What can I say…

Screenshot 2014-11-21 12.12.33
Photo Credit: World Bank Photo Collection via Compfight cc

Audrey Watter’s presentation Men Explaining Technology to Me: On Gender, Ed-Tech, and the Refusal to Be Silent  was, amazing, disturbing, powerful …. I really find it hard to put into words all the different emotions and feelings I had during this presentation….

I’ve read a number of thoughts/reactions of classmates:

Carmen’s post Can you Hear Me Now was powerful, provocative and inspirational – something that I’ve passed on to my oldest daughter to read – giving voice with no apology.

So where do we go from here?  Excuse me if I don’t take the “Miss America” approach, saying “Let’s just raise our girls to be more into computers.”

Reminds me of my mother – a women who fought for the rights of other women in the health care system – who was told to shut up and to be quiet so many times but who didn’t. Who suffered physical and mental abuse but never, ever, ever gave up – (Thanks for teaching me what it means to be a true heroine)

Jeremy’s post Making the Inhabitable Habitable  gives voice to how, as a white male we often dismiss what is happening

This is a really poor attitude to have, and I’m ashamed that I have dismissed it. Being a white male I am in large part excluded from being the focus of the bile that flows on the internet. Audrey Watters did an excellent job of portraying the real dangers apparent for women, children, and visible minorities on the internet.

Audrey’s presentation was very amazing – her descriptions, explanations and examples clearly demonstrated that this is not a “female” problem but a problem for all.

Angus’ post We’ve come a long way, but have so much further to go again raises the point that, although things have progressed, somewhat, we still have so much farther to go on so many fronts. Angus does a great job of summarizing some of the different ways that online gender problems are made even more problematic.

This is only the beginning and these issues and problems cannot be solved by pretending it doesn’t happen.

So true. We cannot continue to ignore these sorts of problems nor dismiss them. Events such as the Student First 2014 Anti-Bullying Forum held in Saskatoon where Alec Couros spoke about some of the serious issues around online identity including sexting and apps like Tinder for online hook-ups.

However, the most powerful piece I read was from Tammy whose post Speaking from my spot in the corner…. let the over sharing begin! was what prompted me to finally step up, well sit down, and post.

Sometimes, without context, it’s hard to make sense of things – so more oversharing…..

I have been deeply affected by violence against women as three very important women in my life, my sister, my mother and one of my daughters have been victims of sexual and physical violence – I have watched, shamefully, as people made fun of my mother for standing up for what was right and fought one too many fights because some guy figured it was okay to call my sister a “slut, whore, bitch” because she had the courage to speak out. I know, as a white male, I have no idea what it is like to be a female or what these attacks do but I have witnessed what it does – and struggled to find ways to help in some small way. When it happened to my daughter, I witnessed how insanely sexist, still after 30 years, the system is against women.

In my role as an administrator, I have also witnessed too many times the way acts of sexual aggression, inappropriate sexual harassment and bullying play out and, after not allowing “boys to be boys” been on the end of a few different threats for “making a big deal out of nothing” – and have resulted in my children being threatened and harassed.

What Can I Say?

As I was trying to figure out what to say, I was reminded that not so long ago I wrote an article where I discussed my own realization of using manspeak – I Was Ashamed – self-realization is hard and looking in the mirror to see reflected back the images you most detest is a sobering experience.

So when I read this article about another famous male  that flitted across my twitter stream, I wondered, just as Jeremy did in his post

While the internet has provided so much opportunity in so many ways, we should never allow ourselves to believe that with opportunity comes collateral damage. With all the innovation available, can it not be more possible for we, as a society to come together and support one another when marginalized?

Speaking out and supporting those who are brave enough to give voice to the issues is a first step as is questioning “common practice” that is wrong and offensive – (I’m ALWAYS offended by the You’re in Cougar Country promos I see but, until now, have just kept walking – I hang my head in shame)

Hope for a better future

Last week I had an incredible moment – I was walking home from the university with two of my daughters with me – something unimaginable for me as I grew up – both of them strong young women who will make a difference in the world. In continuing to give voice to the inequalities in the same way as Audrey Watters, Carmen, Tammy , their mother and grandmothers  have spoken out, there is hope that more and more people will speak up against the inequalities of so many in society. As a white male, I still am not always sure what I can do to support and advocate for change. Hopefully, by supporting people who are speaking out and being willing, as Jeremy suggests, to speak against those spreading hate, we will be able “to come together and support one another when marginalized.”

But without action, hope can be an empty wish – how will you support and help others to make a change?

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kellychris

I am a husband, father, son.... I am currently working on my PhD in Education - Curriculum and Instruction. My focus is teacher professional development and social media integration. I have a beautiful, supportive wife who has been my partner for 28 years. We have 8 wonderful children who are amazing individuals. Together, we are exploring the world around us, sharing our stories, and enjoying the journey!

6 Comments

  1. Nice synthesis of thoughts here Kelly! I found this our most difficult topic and I really couldn’t present my take without being honest about where it came from. I sat staring at a blank screen for a long time before I figured out where I wanted to go in my blog. I’m glad that you decided to join me in the over-share – if we can’t be honest, how will we ever overcome issues as individuals or society??

    • I agree – sharing is an important part of moving forward. I found it very difficult because of the emotions. I deleted a number of drafts that were half-finished. It’s such an important topic that, without honesty, only continues to be perpetuated. Thanks for you willingness to share on your post.

  2. From one father of daughters to another, I truly appreciate your post. It is indeed difficult to reflect on Audrey’s presentation in words only. Maybe this is why so many women don’t speak out, because it is so far into the emotional realm that words don’t begin to explain it all. I also deleted several drafts of my post, and I still don’t think I have it right.
    Please keep up the good work you are doing.

    • Thank you Angus – I will continue to do what I can as I know that so many others are doing. It is difficult, I know that it’s something that is rarely mentioned or discussed even though our family has lived through it in different ways. Supporting our daughters, wives and mothers is one thing, I believe, we can do to help move this forward and hopefully change what is currently happening in so many different areas. Thanks for the reply.

  3. Thanks for sharing your experiences Kelly. It’s a brave man who looks in the mirror first. Thanks for another thoughtful post.

  4. Thank you, Kelly. Your words are as powerful as what Audrey and Alex talked in this session. When I’m reading your words, it seems that I can feel a power too. You are a brave man, son and father. I don’t have children now. Every time, I ask my husband “do you want a boy or a girl”. He answered me “I want a girl, who is caring for parents more than a son. But if I have a girl, I will have more worries than a son”. I can feel his concern. Society is complicated. If we can make effort together to be against the “common practice”, we will have a pure society with respect and support to each other.

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