Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Gender Biases Suck!

Class started with the usual thoughts and reflections on yesterday’s events. I talked about how I felt very content about the resources Brown provides to their students, and that If I ever ended up going to Brown I would feel so supported because of all these centers on campus. I also loved that there are so many historical sites on Brown’s campus, I feel like if I ever decided to go to Brown I would be so proud of the marches and protests that occurred here. 

When we finished discussing yesterday’s activities we were all passed a deck of cards and split the classroom up into five groups. When I noticed Mary Grace giving everyone a sheet of paper I immediately realized what was going on. In my Speech 122 class that I took last semester we played this game. Basically, each table is given a different set of rules to the game. However, it is universal that the winner of each round will go up a table, and the loser will move down. 

I remembered that when I first played this game in my speech class I quickly realized that all the tables had different rules. And that the card dealer usually enforces the rules. There are also two types of people who play this game. The first one is the type that goes with the flow, and allows themselves to lose even if their rule from their original table proves that they won the round. The second type of person is the type that is extremely sure of themselves and stands by their guidelines at each table. If one person starts to disagree with them they stand by their argument and don’t budge. The person who stands by their point typically wins the round since people don’t want to argue or deal with the person getting upset. 

When playing the game, I used this to my advantage, and pretended to win each round. I would always try to make myself the card dealer as well so that people trusted my opinion more. When people would disagree with me I would stand by my belief and not budge. People didn’t want to deal with me so they gave in and let me win the round. 

After a few rounds of the game, we discussed within our tables what we observed about the game. I immediately spilled the beans and told my group what the trick was. They all said they suspected that as well, but weren’t sure if that was correct. Then Mary Grace pointed out something that I hadn’t thought about while playing the game. She said that instead of trying to be super competitive with all the members and trying to tear everyone down to get to the top, we should try to work together as an alternative. 

I was a little shocked with myself since a few days before, we did the scavenger hunt and we all assumed that it was a competition and decided to work against each other. I realized that women today often try to tear each other down instead of building each other up because it really is survival of the fittest out there. I think it’s important that we encourage girls to unite with each other and work with one another as a team.  

We then headed to the Brown University Students of Color Center. At this center, we met with Joshua Segui, J.D. who serves as the Director of the center. He told us about all the resources the Center offers. The Center aids as a gathering place for societies of color. Scholars are encouraged to make relationships with others at the center, advance in racial and ethnic awareness. They are also invigorated to make changes within their communities related to their issues.
Main Lounge
There were different rooms in the building dedicated to different ethnicities. These rooms served as a safe place, and area for these specific ethnicities to connect with each other and feel welcome. Each room held mementos and pieces of art from the certain cultures. For example, the LatinX room had an acoustic guitar, and catholic crosses on the wall.
Sarika playing the acoustic guitar

Then we headed back downstairs into a classroom where one of our TA’s, Imani Blake, lectured us on gender bias within the workplace. We learned that gender bias is the unequal treatment in employment based on their gender. There are many different patterns that occur in workplaces such as when a woman must prove it again, meaning when a woman must work harder to establish competence. Another pattern is called the maternal wall, which is when women are biased against once they have children. A double bind is when you can’t win either way, an example of this in the workplace is when a woman must choose between being liked or respected. The last pattern that women encounter in the work field are gender wars. Gender Wars are when these biases put women against women.

We often see that these patterns cause women to lose motivation, productivity, and promotions. These patterns occur every day, and the only way to stop these norms are to stop with one person at a time, and break the cycle. I imagine that the workforce would be so much more productive if these patterns didn’t exist. People would be less worried about what gender you are, or whether you are having children or not, and focus more on their actual jobs. People who are biased against would also be able to get promotions, and be recognized at an equal level as other sexes.

Soon it was time to grab lunch, and today we were eating with Mary Grace and our TA’s. We walked out of the center into the hot humid air of the day and quickly paced to the Ratty. At the Ratty we pushed tables together and had a huge lunch. It was nice to eat with each other since I had frequently been exclusively eating with the same people. This allowed me to socialize with different people, including my TA, Ashley. 

After eating lunch Ashley invited a few of us to grab some Boba tea with her before heading back to class. I wouldn’t describe myself as a Boba tea person, especially since most are made with milk. However, all the milk used in these teas were non-dairy! At first, I was just tagging along, but then I couldn’t help but try out one. Esme got an almond one that looked good, but I got the Classic Green Milk Tea. It was surprisingly tasty. Especially since it was so hot outside. I must stop back at that Boba place before I go home.

When we got to class, we were informed that the rest of class time was going to be dedicated to rehearsing for our Action Plan presentations. The first person who went up was my roommate, Maddie. She has been a part of the speech and debate club at her school, so she was confident with her public speaking skills. I aided her in figuring out her Action Plan previously, so I was excited to hear her presentation. Her Action Plan is to start a water polo team at her school. She is specifically starting a water polo team since it destroys gender norms. Most of the time men play very contact intense sports, such as football and soccer. Females are usually seen playing low contact sports such as tennis or cheer leading. Water polo is just like a mix of football and soccer in the water. Creating this girls water polo team will encourage girls to find an outlet for stress, and prove that women can also play high contact sports. I really love her Action Plan, and hope that everything goes great with her team. 

The next person who went up was a very sweet girl named “Emerald”. She is so smart and empowered; every time she participates in class I feel so moved by her words. I absolutely loved her presentation, she sang a song about fighting internet censorship in China. I thought that this was so courageous to do in front of people she’s only known for about a week. She also sang so beautifully, even though English is not her first language. She pronounced the words beautifully, and captured everyone’s hearts! I know that Emerald is going to be such an amazing, strong, and empowered woman, who will impact her community in positive ways.
Does it get any better than this?
After that class was out, we met up with Kendra at the famous Van Winkle Gates in front of the Main Green. We played around with different poses and took lots of pictures featuring our brand new Brown merchandise. My new hoodie is going to be perfect for Bay Area weather, especially during the winter. It is super insulated and warm!

Friday, I present my Action Plan, and I can say that since I am so passionate about my topic, and love the people around me, I don’t feel nervous at all. The people that surround me are so supportive, kind, and only want the best for me. 

There’s only two days left until I go home, and I already feel like I miss Brown. I’ve learned so much already, and made such great friendships along the way. It feels too soon to be saying goodbye to these wonderful people. I’m going to miss so much about Brown, I love the atmosphere and I love the people. I have so much respect and appreciation of this place. When I leave I’m going to be taking a piece of Brown back home with me, a piece of brown that will stay with me forever.

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