An Open Letter To Men On Mansplaining And Other Microaggressions

An Open Letter To Men On Mansplaining And Other Microaggressions

Men, you have a responsibility to end these microaggressions.

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OK, so women can vote, can initiate a divorce, and don't need their father's consent to marry. Legally women and men are equals. Some would say this means that sexism is an old-fashioned and outdated institution, that it has been buried in the sands of time. That it is over. But ask almost any woman on the street if she believes sexism is still present in society and you will receive an affirmative "YES." And this divide, this lack of communication, of empathy, and of willingness to listen, leads us down a dark path that could very well put us right back in the years when misogynistic witch hunts swept the country. So, as a woman, there are a few things that men should be aware of.

Microaggression: the subtle or indirect discrimination of a marginalized community that is often done subconsciously or unintentionally, but perpetuates the clear and direct discrimination of that community.

Mansplaining.

Take a look around a classroom. Do you see it? The boys with their hands up and backs pressed into the chairs so far that the front two legs are tipped off of the floor? The girls, with their backs sinking forward to offer the chair more room, their arms hesitantly bent at the elbows, their hand flickering up and down, their fingers hovering as if they aren't sure their limbs should be taking up that much space? I see it. There is this incredible reluctance in women in the classroom. And I believe it comes from a culture of "mansplaining," more formally I like to call it "male correction." This is the act of a man/male person responding to a female's comment or statement in a condescending manner that indirectly asserts that she is naive or uninformed.

Often, it is not simply a disagreement, but a patronizing attempt by a man to explain and teach a woman something she already is well informed about. This action completely disregards a woman's intelligence and squanders any possibility of intellectual debate and conversation. It turns a learning moment for both parties into an experience of shame and frustration for the woman and an over-heightened feeling of superiority for the man.

It is often a subconscious act, but it is a very conscious and present experience for women. It makes us feel unseen, unheard, and unimportant. It is a vicious cycle that leads to girls and women not wanting to speak up and share their thoughts in fear of being a put-down, which in turn makes boys grow up believing that women don't want to, or aren't capable of, having discussions about intellectually based topics.

So, to all the men out there, know this; women are incredibly smart and talented, we are entitled to a respectful intellectual discourse, just because you are a man does not mean you need to teach women things, we already know. Instead, just listen.

An example:

A female economics major: "I don't believe tax cuts for the wealthy actually redistribute wealth."

A man with no economics experience: "Well, actually, they do. You may not have heard of this theory I read about, but, it's called trickle down economics and..."

What should happen:

A female economics major: "I don't believe tax cuts for the wealthy actually redistribute wealth."

A man with no economics experience: "That's an interesting point since you've taken a lot of classes about that and have done a lot of research on it, why don't you tell me why you think that. I have a differing opinion, but I want to understand your point of view."

Slurs.

When a man is assertive, strong, and powerful he is a leader. When a woman is assertive, strong, and powerful she is a b*tch. Men aren't used to seeing women in positions of dominance, so when they are, men tend to downgrade their power by using slurs. Why? Well, when a group of people is so used to privilege, equality can feel like oppression. Subconsciously, many men are afraid of the repercussions that will ensue when women are allowed and able to take their rightful positions on the world stage. But, every second that we keep degrading women's tenacity is another second that women believe they are bound to more compassionate and tender destinies. This hurts us.

Men, I ask you to imagine for a moment that you are experienced, you are smart, you are capable, you have done the work, you have done the time, you are powerful. Now imagine, in spite of all this, all anyone ever wants to call you is a b*tch. They don't want to tell you how intelligent, how powerful, how truly amazing you are. No, they only want to let you know that you are not supposed to be the intelligent, powerful, amazing person you are.

That hurts, doesn't it? And women are not only told this when they come into power positions. We are told this in television shows as children. We are told this in school when we try to lead. We are told this early on in our careers when we attempt a promotion or a big project. We deserve better. Men, I know society has conditioned you to think this way, but I urge you to think twice before you say something. I urge you to take a step back

An example:

A female student: "Hey, that's an interesting thought but I'm not sure that will work for our project. Do you guys mind if I take the lead looking for other options?"

A male student talking to his friend: "She tried to control the whole project and insulted me. What a b*tch."

What should happen:

A female student: "Hey, that's an interesting thought but I'm not sure that will work for our project. Do you guys mind if I take the lead looking for other options?"

A male student talking to his friend: "She didn't like my idea, but that's OK, she knows just as much as I do about the topic. She's very opinionated and I respect the fact that she wants to take the lead."

Sexualization.

Women are continually sexualized, and then they are degraded for appearing sexual. From a very, very young age, we are taught not to show our bodies. There are dress codes, there are degrading comments, there is fear of getting harassed or assaulted. It is scary and disgusting. If, as a society, we put forth the idea that women are not to be seen, we will perpetually associate their shoulders, their knees, their stomachs as something prohibited, as something rebellious, as something forbidden. And that, that is the problem. Because, then, we associate women that show these body parts as breaking the rules, and therefore asking to be punished. Maybe if we didn't make sly comments at women and support institutions that degrade their bodies, we wouldn't have women that run to their car with keys between their fingers at night, women that pretend to be on the phone when walking past a man on a back street, women who tug the backs of their shorts down when they walk into a public place. As a woman, I can tell you that the simple act of existing is a continual fight or flight response.

Every decision we make is based on the chance of our own survival. We choose carefully which street to walk down. We share our location with our friends before going on a date. We don't leave the house without pepper spray after dark. We are continually feeling the threat of death all because a few people decided we shouldn't see three inches of thigh. It is terrifying and it needs to end. So, men, let's please stop talking about women as if they are something to be hidden away. Let's please end the idea that women are breaking the rules of society by simply existing. Let's please terminate the fear that we live with each and every day of our lives.

An example:

A man: "Wow, look at that girl's shorts. I can't believe she'd wear something that short. She's just asking for attention!"

Another man: "No kidding, what a sl*t!"

What should happen:

A man: "Wow, look at that girl's shorts. I can't believe she'd wear something that short. She's just asking for attention!"

Another man: "Hey, that's not cool. She can wear whatever she wants. We can't be friends if you're going to talk about women that way."

In short, men, you have a responsibility to end these microaggressions. You have the power, you have the opportunity, do it. For us. Let your friends know that these things aren't OK to say. Women can only do so much. Since men are the ones who continually enforce these aggressions upon us, they are the ones who must alter their behavior. Do the right thing

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7 Of The Most Influential Women In History Who Left Their Stamp On The World

In honor of International Women's History Month, here are seven of the most influential women in history who left their stamp on the world in today's society.

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These are the women who made put the foundation to make our present and future possible. Even today, they still continue to inspire other young men and women. In honor of international women's history month which lasts from March 1st through the 31st, here are seven of the most influential women in history.

1. Rosa Parks

Rosa Parks is a well known African American female who refused to give up her seat on a segregated bus in Montgomery, Alabama in 1955. As a result of her actions, she was arrested which led to a nationwide campaign boycotting city buses in Montgomery.

Her brave actions played a very important role during the civil rights movement that eventually led to the end of bus segregation. Rosa Parks was given the nicknames "The First Lady Of Civil Rights" and "The Mother Of Freedom Movement".

2. Harriet Tubman

Harriet Tubman was a former slave and abolitionist who escaped from her plantation to lead other slaves to freedom using the Underground Railroad. The Underground Railroad was a network of secret routes and safe houses that led to the northern states. She dedicated her whole entire life to helping others slaves escape who wanted freedom too. Harriet Tubman also led a secret life as a former spy during the war helping the Union Army.

3. Madame C.J Walker

Madame C.J. Walker whose real name was Sarah Breedlove, an African American, who became a self-made millionaire and entrepreneur. In fact, she was considered the wealthiest African American businesswoman in 1919.

She created her own wealth by developing and selling her hair care products. Madame C.J. Walker stumbled upon her wealth when she tried to find a product that would help with her scalp disorder which made her lose the majority of hair.

This is when she began to experiment with home remedies and store bought hair treatments which inspired her to help others with their hair loss after she saw significant improvement in her hair. She also was a very generous person who helped her community by giving to those less fortunate.

4. Coretta Scott King

Coretta Scott King was an American activist and writer alongside her husband, the world famous, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, who fought for civil rights through peaceful protest. She supported nonviolence and women's rights movements.

After her husband's assassination, Mrs. King assembled and established an organization called "The King Center" in memory of her husband who believed in non-violent social change. She also led the petition to have her husband's birthday become a federal holiday which was eventually successful.

5. Susan B. Anthony

Susan B. Anthony, a Caucasian female, was a suffragist and civil rights activist. She campaigned against slavery and fought for women to be given the right to vote.

Her role definitely played a vital part in providing for the preparations for laws in the future for women rights. She worked with Elizabeth Cady Stanton to create the America Equal Rights Association (AERA) in 1866.

6. Daisy Bates

Daisy Bates was an African American activist and in 1952, she became the president of the NAACP in Arkansas. As a mentor who played a key role in helping to integrate the school system in Arkansas, she wanted to end segregation and helped do that with the introduction of the Little Rock Nine.

The Little Rock Nine was nine African American students who were enrolled in Little Rock Centeral High School, but the governor of Arkansas refused their admittance. In 1954, the Supreme Court ruled segregation in schools were unconstitutional; however, African American students were still being denied in all white high schools.

In 1957, history was made when Daisy Bates helped nine African American students known as the Little Rock Nine to become the first African Amercians to attend an all white high school.

7. Ida B. Wells

Ida B. Wells was a former slave in Mississippi, African American journalist, and a leader in the civil rights movement in its earlier years. Ida was born in 1862 to parents James and Elizabeth Wells.

In 1892, she began an anti lynching campaign after three African American men were abducted by a mob and then subsqequently murdered. She was a founding member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People also known as NAACP.

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Women's Rights Have Come So Far, But We Still Have A Long Way To Go

You go girl!

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"Women make up more than half of the world's population and potential, so it is neither just nor practical for their voices, for OUR voices, to go unheard at the highest level of decision- making." -Meghan Markle on the importance of women in politics.

"Perhaps this is the moment for which you were created." -Esther 4:14

Women's History Month is a time for women to celebrate who they are, and what they have and hope to accomplish one day.

Over the years, women have already accomplished so much; the most important being our right to vote in 1925. Thanks to Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Sojourner Truth, we finally get to a have a say in something as big as who gets to run our country.

Another important women's accomplishment is being elected as a Supreme Court Justice. Ruth Bader Ginsburg (who really turned things around for women when she filed that lawsuit that went to the Supreme Court), Sonia Sotomayor (first Hispanic justice), and Elena Kagan can surely be considered a real inspiration to get where they are today.

Third, women have become more and more involved in the workforce ever since World War II. It was the chance for women to show that they were just as good as men! World War II also brought women into the world of professional baseball. Before the war, women didn't play this sport professionally, but once the war started, there had to be something to distract the public- so the women were in! There were strict rules: there had to be chaperones to keep those rules enforced, and they had to attend charm school, but that was the start of women's professional baseball!

Lastly, the need for women to have to answer to their husbands has almost completely diminished. In the old days, women were seen as property, and had to have permission from their husbands for everything! Even in their wedding vows, women had to promise to obey. But what are things like now?


However, women still have a long way to go in terms of changing our male-dominant society.

For one, the United States is yet to have a female president. There have been presidents and first ladies for generations, but never, not once, has there been a female president. Women have been bringing changes to our country since the very beginning, but this is one thing that has yet to happen!

Second, women still don't receive equal pay as men for performing the exact same jobs. Let's face it: women work just as hard as men do (though some may argue that they work harder at times), so they deserve the same amount of reward.

Third, women are still not allowed to sign up for the draft. I know no one would want to be drafted, but I feel like this is how it should be for gender equality. And it's not just the draft: in general, the men in armed forces outnumber the women. A lot of people probably argue that women aren't strong enough for battle which is exactly what they have been proving wrong for so long!

Lastly, the way women are portrayed in the media needs to change. Today, the media has portrayed many heroines in movies and tv shows. However, most of them still portray them as needing to be rescued or needing to acquire something such as a certain look in order to get a man's attention. Also in modern day tv shows such as "Everybody Loves Raymond", they still portray men as the breadwinners and women as housewives. Also, think about superheroes: men outnumber them, too (especially when you consider how well-known they are). There has been progress on this matter with Wonder Woman, Cat Woman, and recently Captain Marvel, and maybe even more if you count Elastigirl, Violet, and Voyd from "The Incredibles" movies.

But, despite all this, there is still more progress to be made. We can do this!

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