Subconscious sexism

Sep 21, 2019 149 Comments

Have been noticing this a lot during meetings and other interactions in office- Men usually look at other men while talking/explaining even if I'm the one who has asked the question. I don't know if this is intentional, maybe not but it's really beginning to bother me. Has anyone else faced similar issues? How did you deal with it?

Edit: Some responses completely miss the point. I'm not talking about "staring". It's just that they subconsciously address the men instead of who has asked the question.

comments

Want to comment? LOG IN or SIGN UP
TOP 149 Comments
  • #metoo

    A problem women created.
    Sep 21, 2019 42
    • Amazon lollolol
      Also I never said about walk in the park at 7pm? It was walk around the block in broad daylight and office timings; come to Seattle where you get to see only once in a while. We spend more than half of our life at work (8-12 hours of awake time), workplace should not be something where I hate coming because according to someone everything should be formal. No coffee breaks among people or no work talk while on a coffee break as you are not inclusive. There are a thousands of places where work talk can happen between two colleagues which is not their workdesk or a meeting room. Do you want to restrict all work related conversations to these places as everything else will be informal?

      Also, restricting happy hours outside work timings. I believe people are consuming alcohol at happy hours, we can have a group of colleagues meet outside of work and have drinks, what’s wrong with that or should I restrict all my personal interactions and become a work robot for most active time of my life that I spend.
      Sep 22, 2019
    • @bluffjezoz just wants everyone else to be miserable too.
      Sep 22, 2019
    • Neurocrine bluffjezoz
      @lolol I see your point. I assumed a walk in the park is outside work timings, don't know Seattle specific culture, sorry :)

      I think you extrapolated my point. I didn't say meetings should only be confined to desks or meeting rooms. Of course there are plenty of meeting spaces across the office and many of them are open spaces. So long as the meetings are professional, it's fine. I would discourage people meeting outside work hours taking a walk at the park, which is what I assumed. Sorry about that.

      I don't know about happy hours outside work timings. It's a lose-lose situation. I know many people prefer that and many don't. Those who prefer it tend to form better connections with their manager or co-workers and those who don't may be subconsciously penalized. I personally never schedule anything after 5pm unless absolutely necessary, as I consider it as personal time. I also try to limit my judgements around people if they are not super social and I always give reviews based on work, not how much someone interacted with me or the things s/he told me at happy hours.
      Sep 22, 2019
    • Neurocrine bluffjezoz
      @Atinlay2 I think we disagree with each other on most aspects. I tend to keep my professional and personal lives pretty segregated and I like it that way. Many people want to make workplace their second home, which is also fine. To each his own I guess. Happy Sunday :)
      Sep 22, 2019
    • There’s a difference between trying to make it a 2nd home and walking around thinking your co-workers are your enemies.

      Some of my best friends I have met over the years have been at work. People you want to hang out with and look forward to seeing.
      Sep 22, 2019
  • I have a strict zero communication policy with women at work. Fortunately there are very few where I work now(except in recruiting) so it’s not a big issue. And I make enough money for the firm that I can basically do whatever I like.
    I do this because at my old job (about 5 years ago) I was forced out by a woman who claimed sexual harassment to her, and she had absolutely no proof, but hr was forced to side with her and paid me to leave. When I left she took my place. It was a very calculated move on her part but in the current climate it’s going to win no matter what.
    Sep 21, 2019 4
    • ^This
      Sep 21, 2019
    • Never judge by one situation and one woman. This is wrong summary you made.
      Sep 21, 2019
    • Never judge all situations by one man
      Sep 21, 2019
    • Amazon lollolol
      This & the one by fatSchlon!
      Sep 22, 2019
  • New xBeL85
    A lot of men feel more comfortable talking to other men, there's less sexual tension/opportunity for something to be taken the wrong way. In tech men are probably even less comfortable.

    Not saying this is true 100% of the time because there are definitely sexist assholes out there.
    Sep 21, 2019 9
    • So men get punished for you being a woman? That’s even more ridiculous
      Sep 21, 2019
    • Cisco testing_
      That’s not what me too is about. It’s about harassment and abuse not gender
      Sep 21, 2019
    • Who mentioned me too?
      Sep 21, 2019
    • New xBeL85
      I'm sure it can be frustrating as a woman. Just wanted to give an explanation behind why well intentioned people would do that.
      Sep 21, 2019
    • New xBeL85
      Regarding me too, we are in a climate where men feel nervous about crossing blurred lines with behavior that could be interpreted as harassment. Because of that men may subconsciously try to avoid women even more in the workplace. Honestly don't know how much of a role it actually plays.
      Sep 21, 2019
  • More than that, man are afraid to just talk to me, even to look at me. Right. That's so crazy. I feel sooo weird.
    So, let me know, if anybody found solution to this problem
    Sep 21, 2019 6
    • They don't ask me a question. They are trying to avoid and ignore me
      Sep 21, 2019
    • Microsoft QrXg61
      Doesn’t matter. When it’s your chance to ask, you ask or ignore? Somebody needs to break the ice.
      Sep 21, 2019
    • New opklnm
      Lol. Sorry Cepheid: it’s a real thing in all professions - consulting’, law, biomedicine, academia... you name it. Don’t let some idiots invalidate what you’re experiencing. Find a woman mentor, address, strategize growth.

      Others:
      Just because you’re not experiencing it does not mean you can redirect the problem based on false assumptions.
      Sep 21, 2019
    • @opklnm. Thank you for understanding 😉
      Sep 21, 2019
    • Intel LEtestar
      I like how all questions about what I work on are always framed as though I couldn’t possibly have ownership/decision making power over it.
      Sep 24, 2019
  • Walmart QTFP86
    Dear OP,
    Every time you bring this prejudice, you are alienating innocent men from acting natural without any ill will toward their female colleagues. This helps no one. Believe me, it is tough for straight noble gentlemen as well in today’s complicated world of what-if-she-sue world. If they look at you then it will be either picking on or staring...
    Sep 21, 2019 11
    • Neurocrine bluffjezoz
      This is why I mentioned looking at everyone to make them feel involved :)

      I don't think OP was desperate to find a pattern, I think she found a pattern and others agreed to it. Again, not having thought about something doesn't deny it's existence.

      In another comment, someone was referring to cases of female harassing men. For a long time, the world did not think about it as harassment but we do now. That's how we progress :)

      I appreciate you encouraging people to speak up and trust you. What you shouldn't be afraid of is people becoming more aware and demanding an inclusive environment.
      Sep 21, 2019
    • Google saturdays
      Well said @bluffjezoz

      I’m thinking that anytime a gender post comes up, there needs to be a disclaimer to soothe men and women who think that the OP is generalizing against all men. I’m thinking about takeaways from reading comments like @QTFP’s. There’s been a lot of comments that seem to want to discredit OP or discourage stories about patterns. I’m trying to understand where these perspectives are coming from and what kind of disclaimer is needed so that we can rationally and calmly talk about gender issues, more unity, less defensiveness.
      Sep 21, 2019
    • Neurocrine bluffjezoz
      @saturdays I think a lot of men mistook the #metoo movement as something against men when it wasn't. I don't understand why people think something in favor of women has to be something against men (or vice versa). I also wouldn't deny the fact that a few females took advantage of the situation and a few innocent men got into the fire because of that (a classic case of a few bad apples ruin things). However, the movement was largely successful in making the world aware if how common sexual and other forms of harassment are, at workplaces and outside.

      I felt sad to read that @qtfp86 had to put a disclaimer when he used to word 'dear'. It's also sad to see from a few other comments here how men are afraid to interact with women at the workplaces. I think while the movement was to demand inclusivity and equal rights, it made a few men fearful of the harsh consequences. I hope everyone takes this movement in good faith and what it was originally meant to be - equal opportunity and inclusivity for all.
      Sep 21, 2019
    • You answered your own questions. Also many women mistook #metoo as a chance to burn down some men.
      Sep 21, 2019
    • Neurocrine bluffjezoz
      @Atinlay2 I never denied that :) However, that should not stop anyone from raising concerns or people to stop working towards inclusive environments. The movement helped trigger something that had been ignored for a long time and made people aware of how rampant sexual harassment was, especially by men towards women.

      Shame on those men who have dominated and harassed women. Also shame on those women who turned a great movement towards personal gains.
      Sep 21, 2019
  • Amazon lollolol
    Agree it is subconscious bias, male here and I was in a meeting room yesterday with 2 other males and 1 female. I realized 15 min into the meeting that I just kind of ignored the female. Then made additional effort to include her. This was enhanced by the fact that she herself was not speaking up!
    Sep 21, 2019 14
    • @Uber why do you think so?
      Sep 21, 2019
    • Well in the US (assuming you are working in US) most tech teams are always < 30 % female. So you kind of have to make yourself more assertive and be heard
      Sep 21, 2019
    • Yeah, I am trying, but it is hard. Nobody (guys) take me serious and it is frustrating
      Sep 21, 2019
    • I can’t imagine why! 🙄
      Sep 22, 2019
    • It would be very interesting to segregate teams based on gender and see how it works for everyone
      Sep 22, 2019
  • This comment was deleted by original commenter.

    • Clover Health sinkinship
      The comment below yours is why there's HR training. This behavior is not. HR training is not that vague.
      Sep 22, 2019
  • Microsoft Zeddicus
    Perhaps they’re just more comfortable staring at other men?

    It took me a while to get used to looking straight at people when talking to them. I’d constantly avert my gaze or look down. This was particularly a thing with the opposite sex.

    There’s also an element of it just being more comfortable because eye contact with some person who didn’t actually ask the question means less “pressure” to answer properly.

    That aside, if a person’s nature is to look at anybody but the asker... when you ask a question in a room where there are more males than females, basic probability says the person is likely to look at a male.
    Sep 21, 2019 4
    • Looks like. But like 80% of them? Doesn't seem weird?
      Sep 21, 2019
    • Microsoft Zeddicus
      It’s an actual thing. No matter what certain ideologies today claim, relating with the opposite sex is usually a little different, without conscious effort to mitigate that.

      So it wouldn’t surprise me that many men have that unconscious impulse and not all make conscious effort to suppress it.
      Sep 21, 2019
    • Microsoft Zeddicus
      I should add that some people actually consciously avoid looking at women for extended periods as an effort to not come across as creepy.
      Sep 21, 2019
    • Yeah, exactly. Avoid! I feel after those so bad, like I doesn't mean anything. Seriously. They try to avoid me, even I am in the team and doing the same job they are!
      Sep 21, 2019
  • Microsoft / Eng AWHv50
    These days, I think it’s less sexism and more fear of HR unfortunately.
    Sep 21, 2019 0
  • Pinterest
    ʇsǝɹǝʇuıԀ

    Pinterest

    PRE
    Google
    ʇsǝɹǝʇuıԀmore
    Female here; FAANG for 13 years, PIN for the last 4. Men literally cannot win. If a man only addresses the women in the room, he would be accused of harassment. If men started their own "Men@" group, the leaders would be fired. It's exhausting to hear constant allegations agaisnt men. And I'm a woman. I fear for those of us who have sons.
    Sep 21, 2019 2
    • ^This. Well said. Being a man is damn near terrifying at work.
      Sep 21, 2019
    • Google saturdays
      “constant allegations against men” > OP’s experience sounds like a pattern that women face. Sure maybe it’s exhausting but there is a lot of room for growth in creating workplace fairness. I feel hopeful that there has been a lot of progress made in the last few years. Yes there may be growing pains and in this process, it is critical that men are also given space to be a part of making a better workplace for all. I don’t think the solution here is to discourage people like OP from bringing up patterns, but rather something that can let everyone feel heard and understood.
      Sep 21, 2019

Salary
Comparison

    Real time salary information from verified employees