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    As a woman, I had already been aware of certain aspects of sexism that can take place on college campuses going into my college experience. That’s why I was so relieved to see all the work that students and faculty have put into combating those issues here on campus with great resources like the Women and Gender Advocacy Center in the LSC.

    Recently though, I started experiencing a lot of subtle sexism from my male peers in different classes, which really started to bother me. I found myself often getting spoken over and interrupted in class discussions. I watched as I and a few other girls in a classroom full of boys hesitated to raise our hands or speak up and waited. Once we did get the courage to raise a hand, as our male professor chose every male student’s hand before our own.

    After a few weeks passed, it really got me thinking: are they even aware that this is happening, that they’re doing this? Do they know what it feels like to be talked over or dismissed, for their arm to get tired waiting to contribute to a discussion?

    In fact, there have been studies which show that the male brain registers the female voice differently and actually finds it to be much more complex and therefore difficult to understand than other male voices. Some studies even show that the female brain prefers the male voice, too. (I know right? The odds really are stacked against us here!)

    I have to confess, I didn’t just happen upon these studies while reading from academic journals in my free time or anything—I actually remembered it from an episode of Grey’s Anatomy (which I highly recommend by the way, season 12 episode 9 is the one I’m referring to, but you might as well watch all 14 seasons and counting while you’re at it).

    Still, the studies are there. All you have to do is Google ‘studies of the female voice’ and you’ll be met with a variety of sources that all make similar reports. There’s a lot of scientific mumbo jumbo involved about vocal cords and different parts of the brain, but what it all boils down to is that women have a more difficult time than men in getting our voices heard no matter which way you slice it.

    So, what now? What do I, or rather what do we as women in college do now that we have this information?

    Step One: Be confident in your voice! Don’t get discouraged by those interruptions— fight to get your perspectives heard because they are just as important as what the boys     have to say.

    Step Two: Lift each other up! Encourage your female peers to speak up when they have     something to say—when you see her getting interrupted or ignored, don’t be afraid to say, “I’d like to hear what she has to contribute.

    Step Three: Try not to take it personally! Not all, I’d even venture to say most, of the boys on our campus are doing it intentionally—don’t get me wrong, there absolutely are some who are, and, in those situations, I’d say speaking up is even more important.

    Step Four: Have conversations with your male peers about it! Your friends, your     brothers, your father, your other male relatives even—it’s never too late to educate.

    Step Five: Take these skills past college! Use them in the workplace, in your family, in your social circle—speaking up will always be harder for us but it doesn’t have to be impossible!

Hello! I'm a junior working on my degree in Creative Writing. I spend a lot of my free time on social media (which you can feel free to follow @jamieleemoss on Instagram and Twitter) and watching any and every show on Netflix, but I'm so excited to be spending some of that free time writing for this awesome site!
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