Gender Inequality in Conversations

While I usually avoid American politics in my blog posts, there is simply no way of avoiding politics here because the 2016 presidential election made me aware of the topic I discuss in this post. Namely, after the first debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, several of my friends saw in Trump the same issue they see with many other males—manterrupting.

For those of us who aren’t familiar with the word I just mentioned, manterruption is a word used to describe how men tend to dominate conversations by frequently interrupting women. Manterruption is one of the many ways that some men have a tendency to dominate conversations and relationships, whether some of us realize that or not. Such domination, in turn, shows a lack of respect for the women who men interact with.

In the short period of time that I have been aware of this issue, I’ve often noticed several types of responses from fellow men who feel like they are being attacked when the topic of manterruption comes up:

  1. Claim that they don’t manterrupt.
  2. Claim that manterruption is a false concept.
  3. Use the whole manterruption topic as an excuse to bash feminism in one form or another.
  4. Use the manterruption topic to claim that people are being soft or “politically correct.”

While there are other types of negative responses to the topic of manterruption, what I mentioned here are just a few of the major types of responses that I usually notice.

If you have a hard time believing what I just said, all you need to do is look at the reviews for the “Woman Interrupted” app on Google Play and you will see all three types of responses to manterruption (few of the reviews address the quality of the app itself). If this blog post were to ever “go viral,” my guess is that readers would see for themselves all three types of negative responses, and few responses which call for self-evaluation to see whether you manterrupt (if you are a man like me, of course).

But for those of us who are tempted to respond to the issue in a negative way, I ask all of you to at least give me room for a response and a plea.

The response is that talk of manterruption is not false or feminism. It is a fact. For decades, scholars have written about how men often interrupt in conversations with women. If you have trouble believing me, you can message my blog’s page on Facebook or e-mail me at blindinjustice2017@gmail.com and I can provide you with some of the widely cited scholarly books and articles that discuss this topic.

The plea is to please at least make the effort to be conscious of your conversations, and spot where you have a tendency to interrupt or be interrupted. I make that plea partially because of my own personal experiences with manterruption—through being conscious of when I interrupt, I made the realization that most of my interruptions occurred when I talked with women. It was an embarrassing realization, but a realization that hopefully enables me to have the egalitarian friendships I so desperately want. I hope that others take me up on this plea.

If our society wants to end the continued lack of egalitarianism in our cross-gender relationships, we need to be aware of the inequalities that do exist (such as in conversation through manterrupting), and then deal with those inequalities. I hope that this post motivates at least a few of you to deal with issues like manterruption, and hopefully get closer to achieving egalitarian relationships with everyone.

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