It used to be that women couldn’t speak until they were spoken to. But now, apparently, women often can’t speak even when they’re spoken to because they’ve been conditioned to believe they shouldn’t unless a man has spoken first.
At least that’s the opinion of the Canadian professors who want to make it official school policy that you have to call on female students first in class:
“I do think, in general, there are a lot of studies that indicate women, girls are socialized not to speak first. . . . And so to make a conscious rule, a deliberate rule that is explicit, that ‘no, men are not allowed to speak first,’ is certainly a strong way of addressing that issue,” said Jacqueline Warwick, a professor of musicology and former coordinator of the Gender and Women’s Studies Programs at Dalhousie University.
We have to say, okay, quiet down men! Let the little ladies have a turn before you start talking in your big scary man-voices! Will somebody please tell me how something this demeaning could be considered feminism?
Also — what if you didn’t study before that class because you, like every student sometimes does, had other things to do? First, you’re going to be specifically and publicly called out first based on your gender alone. And then, if you don’t answer, you’re not just letting down your teacher — you’re letting down your entire sex. Otherwise, it’s: “No one in the women’s group knows the answer, huh? Okay . . . mennnnnnn?!”
Believe it or not, it’s not so terrifying for me to speak that I need someone to cajole me into doing it. The only problem I ever had speaking up in class was that I would sometimes blurt things out before raising my hand. And yes — even before a dude had spoken first! I wish I could go back in time and tell my teachers that I deserved a badge of courage and not a detention.
Are there sexist professors out there with preconceived notions about women? Duh. I’m sure there are professors out there with preconceived notions about students with a variety of characteristics. Some don’t like weird haircuts, some don’t like piercings, some don’t like people who remind them of that girl who dumped them in the ’90s.
I’m sure some of my professors might have initially perceived me as a slacker because I wore pajama pants to class, just like another professor might have perceived all the dudes who wore suits as pricks.
Any situation that you walk into, people will look at you through the lens of their preconceived notions. That’s life. Everyone has been dealing with this every single day for all of history. Why does our “feminist” society seem to think for some reason that women can’t? That we need to go to these kinds of lengths so that women can actually be normal human beings capable of doing normal stuff like, you know, talking?
And it’s not just Canada. Remember that press conference when President Obama took questions from only women? How does consistently, publicly setting apart our sex as needing special treatment and prodding in any way signify that we are equal to men?
Had Obama called on me during that conference, I would have been offended. I’m not a “female reporter;” I’m a reporter. Saying that women need special accommodations to achieve the same things as men — and yes, “achieve” is a pretty strong word, seeing as what we are talking about here is speaking — is sexist, not feminist.
— Katherine Timpf is a reporter at National Review Online.