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Politics and Activism


A feminist's musings, directed towards men.

Geek Dad

Probably every day I experience some sort of feeling of inadequacy. This is sometimes my own fault, overthinking the situation. But sometimes people have a tendency to speak degradingly or condescendingly to me. And these people are usually men.

When I was in high school, I had a teacher who was a jerk to all his students. No matter the age or gender, he spoke as if he knew best on every topic. Almost like he had to be the alpha male in every situation. God forbid you made a mistake and had to listen to the days of irritated mocking that followed. He wasn’t really a people person.

I got along better with him than some students. In fact, I think the women could tolerate him rather decently, while the men would get overly upset at least once a day. See, women are used to this kind of talk. Women are used to hearing condescension, brushing it off, and stepping forward to get the job done. You may call this “proving themselves.” However, we shouldn’t have to step through misogyny in order to prove ourselves in a job that didn’t need proving in the first place.

One story to illustrate my point: one day my teacher was grading a test. A few of us came in the class during our study hall to see if he had finished grading ours from earlier in the day — we wanted to see what our grade was. In an effort to joke around, my friend said “what’s wrong? You mean you haven’t finished grading all our tests yet?” Our teacher looked up at him, deadpan, and uttered “stop.” He shut my friend down with a look that told him the grading was far too much work to make jokes about his lack of effort. We stumbled out of the room, confused as to how the joke went wrong.

The story does not end here. A week later, my teacher was giving another test in our class (I really did love my high school) and stepped into the hallway to talk to another teacher. Five minutes into the test, he came back and with a teasing look on his face, said “what? You mean you all haven’t finished the whole test and handed it in?” Maybe one student laughed. The few of us who witnessed the tantrum a week ago glanced at each other, amazed that the same transaction occurred.

The message we received was that unwanted teasing was alright as long as he was the one dishing it out. As soon as it was handed back to him, he couldn’t handle it.

Please believe me when I tell you this story. In fact, please believe women in general when they tell you they’re being talked down to or made to feel inferior. Because those feelings my male classmates experienced? We feel that every day and just learn to live with it. I’m not okay with that. I hope you’re not okay with that. Because I want that to end in my lifetime and only by men stepping beside us and agreeing to think about their words can we change anything.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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