Impossibility of Opinion

Welcome to the 21st century.  You have many freedoms and rights– just don’t cross the line and offend anyone.  Why you ask?  Because society has a mindset that everyone is entitled to express an opinion, no matter how little thought they put in or how superficial and unrelated it is.  So no matter how objective you try to be or how unoffensive you strive to be, someone somewhere will roll their eyeballs and strike down your opinion on the basis of “malicious intentions.”

3280622749_5bda7d59aa_bThis picture titled “Internet’s universe” is by Flickr user CLUC.  I take no credit for this!!

As of late, I have been dedicating about an hour and a half researching gender-related issues.  In an Op-Ed post by Emma Pierson to the New York Times titled “How to Get More Women to Join the Debate” she asserts that her research on the topic of gender-bias has led her to discover several things about society:

1) women are less likely to express their opinions online under their full names,

2) the opinions written by female commenters on serious worldly issues are more meticulous and well-liked,

3) if listened to, the opinions of women drastically improve group decisions, yet

4) women express their opinions in any form of debate or commentary far less than men and

5) outspoken women trying to get other females to join in debates are often harassed and viciously attacked on accounts of being “feminists,” which in this day and age has become synonymous to “man-haters.”

In attempts to be subjective, it is worth noting that the comments from women on education or information-based sites (a majority of Pierson’s evidence comes from these sites) are more intellectual and less superficial as the comments of entertainment and appearance-focused sites.   However, this pattern also applies to the male population– educated websites and articles enthrall knowledgeable individuals, be it male or female.   Additionally, I browsed around the comments on several other opinion editorials and social media sites, namely YouTube, (I did not look for specific topics) and noticed that the majority of women that expressed their opinions (qualifying, refuting, or agreeing with the work) did not post with their full names and the ones who did received less likes for stating similar opinions.  Not only that but also there was several female commenters were met with comments bashing the female gender and discrediting them just based on gender.  So why is it that women’s words can bear so much weight and thought, yet the outspoken individuals are the ones attracting hate?

Well, perhaps the largest part is that society’s instilled biases belittle and condescend the female gender.  A few months ago, a YouTuber I follow, Emily Graslie of the BrainScoop, questioned why female content creators were so scarce.  The reasons I can come up with include: society, American society and reality television especially, teaches people to expect women to be centered on domestic roles, represents them as sex, and expects all females to be superficial “eye candy.”  And although most women have been allowed rights and careers outside of domestic sectors rather recently in most cultures (give or take 200 years– and some cultures haven’t even accepted that women can be more than domestic children-“rearers”), this attitude towards approximately half of the world’s population is unacceptable.

In two videos, one by Ms. Graslie and a reply to it by Cristen Conger (please take the time to watch both videos, they’re only about 10 minutes total), they analyze and question society and its prejudice.

Conclusions: Cristen mentions credibility.  Women are seen as less credible and often scrutinized solely on their looks, while disregarding the factual aims of the content.  Pierson concludes that women are treated this way for a variety of reasons stemming from social bias, society’s entitlement to harassing women on account of their gender, and the assumption that women speaking up are seen as less competent and/or too outspoken.  What can we, both men and women, do to reform these problems?  How do we make people care enough to see the effects of their actions and make a change?

It is as if society views women as lesser and people expect there to be less consequence in their actions towards women.  Why?

A/N:  This was a little bit of a quick-write rant of mine (aka sorry if my ideas were too many stars and not enough constellations; and please forgive me for any grammatical or spelling errors), but I hope it gives you something to think and hopefully talk about.  Let me know if I was too one-sided.  Also, I am writing just from the perspective that I am dealing with.  I know there is an incredibly diverse population full of minorities out there that feel singled out from similar prejudice-influenced issues.  Feel free to leave any kind of comments or rants!



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