, the bullshit, and the lies. It’s incredibly socially useful. But why is it then that when I communicate in the direct, stereotypically male fashion, I still don’t get acknowledged by males in conversation?
Furthermore, the degree to which I’m ignored socially among men increases as the intellectual weight of the conversation increases. Not as a rule, just as a trend, but still.
Do I have to be exceedingly knowledgeable to be respected in conversation? Is this a micro-scale representation of what happens to women in the workplace? I don’t want to say that my male friends are bad guys, just that they might be unconsciously acting out what is disgustingly still a problem in this society.
Hemispatial neglect: A neurological condition characterised by reduced sensory awareness of one side of space, usually caused by a lesion to the right hemisphere of the brain. Patients with neglect do not take in information from the left side of their vision, and may be unaware of objects or even people within their personal space. Many patients are not conscious of their deficit, and deny that they have any problems with perception.
Studies have shown that suffers do have some awareness of their neglected field, as they exhibit reflex responses such as catching a ball thrown to them from their left side. However, they may not be consciously aware that they have done so. It is even possible to present suggestions in the neglected field in order to influence the thoughts or behaviour of the patient without them being aware of it.
I got frustrated today when I didn’t know enough about philosophy, when my friends critiqued the Tao Te Ching, and when the self-comforting idea that I was well rounded fell out the window.
I can feel my friends paying less attention to me during conversations. I don’t i’m ever directly addressed. I have no confidence left to defend my intelligence with.
Listening to The Low Anthem helped a little bit. The only area in which my friends still respect my knowledge is probably music - in content, history, and cultural relevance. I’ll keep fighting to learn more about what I should already know before that’s shattered as well.