A couple of months ago I wrote an article where I explored my first hands-on experience with a man passing a sexist comment and my conversation the day after with some women that were affected by it. I mainly explored what might be going on for the person passing on the sexist comment, and now, to close the loop, I’d like to explore what might be going on for the person on the receiving end of the sexist comment. My intention with creating the full picture of the situation is to support everyone in connecting in a challenging situation like this. It is usually an unpleasant experience for everyone when communication breakdown in these circumstances happens.
Up until last summer I actually did not know what the expression “sexist” meant. We were in a group discussing music, and one female participant said that she loved seeing more and more teenage girls involved in music, as it’s a male dominated world. As she thanked the teenagers who were there for coming, a male friend who was there added, “yah, and you girls are hot too!” At the time I didn’t make much of it.
The next day, a female friend approached me and said, “can you believe the nerve on that person, so sexist!” I was a bit surprised, “ah really? That was sexist?” She was taken aback by my response and said, “of course it was.” As I curiously asked, “what really is sexism?”, she got tense, assumed a position, her voice raised, “you really want to bring on this topic!? Are you sure you want to do this!?” Unguardedly, I replied, “totally, I would love to know what sexism is”.
How many times have you seen a debate, where you loved and praised the person you supported and were annoyed by and scorned the person that you were not supporting? This is because debates are by definition constructed to produce this result. The point of a debate is for each side to use any means to persuade the other side until one prevails with a “superior context”, rather than to find understanding or even common ground in one another’s viewpoints.
Debates are about winning an argument, rather than creating mutual agreement, even if the agreement is at least: to agree to disagree. If someone listens to understand the other side, it’s in order to find ways to argue against it.
Ken Robinson delivered one of my favorite TED talks to date. His simple message explains how important it is to cultivate creativity within us and our children and also how important it is to recognize our natural aptitudes that give us full meaning and then pursue them. I am also impressed by how naturally he draws in his audience with humor and then switches back to important matters.
His points explore shortfalls of the western educational system and how it affects and suppresses people’s creativity, their ability to grow, change, see things anew and not take things they are used to for granted. Overall, he suggests a revolution in our education, not just a reformation but a transformation and it’s exciting that so many people are getting on board with this vision! Ken’s work reminds me of the writings of Alexadner S. Neil I had read many years ago, about a self-governed school called Summerhill, which he’d started at the beginning of the last century in Suffolk, England. Visions toward the betterment of our education had sparked my interest and passion ever since then.
I just watched this interview with Margie Gillis by sun news host Krista Erikson, and I was very surprised, even shocked, by the Ms. Erikson’s aggressively hostile approach to her guest.
At the outset, Ms. Erikson began with an introduction filled with praise and recognition of the considerable cultural credentials of Ms. Gillis. She suddenly changed tack to a dismissive, contemptuous tone and began attacking the very legitimacy of Ms. Gillis’ art form while accusing her of profiteering at the expense of taxpayers. Ms. Erikson characterized modern dance as a bunch of silly hand waving, clearly not worth the value of the grants awarded to her over her long and (admittedly) distinguished career.