Guest post: It’s more than the messages you hear

Originally a comment by iknlast on Without having to go back.

It’s more than the media. It’s more than the messages you hear. The messages we get are all around us, often unnoticed in any real way, subtle.

My father refusing to teach me how to start the lawnmower. His paying for my brother’s college on terms that were much more generous than mine.

Being kept in the dining room on Christmas with the women while the men went into the living room and talked about interesting things. Being the last one served. Being asked to make the coffee at the meeting.

Many of the messages aren’t “girls wear nail polish” “girls wear high heels”. They are subtle; the people delivering them may not realize they are delivering them. The people receiving them may not realize they are receiving them.

It is in the way my major professor in my doctorate talked to me in a fatherly manner, like a pat on the head, while being good buddies with his male students.

It’s in the way my boss peed off the end of the boat the first time they took me out for training (marking his territory?). It’s in the way that another boss asked me, the person with the highest level of education in the entire business, to water the plants.

It’s the way that my current boss has looked at a building in which all but two of the employees are women – and appointed the two males as building captains. It’s in the way that my seniority is ignored at work, and everyone turns to the male who has been there half as long as I have when they want someone with authority (we have equal authority; I just rarely have the opportunity to use mine). These are messages that are often unseen, but have a huge impact.

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