Women in tech and business: What was the best advice you got about promoting yourself at work?
...and the follow-up: How did it change your behavior? I'm planning an International Women's Day blog post and would love to include your input.
...and the follow-up: How did it change your behavior? I'm planning an International Women's Day blog post and would love to include your input.
This has been a thread I’ve wanted to make for a while but I’ve hesitated to for fear of it going badly. Recent events, however, have made me think it’s a topic that’s we can’t really afford to ignore.
When people read the phrase “toxic masculinity”, some see a clear collection of bad behaviors or mindsets that exist independent of men as a whole, while some see an indictment of an entire gender or identity. I’ve talked to men who have admitted to not knowing how to be masculine without being “toxic”because they can’t see a clear line where one ends and the other begins.
Thus, I’m interested in exploring what specifically gets defined as “toxic masculinity” and how we distinguish it from neutral or positive masculinity.
Part of what has kept me from asking this is that I see in people here two different experiences that I fear might collide in bad ways. I know we have people here (myself included) who have been directly harmed by behaviors and mindsets that would fall under the umbrella of “toxic masculinity”. Likewise, I know we have people here who have been harmed by an over-application of the phrase — being seen or treated as “toxic” simply for being men and thus being denied the dignity of their own identity. Giving credence to one experience can feel like it overrides the other.
Even just the phrase itself is the kind of thing that often divides people into camps and causes conflict, and I’m hoping we can avoid that here. (Though, to be honest, Tildes always impresses me with how we handle difficult topics, so I’m not sure where my worry is coming from). My goal for this topic is for everyone to have the opportunity to speak openly to convey understood truths and lived experiences in ways that maintain dignity for everyone involved.
The guiding question is about distinguishing masculinity from toxic masculinity, but answers don’t have to be limited to that. I’m interested in hearing about people’s relationship with masculinity in general, both in people who identify with it and those who don’t.
Previous topics in the series (which are still open should anyone want to add to them):
What's hard about being a man?
What's hard about being a woman?
This topic is for people who do not fit into the roles of "male" or "female": what is hard about being non-binary?
As before, please be mindful of the atmosphere of the post and the lived experiences of the individuals posting and try to keep things not only civil but welcoming to them. Furthermore, please be aware that majority voices can easily override a thread like this. As such, please make room for and elevate the voices of the non-binary people who choose to participate.
In a previous thread, we discussed "What's hard about being a man?" The responses were, I feel, incredibly valuable (and that thread is still open, so please contribute to it if you want to answer that question!). I want to add to that thread by asking the same question relative to women and non-binary people. I'm wanting to do this not as an attempt to put responses or identities in competition but because I feel each question is valuable on its own terms for focusing on a specific identity and experiences related to it.
Non-binary folks, I'll put up your thread a few days from now, as I want to allow each thread to have its own lifecycle independent of the others.
For this thread, I want to ask the question: "What's hard about being a woman?"
As in the previous thread, I want this to be a place where people are able to share open and honest truths about themselves, even if those are difficult or revealing. Please be mindful of the atmosphere of the post and the lived experiences of the individuals posting and try to keep things not only civil but welcoming to them. The principle of charity asks us to interpret others' comments in their best light, not their worst!
Responses are open to all identities, as, again, I believe that anyone can have insight into this and I want the thread to be open to questions and discussion, but I am going to ask that anyone responding keep in mind the underlying demographics of Tildes which lean very heavily male. I think this thread will be most valuable if we elevate and genuinely listen to women's voices. It does not mean that only women are allowed to participate in the thread, but I ask everyone to consider how, without this in practice, a majority male population can produce a majority male view of womanhood.
I started reading Liz Plank's For the Love of Men: A New Vision for Mindful Masculinity, and it opens with the author's experiences asking men this question (emphasis mine):
The more I read about men’s relationship to directions and maps, the more it explained the absence of a substantive and open conversation about masculinity. While women are encouraged to ask questions, men are expected to pretend like they know everything even when they don’t, even when it comes to large and existential questions about their gender and their lives. As I traveled across the world, from Iceland to Zambia, I asked men the same question over and over again: What’s hard about being a man? Every single time I asked that question it was like I had just asked them if unicorns can swim.
It was met with a pause, a smile, and then followed by another long pause followed by the words: “I’ve never actually thought of that.” When I asked women that same question about their gender—in other words, when I asked women what was hard about being a woman—it was like I had asked them to name every single thing they loved about puppies. I got nearly the same response from every woman I spoke to: “How much time do you have?” Judging from the conversations I would strike up with (half-)willing strangers, women had spent a lot of time thinking about how their gender impacts their lives, but men visibly hadn’t. While that conversation had been blossoming with women for decades, for men, accepting directions was proof that the system was broken, which goes against the natural impulses of what being a man means: not to admit confusion or ask questions.
I thought it was a worthwhile question to consider, and I'm interested to hear how people here on Tildes would answer it.
Also, while I'm confident in our community's ability to apply the principle of charity, I do know that discussions about gender online can often become contentious. I would very much like this to be a place for people to be able to share open and honest truths about themselves, even if those are difficult or revealing. If you are replying to someone, especially someone who has just opened up about their own personal experiences or beliefs, please make sure you are being thoughtful and considerate when doing so.
Finally, while the question is specifically about men, I don't want to limit responses to men only. I think women and non-binary people definitely have valuable insights into masculinity as well and I welcome your voices should you choose to answer.
Gender and sexuality are complex, personal topics, and asking questions about them can often feel invasive or even offensive. Discussions about them can be tough to navigate, especially online, where people's guards are often up and hostility and harassment are common.
In order to help clear the air and provide a safe space for honest and genuine dialogue, we have assembled a cross-section of Tildes' LGBT community to whom you can ask questions. These volunteers have agreed to open up about their experiences, identities, and knowledge.
In this thread, you will be able to ask our panelists questions regarding anything you've ever wanted to know about being LGBT. Our goal is to provide you with meaningful answers, not judge you for your questions! For the purposes of this thread, LGBT refers to the umbrella term under which all minority gender and sexual identities fall.
@usernamemention in your comment.
Here are the users who will be answering your questions:
You can get more information on each in their bios below:
|@Algernon_Asimov||Gay man||I'm "Algernon". I'm a middle-aged gay man living in Australia. I came of age during the 1980s, when "gay" meant "Got AIDS Yet?".|
|@CALICO||Pan & Poly, Male-shaped, Agender, Non-transitioning Trans||None/No-preference||Late-20's, military brat, former military, current gov't contractor. Historically lived all over the US; in the past 18-months I've lived in three states and two non-US countries—currently Afghanistan. Out where it matters, closeted where it doesn't. Unmarried—probably forever—in a LT/LDR currently with just one person. Shameless hippie, hobbyist, & aspiring author.|
|@Cleb||Genderfluid (Agender & Femme, also fine with just Non-Binary)||They/Them, She/Her||Early 20s, American, white, closeted in real life. Grew up in very conservative & religious area, still live here. Can talk about growing up like that, my struggle with fluidity/internalized transphobia/gender as a whole, things relating to trans culture on the internet, and any of the other standard fare trans and gender-nonconforming person questions.|
|@emdash. If you wanted to find my real name and social media profiles, you probably could, but keep it to yourself and don't be a dick, okay?||Gay cis-male||He/him||Early 20s (wow there's a theme emerging) guy living in New Zealand. Software engineering degree, but I hate the industry, so working on my own business and studying to be a pilot instead (aka the backup plan). I also fly a paraglider for fun. I've always lived in New Zealand, but would love to live overseas. Have the Tinder/Taimi profile tuned to a fine fucking art (IMHO). Out to friends, family aren't informed since I'm not particularly close to them anyway.|
|@Gaywallet||pan, poly, enby (nonbinary)||they/them||Early 30s, lived in California my whole life. Currently have 5 partners and feeling quite polysaturated. Big into raving, psychedelics, and general hippy stuff but with a queer focus. Out to friends and family, but not fully flying my flag at work (work in progress to happen this year).|
|@kfwyre||gay cis male||he/him/they/them||Teacher. Happily married. Living in the US, and grew up in a very conservative Christian area. Came out in my 20s and dealt with severe depression and fallout with family.|
|@patience_limited||Queer; intersex non-binary||they/them/she/her||Mainly in the sidebar. US, 50's, raised near a university town, married. White(ish).|
|@reifyresonance||transfemme, queer, poly||she/they||19, living in the southern US. Studied in China for a year and did a field research project on marginalized queer identities in Shanghai nightlife (talked to people in gay bars), so if anyone wants to hear my (white, American) thoughts on that, I'm game :). I also got to help start an LGBT organization at my school there! Spent the last six months or so doing computer programming, and was part of the workplace LGBT affinity group. (Also, general transgender questions.)|
|@ShilohMizook (Shiloh)||Bisexual, lean mostly towards guys. Cis male.||He, Him.||17, I go to a Catholic school in Florida, but the people there are pretty accepting, so I'm out to everyone. My parents try to avoid the subject. I've never actually met another non-straight guy in real life, which has kind of frustrated me, but it's okay.|
|@Silbern||Gay male||He/him||I'm an early 20's white guy with Asperger's Syndrome studying Computer Science. I come from a military family, so I've traveled a lot and lived in many places that were across the spectrum in gay friendliness. I currently live in Hawaii, which might be relevant both for my answers as well as possible time zone limitations.|
|@tindall||bisexual transgender female||she/her||Software engineer just getting out of college and into my first long-term full-time gig, at a company making cancer screening software. Grew up all over the place (East Coast, then Texas, then California) and I'm now in the Midwest. I care a lot about making the world a gentler and more supportive place for everyone, and I try to apply my skills to do that.|
|@Whom (...and Scarlett)||Trans lesbian||She||Early 20s, raised in the rural US (Wisconsin) studying English Education. Oh, and white. That's the important bits for context. I'm very familiar with current youth trans culture on the internet (which is so pervasive within the community that it's necessary for understanding what it's like being young and trans), so I'm well-equipped to answer questions relating to that or, of course, the trans experience as I see it. I might also be a decent resource to ask about how mental illness (particularly depression, severe anxiety, and light dissociation) fits into the whole picture.|
From the Wiki:
International Women's Day (IWD) is celebrated on the 8th of March every year around the world.
(…) The day was then predominantly celebrated by the socialist movement and communist countries until it was adopted by the feminist movement in about 1967. The United Nations began celebrating the day in 1977.
It is a federal holiday in Russia, at least. (Since it's Sunday this year, the following Monday is made a holiday as well). Do you have any special plans for today?
Shortly after my son was born I started calling him "Buddy." I love it and he answers to it like a name now. My daughter is two and she calls him Buddy, which I think is the most adorable thing ever.
I'd like to do this with my daughter, but I'm not really a fan of things like "honey" or "sweetheart," though I do wind up calling her sweetheart pretty frequently.
Buddy is like friend, which is what I'm going for, but that's taken already. What else could I use?
In lieu of the recent Gillette ad, and seeing as the conversation around it has stirred the pot quite a bit, I wanted to propose a conversation where we start from the very beginning:
Without yet talking about subsets, variants, or interpretations of masculinity/femininity (toxic or otherwise). How do you define it for yourself: what makes you masculine or feminine, or what parts of you would you describe as such, do you feel that those things go as universal descriptors or are they specific to your case?
There may also be some deeper questions in here about where you think you gained this conception (your family? your immediate circle of contacts? Role models?) or who you think best embodies your ideal definition of your gender.
“There are no girls on the internet” is one of the “rules of the internet” of the olden times. It was a tongue-in-cheek saying that meant two things. The first interpretation is that women don’t hang out on online forums because only loser guys do that. This obviously wasn’t totally true, but it felt true because of the second interpretation: gender doesn’t really exist on the internet, or at least it didn’t back then. Someone posting on IRC or 4Chan could be male, female, black, white, or any combination or race or gender, but you wouldn’t know that. Your post just existed in a void, completely separate from your social identity. While sexism and racism existed, someone wouldn’t be discriminated against on those grounds, because on the internet there are no girls. Only people.
People who brought up their gender were accused of being attention seekers who couldn’t get by on their own merits. This was probably just a shitty excuse to justify harassment (ie tits or gtfo), but there might have been some truth to the idea that your gender and race have no effect on the legitimacy of your opinion.
Today on the internet, a the “rule” “there are no girls on the internet” is completely done away with. Not only is the social makeup of the internet much more diverse today, all of the major networking sites have profiles on which you can proudly display your gender, race, sexuality, etc.
I only just now came to realize this difference as I was reading some threads that posted statements like “as a gay man” or “as a girl who...”. These kinds of statements used to attract ridicule, but are now accepted as the norm.
I’m not sure if this is an improvement or not. I do think it’s an improvement that harassment is no longer tolerated, but I struggle with the concept that it’s okay to that someone’s race/gender/etc can legitimize a claim, but it is not okay to think that it could deligitimize someone’s claim.
Again, I want to add a disclaimer that I do not think it is or ever was good to harass people, or to discriminate based on identity. I just want to start a conversation about how the internet has changed in this respect, and whether or not online discourse has been hurt by this change.
A series of gender neutral alternatives for the third person singular pronouns (he/she/it) have been proposed throughout the recent years (and maybe decades). I wonder the preferences of fellow users here in that regard. So I'd be glad if you could answer the questions in the title, and maybe elaborate a bit on the reasons of your preference. I'm both interested in this generally, and it could be useful as a means to help me practice quantitative linguistic variation (obviously this would hardly be scientifically usable source of data for actual real research so I'm not asking this for that purposes). I'll add my preference as a comment.
In light of @Deimos mentioning that we have a lot of "favorite" topics going around, how about something a little meatier?
I've seen it a few times already around threads that someone uses the word "guy" to refer to a poster and the response is "I'm not a guy". I'm not trying to invalidate this stance, but rather make this argument in the same way I argued for a singular "they". Consider the following:
I realize that this is probably masculine-normative and therefore problematic, but my main goal here is to stimulate discussion on a meatier topic (gender) without having it be an incredibly serious topic.
I want to clarify a few things, as this reads a lot more trolly than it did 6 hours ago.
generalizing "guy" is a sexist idea because it attempts to make the masculine the generic (what I called "masculine-normativity" above). However, there isn't a term that adequately replaces "guy" but is neutered (@Algernon_Asimov brought up that "dude" fits, but is as more casual than "guy" than "person" is more formal). [Edit edit: I'm an idiot. They pointed out that "dude" as I had defined it earlier in my post would work just as well, but they did not agree that it has been neutered]
Instead of bringing this up as purely a matter of diction, I set myself up as an antagonist to see what would happen. And for this I apologize.
That said, I feel like there is some good discussion here and do not want to call making the thread a mistake. More that mistakes were made in the manner of its posting.