Quick Hit: What Male Entitlement Looks LikePosted: May 17, 2010
NB: Before you yell at me, go check this out, and remember that I’m talking about a series of events I have experienced, within the wider social context of being a woman, and that all I’m doing is expressing how these individuals fit a certain framework of social theory.
Saturday night was my birthday!! Yay! So, my neighbor was throwing a party and we headed over there after our day’s adventures for some good old fashioned backyard drunkenness with all of the neighbors we know on our street. While there I ended up talking to this extraordinary douche of a human being, a 1L (ugh) from Seattle U. I immediately noticed that his method of interacting with me involved forcefully talking at me, and then over me when I tried to speak.
I recalled the same experience back in college when I competed in Model UN with other colleges. Inevitably it was the men in the committee who got their voices heard and their positions respected.
Also, last Thursday in my Chinese Law seminar, a colleague had made some points in class that I thought were interesting, and so during the break I turned to him to disagree, and see what his argument was. He saw me turn to him and start talking, and he turned around and walked away.
The other thing I noticed was that in all of these experiences, my first instinct was to internalize it – the first thoughts I had were, “am I wrong about this, is my argument bad?” and “maybe if I had something more interesting to say, he wouldn’t be doing this.”
It’s taken me years to begin breaking this pattern of interaction with this type of men. Years of thought and practice have gone into understanding that louder does not necessarily mean right, and that just because someone is speaking forcefully, doesn’t mean they are speaking more intelligently.
What I talk about when I talk about being a feminist law student is this: being aware that many of my male classmates come to the conversation pre-equipped with the confidence and loud voices necessary to get their argument heard; I and many of my female classmates have had to work (are still working) to get to that place.
It’s as simple as the assumption that these men I interacted with had views worth hearing, whereas I and my female colleagues, do not.