"Let her speak, please!" - mansplaining at the World Science Festival

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"Let her speak, please!" - mansplaining at the World Science Festival

Post by Eravial » Wed Jun 7, 17:24 2017

There's so much that is so familiar in this interaction that took place this past weekend at the World Science Festival in NYC.

First, the panelists chosen for a discussion of theoretical physics included five men and one woman, Dr. Veronika Hubeny of the University of California - Davis, with another man moderating. Second, the sole woman barely got to speak during the first hour. Third, and the part that has been making headlines, she was repeatedly spoken over and spoken for when the topic finally turned to her area of expertise. The moderator (Jim Holt, the only person on the stage who is not a physics professor) started by acknowledging that she had barely spoken, then repeatedly asked her questions about her work, only to then go on to interrupt her answer to attempt to summarize her work. It is a hideous interaction that goes on for minutes without any of the other panelists stepping in. Finally, a woman in the audience (self-identified online as Marilee Talkington) interrupts one of Holt's interruptions, yelling "Let her speak, please!", to which the audience responded with a round of applause.

Holt has since said "I talked too much. The reproach from the audience was well-merited. I apologize to Dr. Hubeny and salute her for her stellar contribution to the discussion." Better was Dr. Hubeny's response thanking Talkington for standing up for what she believes in, commiserating with the sense of frustration she had felt, and providing encouragement to other women in science and academia.

Read more in this article, which links to the YouTube video of the session. The exchange starts at about 1:01:55 with the callout at 1:05:38.
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Re: "Let her speak, please!" - mansplaining at the World Science Festival

Post by Sonic# » Thu Jun 8, 7:39 2017

On my first viewing, I pick up on two things: first, he seems to be explaining a lot of what she could explain; second, when she gives verbal cues for interjecting back into the discussion, he ignores them and goes on, but she stops whenever he interrupts. It's a double-standard; he's able to get wrapped up in what he wants her to say, whereas she has the choice of either stopping (since she's not being heard anyway) or persisting in speaking (which has the risk of being seen as rude, even if he's the one being rude here).

It seems significant that none of the panelists seemed to interject at that point, but a member of the audience finally did. That seems like a common dynamic in meetings. :/

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Re: "Let her speak, please!" - mansplaining at the World Science Festival

Post by Aum » Thu Jun 8, 18:30 2017

A good reflection of the state of academia. And the world.
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Re: "Let her speak, please!" - mansplaining at the World Science Festival

Post by rowan » Sat Jun 10, 21:26 2017

Yup.
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Re: "Let her speak, please!" - mansplaining at the World Science Festival

Post by geldofc » Fri Jul 21, 3:46 2017

nice that he apologized.
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Re: "Let her speak, please!" - mansplaining at the World Science Festival

Post by Keen » Thu Jul 27, 9:04 2017

Really, mansplaining, that's the dumbest slang I have heard in the past 15 years. I'm any case they should each have their turn to speak I will say that it is wrong to interrupt ANYONE man or women, they shouldn't have interrupted and it was wrong

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Re: "Let her speak, please!" - mansplaining at the World Science Festival

Post by Nech » Thu Jul 27, 13:28 2017

Keen, it's not just interrupting though, and if that's all you think mansplaining is then you're missing the point. :P
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Re: "Let her speak, please!" - mansplaining at the World Science Festival

Post by Pikachu » Fri Aug 4, 20:44 2017

He was mansplaining to a cringeworthy degree. He didn't interrupt the men. This unconscious social conditioning is evidently so powerful, it requires him to be shouted at for him to even realize.

Where I have a problem is when it's applied to mostly female dominant spaces like Gender Studies class and the man gets shut down with "Mansplaining". Erm no, the one man in that class is the one who's struggling to be heard in that scenario.

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Re: "Let her speak, please!" - mansplaining at the World Science Festival

Post by Nech » Sun Aug 6, 6:17 2017

Pikachu wrote:
Fri Aug 4, 20:44 2017
He was mansplaining to a cringeworthy degree. He didn't interrupt the men. This unconscious social conditioning is evidently so powerful, it requires him to be shouted at for him to even realize.

Where I have a problem is when it's applied to mostly female dominant spaces like Gender Studies class and the man gets shut down with "Mansplaining". Erm no, the one man in that class is the one who's struggling to be heard in that scenario.
This may be anecdotal, but in my gender studies class no guys were shouted down (even though several should be because I'm pretty sure they were there purely to troll...).
Where there's smoke, there's fire. Just because you can't see it doesn't mean it doesn't exist. So just shut up, and bring some water.

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Re: "Let her speak, please!" - mansplaining at the World Science Festival

Post by Pikachu » Sun Aug 6, 8:40 2017

Nech wrote:
Sun Aug 6, 6:17 2017
Pikachu wrote:
Fri Aug 4, 20:44 2017
He was mansplaining to a cringeworthy degree. He didn't interrupt the men. This unconscious social conditioning is evidently so powerful, it requires him to be shouted at for him to even realize.

Where I have a problem is when it's applied to mostly female dominant spaces like Gender Studies class and the man gets shut down with "Mansplaining". Erm no, the one man in that class is the one who's struggling to be heard in that scenario.
This may be anecdotal, but in my gender studies class no guys were shouted down (even though several should be because I'm pretty sure they were there purely to troll...).
Maybe not in your class, but look at this article I read a few months ago:

https://medium.com/@jencoates/i-am-a-tr ... 2dd1907e42

Quotes:

Later during this trip I am having a conversation with my new friends about femininity. They are articulate and intelligent women. I’m grateful to be around them. Until I am told by one of them, angrily, that I am not really allowed to talk about femininity because I am a straight cis boy. It is not my place and it is not my territory. I should shut up and listen. Are these my people?

------

I am told there is something special — something ineffable — about Female Friendship. I am told that I could not understand or experience this.

---------

I am in a gender studies class. I am still bewildered that the subject I have been fixated on, reading about, and studying obsessively since my life began is now a thing my friends want to take classes on.
I am told that masculinity exists in opposition to femininity and that it is unequivocally toxic. I think about the cruel male “mentors” I’ve been assigned throughout my life I think about the football player’s roving knuckle, and hundreds and hundreds of other things.

I think also about the kind, self-sacrificing male mentors who have found me. And I think about the boys I stayed up late telling stories with. And the boys I kissed. And boys who supported me. And boys I supported. And hundreds and hundreds of other things. And I think about me.
I raise my hand and timidly, carefully disagree. I know what it looks like.
My professor rolls her eyes. The rest of the class are ciswomen; they laugh. The good qualities I’m talking about are actually femininity, they explain.

I say that I feel like claiming that self-sacrifice and kindness are feminine values that men are borrowing is like claiming that they are Jewish values that Buddhists are borrowing.
One of the students tells me that I can’t be objective about masculinity because I am a straight cis male, and that I should shut up and listen. Are these my people?


I mention to a cis feminist friend that I don’t think it’s cool to use “neckbeard” as a pejorative. I say I think it’s hypocritical. I say I know some wonderful, tender, thoughtful neckbearded humans. I also know some people who are very self-conscious about their neck hairs and can’t do much about them. I wonder if there are ways to criticize people based on their character without impugning the hairs that come out of them. She says I am mansplaining. She says I am Not-All-Men-ing.

She is furious. She tells me I am a straight cis male and I need to shut up and listen. What she is really furious about is being contradicted by someone who, according to their facebook profile, has a lower ranking on the intersectional discourse chart than she.

Do I have to out myself to be treated like a person worth listening to? To stop my cis classmates laughing at someone who’s reckoned with the boundaries and the dimensions of masculinity and femininity in ways they never had to? Do I need their permission to speak?
I genuinely don’t know.


-----

But do I want to join those hip intersectional circles that won’t have me until I disclose my most private experiences? That will tell me to shut up until I lay bare every year of dissociation and dysmorphia and dysphoria?
Do I need to be inspected and dissected by the people who laughed at me to receive my credential?


-----

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Re: "Let her speak, please!" - mansplaining at the World Science Festival

Post by Sonic# » Mon Aug 7, 11:38 2017

I agree with Nech. I've been the only guy in a gender studies class. I've been one of a couple. I've grappled hard with challenging ideas hat I disagreed with. When I did speak up, I found a generally receptive audience who returned the respect I gave.

Pikachu, two things. First, if the class was conducted as described, I disagree with it. The comments outside the classroom I also disagree with. Second, you've entirely omitted the subtext of these comments. They're directed at a transwoman who at the time appeared to be a cisgendered boy. "The one man in the class" in your example is a transwoman who suffers from people around her not understanding her situation. Not recognizing the possibility that meaningful differences might be invisible is a widespread problem, and it's significant in her narrative that lots of people are guilty of it. Feminists are not immune to this problem, of course.

I think it's hella problematic to use that as your example of "the one man in the class," since you're just repeating the same mistake the author ascribes to the class.

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Re: "Let her speak, please!" - mansplaining at the World Science Festival

Post by Pikachu » Sat Aug 12, 12:08 2017

Sonic# wrote:
Mon Aug 7, 11:38 2017
I agree with Nech. I've been the only guy in a gender studies class. I've been one of a couple. I've grappled hard with challenging ideas hat I disagreed with. When I did speak up, I found a generally receptive audience who returned the respect I gave.

Pikachu, two things. First, if the class was conducted as described, I disagree with it. The comments outside the classroom I also disagree with. Second, you've entirely omitted the subtext of these comments. They're directed at a transwoman who at the time appeared to be a cisgendered boy. "The one man in the class" in your example is a transwoman who suffers from people around her not understanding her situation. Not recognizing the possibility that meaningful differences might be invisible is a widespread problem, and it's significant in her narrative that lots of people are guilty of it. Feminists are not immune to this problem, of course.

I think it's hella problematic to use that as your example of "the one man in the class," since you're just repeating the same mistake the author ascribes to the class.
It doesn't matter what she is, it matters what they think. They think she's "the one man in the class" and tried to silence her because of it. So it's not problematic at all to use that as the example because I'm saying I disagree with mansplaining when used in the context of trying to silence someone perceived as the one man in the class. The "man" is outnumbered some twenty to one and they're still scared he'll dominate the discussion!

Give me some examples of what you spoke up about, as I suspect you didn't disagree with them to a large degree. Same with Nech.

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Re: "Let her speak, please!" - mansplaining at the World Science Festival

Post by Sonic# » Sat Aug 12, 13:06 2017

It doesn't matter what she is
Except that a big issue is that she's experiencing mistreatment because of her gender, and you're misgendering her.

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