About two weeks ago, I got an e-mail from a professor asking me and a few other students in his class to attend a discussion for extra credit. The discussion was centered around medical ethics, and a doctor had asked us to discuss in smaller groups solutions to the idea of "surprise billing," and how we can make billing more transparent to patients.
Within our small groups, I explained that I believed that the sphere of education is something that needs to come together with the sphere of medicine to keep patients informed by instructing students about how health insurance, billing, etc. works in the real world.
As the mediator called on individual groups, I kept my hand patiently in the air. She accidentally skipped my small group, because we were tucked away in a corner. Coming back around, a kid in my class within my smaller group raises his hand and makes his point about how, "this is a problem with our education system." Dear annoying kid in my class, that was my point to make, and not yours.
Maybe this wouldn't be so irritating to me as a singular instance if it weren't a reflection of a larger problem. In my classical Greek philosophy course, a class with approximately a dozen males and three females, I often times have to fight to get a word in. I've been interrupted by men a countless amount of times, having my point stepped over or stepped on because someone else feels that their point is more important than mine. Rarely have these instances occurred with females, and when they do, it is typically acknowledged and resolved quickly. So what gives?
First of all, I'm upset because it hurts. It isn't about the sheer unfairness of not getting to say what I wanted to say when I wanted to say it, but rather that someone else felt that my point wasn't as worthy to state aloud as theirs was. It makes me feel trapped in a world where, at a place such as a college university, ideas should be flowing around every corner. I shouldn't have to fight for a voice at a place where I spend so much money to make sure that it is heard in the first place.
So why is it that we see plenty of male figures who behave this way? Who are so confident that what they have to say is just the right thing at the right time so they absolutely have to say it? Do we subtly tell men that their thoughts, beliefs and opinions are more important than that of their fellow woman's?
Well, I believe we do. For starters, men have been rewarded for having different kinds of ideas compared to women. Those who determine public policy and run our governments are largely men, and those who run the household sphere are usually women. Of course, in 2018, roles are often reversed.
However, that doesn't mean that some of us aren't still getting used to the idea. That doesn't mean that some of us aren't still very convinced that women have no place offering their voices in places where they were once historically unwelcome.
"Well-behaved women seldom make history." Is that because occasionally, we still come across the annoying kid in class who steals our ideas and doesn't allow us to? I'd say so.