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AIBU to think that men who declare that the reason for xyz structural inequality is "women's choices"...

(33 Posts)
AskBasilAboutCranberrySauce Wed 18-Dec-13 21:00:38

... are in fact buying into that notion because they are deeply reluctant to recognise that structural sexism exists?

And the reason people don't want to recognise that structural sexism/ racism/ disablism/ insert ism here exists, is because they have a deep seated (sometimes subconscious) vested interest in keeping it there because they benefit from it but they can't bear to admit even to themselves, that they benefit from it because to do so would be to either change their mind and recognise it (which would be emotionally and intellectually challenging), or explode their own image of themselves as nice, reasonable, decent, fair-minded people?

But that in fact, unless they are very young and inexperienced or very uneducated indeed, they are simply nobs of the nobbiest variety?

I am really fucking sick of them. Really sick of being told that structural disadvantage exists because of the choices of the group who are disadvantaged within that structure, with no reference to the choices of anyone else, particularly not of the group who are the advantaged ones and who directly benefit from the structure.

Presenters and guests of the Today programme, fuck off. Friend's husbands, fuck off. Smug white middle class men who assume that they've been treated the same as women all their lives so the fact that they are now doing better than most women they know is solely because they are exceptionally talented people and being white, male, middle class and able-bodied hasn't helped them even one smidgeon, just please, fuck off. Apart from anything else, you are unutterably tedious.

Ah that feels better. grin

HolofernesesHead Fri 20-Dec-13 09:07:57

Two of my male, white, middle class colleagues have said to me that they know they benefit from structural sexism, one when his wife was pg and they were thinking about work and childcare issues (he works full time, she was a high earner but now a SAHM) and the other within quite an academic discussion of social change. They ate both intelligent and pretty sensitive people, sensitive enough to know that they are privileged.

UptoapointLordCopper Fri 20-Dec-13 09:12:32

Head I have two male colleagues who do see that and say so. I have 30 male colleagues. I suppose 6.7% is better than 0% ...

LRDtheFeministDragon Fri 20-Dec-13 09:12:47

Something I notice a lot is that it's not just about actually having children. It's about the expectation that you belong to the gender who will have children and take time off.

Admittedly, I know other childless women my age who say they've never had this experience, but I've had quite a lot of often welcome, but unsolicited advice about when I should have children or how to manage children and a career, and the people who give that advice do not seem to be hurrying to say the same to the men in the room.

HolofernesesHead Fri 20-Dec-13 09:31:39

Oh, the stories I could tell, LRD! One of my favourites is this: I was at an academic seminar which finished at about 4.30 in the afternoon. I was chatting to an academic, a world class scholar in his field, highly intelligent etc etc, when all of a sudden he stopped and said 'You have children, don't you?' Yes, that's right, I replied. He looked genuinely worried and said 'So who's looking after them?' well, I replied, they're at their after school club. 'Oh good', he replied, 'I just imagined them roaming around looking for you.'

Would that ever, ever be said to a man in an equivalent situation?

LRDtheFeministDragon Fri 20-Dec-13 09:34:01

People don't seem to realize how rude it is.

Though, love the image of you as a homing beacon for feral children.

emcwill74 Fri 20-Dec-13 11:44:11

Hear Hear OP!

sashh Sat 21-Dec-13 12:40:07

OK can I just give you all a glimmer of hope.

Many many years ago (early 1990s) I worked at the Royal Preston Hospital. The hospital had a recruitment policy that stated that all positions would be offered on a job share basis if applicants asked, and the policy stated that this was to include consultants ie the heart surgeons amongst others.

They also allowed a 5 year career break after you had been there 5 years. It could be taken as an add on to maternity leave but was also used by people to go off and do a degree which may or may not be related to their work. This was before e-mail so we would get a news letter sating who had done what or was leaving to do something.

The department I was in we could, within reason (ie we had to cover certain things), pick our own working hours. I worked longer days Mon - Thu and had a half day on Friday. Someone else worked term time only.

UptoapointLordCopper Sat 21-Dec-13 19:46:22

sashh It's good to hear that there are people who can do things different from how it was always done.

But where I work (v. male dominated industry) is very flexible too - as long as you do what you are supposed to do there is no strict rules about where and when you do it. Even so, when it comes to promotions I don't think we are immune to bias - in fact sometimes it's even worse, because they can't seem to get their act together about how to evaluate part-timers. hmm And the things I hear are the things that made the standard text about gender bias. hmm hmm Seriously, you could play stereotype bingo. And when it comes to networking, everyone is very friendly, but you had to brace yourself for the inevitable "politically incorrect" joke. Nothing very racy, just enough to make you feel the rage but only at the level at which you would be told that you are just being too sensitive and "I don't know why are you even upset at that". hmm

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