She keeps battering me with data! Make her stop!


Soraya Chemaly explains how public spaces are biased to favor us men.

“Be knowers, not pleasers.” That sounds like a good rule to follow.

Comments

  1. stevenjohnson2 says

    The 20% of artificial hearts that don’t fit male chests are some sort of outside pack?

  2. ibbica says

    The 20% of artificial hearts that don’t fit male chests are some sort of outside pack?

    Saying that the artificial hearts made don’t fit 20% of male chests isn’t at all the same as saying 20% of artificial hearts don’t fit male chests… It’s male chest sizes that vary, not the size of the artificial heart.

    But hey, there are now artificial hearts in trials that are smaller to fit smaller chest cavities, e.g.:
    http://www.syncardia.com/2015-multimedia-releases/fda-approves-investigational-study-for-smaller-syncardia-total-artificial-heart/itemid-1750.html (in trials as of this summer)
    http://www.ele.uri.edu/Courses/bme181/S13/1_MariaG_2.pdf (not sure where this one ended up… I couldn’t find any useful updates)

  3. Die Anyway says

    I tapped on the video to start it and saw that it was going to be 21 minutes. My first thought was “no way I’m going to spend 21 minutes on a video” but it was starting to play so I began listening… and 21 minutes later here I am commenting on it.
    My wife and I have 2 daughters. I hope we brought them up without the male bias outlined in the talk but as pointed out in the video there are cultural norms which can’t be avoided. It’s on TV, in the movies, in school, in the very language we speak. I can still remember studying the Declaration of Independence in 7th grade and questioning the part about all “men” being created equal. What about women… my mother, my sister? The teacher did her best by explaining that at the time it was written it did mean only men, and white men at that, but that now we took it to mean “all mankind”. That worked for me as a 12 -13 year old in 1960. Nuances of gender disparity in words like “mankind” were beyond me at that point. As the ’60s progressed and feminism and women’s rights came onto the public forum I could see the logic of it and embraced it. But I grew up in a time when male privilege dominated even more than it does today so I’m fairly sure that I haven’t overcome it completely. Certainly I’ve benefited from it and my daughters have suffered from it even if not at home.

  4. redwood says

    Privilege is like radiation: it’s mostly invisible unless you specifically look for it and it’s poisonous.

  5. Azkyroth, B*Cos[F(u)]==Y says

    She keeps battering me with data! Make her stop!

    I suggest light braising, with a zesty yet subtle marinade…

  6. rietpluim says

    An excellent talk. It may be a side note but quite an important one I think, what Chemaly says around 16m, about men who may be wonderful persons individually, but that culture is flawed. I suspect that many men respond negatively to feminism because they feel falsely accused, that their individual wonderfulness is being denied. Of course that’s not the point, but people usually respond to what they hear, not to what is being said.

  7. stevenjohnson2 says

    [b]ibbica[/b]@2 “Saying that the artificial hearts made don’t fit 20% of male chests isn’t at all the same as saying 20% of artificial hearts don’t fit male chests… It’s male chest sizes that vary, not the size of the artificial heart.” But if she’s saying that 20% of males have chests too small for artificial hearts, except that implies the problem is making small artificial hearts, whereas the point of the OP is that women are neglected.

  8. happyrabo says

    stevenjohnson2 @7:

    The point is that 20% of men are ill-served by artificial hearts that are too big, while 80% of women are ill-served by artificial hearts that are too big. So yes the problem is the size of artificial hearts, but it disproportionately affects women.

    Also, it’s been 33 years since the first artificial heart transplant. It’s pretty plausible that the size of artificial hearts might have gotten more attention and research money during that time if it affected 80% of men instead of only the smallest 20% of men.

  9. Ms. Ann Thrope says

    If you go to Google images and type in “venerable women”, the majority of the images show women looking upset, depressed, in a helping role, or in the act of caring.

  10. says

    It’s not even true that bathroom space is divided equally leading to unequal results because people have different needs.
    Quite often, while the space may be the same, the men’s room is fitted with urinals and three stalls, for example. The women’s bathroom is fitted with an extra large stall for disabled people and a nappy changing table and one normal stall. It’s not only that women on average need more time on toilets, it’s also that “their” space accomodates all people who need to change nappies, all disabled people, all women and usually all children because even if you’re the totally kick ass daddy who does everything, you don’t want to lead your 4 year old past a parade of dicks. While having actually less spaces to pee, even if you only count the stalls. And then we get laughed at for needing so much time

  11. BeyondUnderstanding says

    Giliell @ 10
    Men’s restrooms always have at least one handicapped stall too (I believe they’re legally required, at least in the US). Most also have a changing station too (again, maybe it’s regional?).

    ——–

    As an aside, the whole google image results for “venerable women” example is kind of silly. I mean, who the hell even uses the word venerable? Especially the masses who use google. The results for “wise women” or “great women” turn up decent images. It’s a bit of a disingenuous example too, since a search for “venerable men” also suggests “vulnerable men” instead. Because, again, who’s labeling images with the word venerable?

  12. =8)-DX says

    Interesting note on the bathroom stalls: my local bar has small toilets, but in the last renovation they added an extra room for women. So now women have two rooms with a single toilet and men have one room with three stalls and one separate toilet. The lines are a lot shorter. The extra room was added at the advice of the all-female staff, something that never occured to the male manager when he had male staff. Not perfect, but better.

    On the home-segregation points: it stings home hard to realise how I try to bring up my daughter. She needs to participate in chores, but I try to do it as equals rather than her having a specific role. But since I don’t have any other children it’s difficult to compare. Another thing is I’ve been a strong proponent of non-segregated adult chores. Yeah I mostly take out the garbage, but I also mostly shop, sometimes cook, sometimes wash clothes. It’s great hearing my SO talking about conversations with her colleagues about coming home to a warm dinner, or having the washing hanging up before the weekend.

    Seriously: there are no gendered household chores! No one likes doing them but I don’t like being gendered doing them. At the end of the day though, I’m still as full of shit as I was before, so there’s always more work to be done, feminism (for us men/males) is an ongoing fight against our own harmful biases.

  13. says

    Beyond Understanding
    Not everybody in this world lives in the USA. This was a talk given by a Brit in Barcelona.

    =8)-DX

    Seriously: there are no gendered household chores!

    Right, there are no chores that require a particular gender. Nevertheless they are gendered here and now. You should see the looks I get when I mention that my husband does most oft he laundry. Apart from that I have little choice but doing all female gendered chores, which are of course those that have to be done constantly like cooking and getting the kitchen clean again and shopping, and time intensive, unlike taking out the trash (seriously, that’s so little work, it’s kind of silly calling it a chore) or changing lightbulbs (once in a blue moon) or doing small repairs and shovelling snow.
    Catch 22: If I want to show my daughters that women can do that, too, I have to do those things as well, on top of doing 80% of the normal stuff, showing them that men don’t have to work that much around the house.
    The joys of being a part time single mum.

  14. says

    BeyondUnderstanding @ 11:

    As an aside, the whole google image results for “venerable women” example is kind of silly. I mean, who the hell even uses the word venerable?

    I don’t find it silly. As for who uses it, how about centuries worth of writers, philosophers, and historians? I’ve found that people who prefer restricted vocabularies tend to miss a lot. *shrug*

    Venerable means: commanding respect because of great age or impressive dignity; worthy of veneration or reverence, as because of high office or noble character, among other things.

    I did an image search for venerable men, which yielded some interesting results. The Venerable Bede, of course, but Shakespeare, Nietzsche, Aajan Khao Analayo, various religious people, and interestingly enough, Anais Nin, Coco Chanel, and Jane Austen (specific quotes which deal with men, of course.) When I added the ‘wo’ to venerable men, it took a while to get to any actual women, products and men came first, and almost all the women considered venerable were involved in religion – nuns and saints. I would have thought at least some writers and scientists to slip in, but nope.

  15. Grewgills says

    @Gilliel#13
    My last 8 years or so have been in California and Hawai’i and all of the public restrooms I have seen in that time (other than some very small shops with only one toilet) have had changing stations in both men’s and women’s restrooms and all have had at least one handicapped stall. Urinals certainly add more more capacity per unit space than stalls. Are restrooms less egalitarian in Europe?

    @Caine#14
    I duplicated that search and got very different results for both. I’m wondering whether it is regional differences or search history differences. Venerable men got me images of quotations, Will Smith, and some other rather odd results. When I added wo I got mostly images from a website called venerablewomen.com and David Bowie from Labyrinth for some reason. In both cases it autocorrected me to vulnerable. There is a lot of very real sexism and I’m certain a lot could be found in Google search results, but this particular search doesn’t seem to illustrate that very well, at least not when I conducted the search.

  16. kaelik says

    Could someone explain “No explanation needed” to me? She gave three phrases, “Stop interrupting me” “I just said that” and the no explanation one. I looked up and read the article, and it never explains. Based on the article and her talk, the other two are obvious, as the both have to deal with situations where men interrupt women, or where men say the same thing women say, and then get praised for it after she was ignored. But I have no idea what that explanation phrase means in this context, and I couldn’t figure it out from her article. It seems to be phrased as something that women will understand based on their shared experience facing male privilege, so I hope someone can help me.

  17. Bruce says

    This TEDx video is very disrespectful of the speaker. I don’t know if it’s the sexism or incompetence of the Barcelona video editor, or what. The talk was conceived and delivered as a talk with visual information, including charts and photos. But that is not what the video recorded. The video only shows brief glimpses of some of the images, too short to read them or take them in. The audience in Barcelona could choose to look at them long enough to absorb them, but this was not a priority for the editor. The editing makes it seem that we would rather look at the speaker’s white dress and legs, than at the content she was asking the room to absorb.
    I hope all the other talks from Barcelona also were edited so poorly, and that this was due to mere incompetence.

  18. starskeptic says

    I saw Gloria Steinem speak on her Revolution from Within book tour(1992); the talk covered almost exactly the same ground that Chemaly does in this one. The point about the sexism in our language really stood out for me – seriously, Why doesn’t anyone get a ‘Bachelorette of Arts’ degree? Or a ‘Matron of Science’ degree? I’d really like to see more progress in the next 23 years than we’ve seen in the last 23.

  19. philhoenig says

    @kaelik#16. I suspect that phrase is useful for any woman who’s been mansplained at.

  20. Nightjar says

    kaelik,

    But I have no idea what that explanation phrase means in this context, and I couldn’t figure it out from her article. It seems to be phrased as something that women will understand based on their shared experience facing male privilege, so I hope someone can help me.

    We’re often given a piece a information whose significance is obvious to us, but someone goes along to explain its significance in detail as if we were 4-year-olds. Either because of our background knowledge or because it’s just simple fucking logic, it should be obvious to the person bothering to explain it to us that we know. But the default assumption is often that we don’t know something we do know, or that we can’t reach a simple conclusion on our own through reasoning.

    “No explanation needed” stands for “yeah, I got it the first time, I’m not sure why you assumed I didn’t”.

  21. says

    Nightjar

    “No explanation needed” stands for “yeah, I got it the first time, I’m not sure why you assumed I didn’t”.

    Or for “who the fuck do you actually think you are, because you have no clue on this subject while I’m the expert”

    Grewgills
    If there’s space there’s often a men’s, women’s and a unisex disabled toilet as well as a changing/feeding room. If there’s no space, the women’s and the disabled toilet and the changing station get combined into one because of the aforementioned parade of dicks in the men’s toilet.

  22. Nightjar says

    Oh, yes, Giliell. It also often stands for “what the hell are you on about, dude, there is indeed a head over which the point flew and it wasn’t mine”. The rush to mansplain to the women in the room is so strong that some don’t even make sure they understood it before starting to explain it.

  23. Mordachai says

    Thanks for this one. That’s an excellent bit of insight, and rings true to my ears. My wife struggles with the pervasive bias against female voices in every ream of life. I appreciate this woman giving clarity and voice to this issue.

  24. MadHatter says

    The bathroom thing is regional in the US too. My partner was a single dad in Seattle of all places. He regularly complained about the lack of baby changing facilities in public places like the Woodland Park Zoo! And he hates having to take his young daughter into a men’s restroom because of the urinals and she has commented several times that she dislikes it because some boy always asks “what’s a girl doing in here”. No one ever asks about young boys in the women’s though. Several times he’s had no choice but to use the women’s and someone had to stand outside the door and guard it for him.

  25. says

    bTW, I had a really good (and by good I mean fuck annoying) example of mansplaining at home yesterday. Looking through the supermarket leafet I mentioned that I’m really annoyed by all the Oktoberfest crap (because let’s face it, Bavaria is the Texas of Germany. They’re arrogant bastards (as a state, not every single Bavarian) who think themselves better than the rest of us and who think that federal laws only apply to them when they suit them and they don’t need to be celebrated from August to October as if the rest of the country didn’t have any traditions or regional clothing).
    I didn’t get to say all the things in parenthesis because M interrupted me telling me that I’d really look good in a Dirndl.
    Does he consciously think “she can’t have any interesting to say anyway, so I don’t need to hear that, but I really like staring at her tits, so I better tell her that she’d look good in a Dirndl, because her tits are more important than her brain”? Nope. Is that the toxic soup we’re all being raised in? Yep.
    To his credit, he apologised.