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The hidden face of sexism

Have you ever been discriminated against? I have. Have you ever been discriminated against without being sure of that? I have.

TL;DR: People don’t always directly insult you because you’re a woman. They just don’t consider you. It’s harmful and must be taken into consideration to improve our jobs and lives.

Sexism is vicious because it doesn’t always tell its name

Once, I had a colleague, a man. We were intellectually and technically on the same page. And yet, there were frictions between us. My opinion was not always valued. I found the situation weird. I wasn’t able to understand the problem.

Some months after, this colleague apologised saying that he had been rude to me because I was a woman and had realised it was wrong behaviour. I finally got the key to our bad relations.

The problem is that sexist people don’t often claim aloud: “I’m a sexist person. I won’t consider you because you’re a woman”.

In reality, I have experienced other situations when people openly explain that they don’t want to work with you because you’re a woman. I hate saying that but the truth is that it’s easier to deal with these situations than to deal with unspoken or even unconscious sexism.

The problem is that sexist people are not always able to realise they are. Misogyny is so unconscious and deeply rooted in our societies.

Misogyny happens more often than you think

Don’t get me wrong, I have worked with superb colleagues that respected me. I’ve also experienced conflicts with people because we were just not on the same page.

But too often, I can’t help noticing that my opinion or the opinion of another woman is not valued whereas the same opinion coming from a man seems so important.

In these kinds of situations, I can only have suspicions. If you express your suspicions, you take the risk of being seen as someone who pretends to be the victim. Then, you paradoxically become the persecutor.

What can you do in this case?

I have no idea 😟.

In a more general way, I would advise this though:

  • Don’t be afraid to explain your opinion. It’s always worthwhile to express an opinion.
  • Don’t be afraid of repeating an idea. You might not be heard the first or second time you express it.
  • Don’t be afraid to look like an idiot. Ridicule never killed anyone.

Thank you for reading. Feel free to contact me on Twitter if you want to discuss that and/or would like to provide advice on this important topic.