Taking a Stand for What You Believe In . . .

isn’t always the easiest thing to do. It is fairly easy to read something like Michael Noer’s recent article in Forbes magazine, be highly offended and feel the need to speak out. It was overtly sexist, since the author tried to make readers believe that marriages to a career-minded women are inherently doomed. Many people – men and women alike – reacted badly to the article so taking a stand was not risky. In a blog post entitled Confused thoughts on gender, libraries and tech, Meredith Farkas points out that it is really the subtle forms of sexism that take place every day that are much scarier and much harder to deal with. People tend not to stand up to these types of behaviors – sometimes you don’t even realize how inappropriate or hurtful they were until later when you replay events in your head. Meredith tells a story about how during an interview a library director told her that her husband had designed a nice web site for her when she had in fact done it herself. One has to wonder why anyone would assume that her husband had created the site (especially since Meredith has her technical qualifications listed on her resume). Her point, however, is that we women often react poorly to this type of sexist behavior, but may not immediately label it as sexist, don’t say anything, and end up feeling as if the entire incident was our own fault. This is where it becomes much harder to stand up and challenge the inappropriate comments or behaviors. I know that I have difficulty with this.

So much like Meredith, I find myself conflicted by the issue of gender and sexism. This was what I was trying to express is my post, The Gender Issue. I think that Meredith expresses the confusion better – and I find it comforting to know that other women find it difficult to deal with this issue too. Meanwhile, I’m trying to be better – to not let sexist behavior slide – to speak out against unfair and unjust behavior, but it is a hard thing to do.

Ultimately, I recommend not only Meredith’s article, but the thought-provoking comments on the post. I have to believe that all of these discussions are steps in the right direction.

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