“Well, Actually”: 3 Things You Wish Men Stopped Doing in Class

What do that guy in your class who repeats your idea and gets credit for it, that guy who shares his unique perspective on feminism for 15 minutes, and that guy who contradicts everything the female professor is saying all have in common? I wrote an article about them.

Sometimes men do annoying stuff during class. This is a different kind of annoying than the one you would feel if the person sitting next to you were to whip out carrots and start crunching right when the professor is talking. It's the kind of annoying that is frustrating, adds up over time and you can't really do something about. After all, you can't really go up to someone and ask them to not speak for 15 minutes during conference where everybody else is being careful about not taking up too much time. So you write an article about it and dedicate to "that annoying guy in conference" because every conference has at least one.

1. Giving Speeches

Tick tock. The conference section only lasts 50 minutes and has 30 people in it that need to get their participation marks. Usually, people try to be respectful and are mindful of how long they are taking while making a point. Some of us are even guilty of rushing through our answers just to not take up everybody else’s time.

Except for that guy. He’s got things to say and he has to say them right now, no matter how long it takes. He is also completely unaware of the eye rolls and the sighs people give when he is still talking after the 10 minute mark. It’s not that we are not interested in hearing your ideas or that we wish the TA would cut you off. You should be mindful of the privileges that allow you to talk and get listened to for 15 minutes while some people might not even get a chance to get their voices heard at all.

2. Repeat What You Just Said and Get All The Credit

You have probably experienced something like this: You say something. Nobody really pays attention to it. A man repeats the exact same thing you said. Everybody laughs or appreciates his point or tells him how smart he is. He gets all the credit.

This happens so often that it even has a name: "hepeating". It's when a man repeats what you have already said and gets the praise for it. According to an article by Allure, "to beat the hepeat, women must repeat what other women say giving her credit before a man has time to hepeat it". Acknowledging what other women in the class have already said and giving them credit can help break the cycle of hepeating. 

I am always on the lookout for people doing this to me or other people and ready to call them out and amplify other voices and you should too.

3. Being Disrespectful Towards the Female Prof/TA

You should be asking your professors questions. They even encourage you to question the points they make. But sometimes you see this one guy just being straight up disrespectful towards a female professor or TA. He also keeps on questioning everything they are saying and being condescending.

People are generally more willing to take the authority of men more seriously and to accept the things they say as true. Women even can find themselves doing this thanks to internalized misogyny. If you ever find yourself not taking something a woman is saying seriously, but would do if a man were saying the same thing instead, be aware that this is a result of existing structures in our society. And to the men who do this, stop it and start listening to women, goddammit. 

 

Annoyance is a common feeling for women and it is usually followed by frustration and reluctant acceptance. Accepting that these types of things will keep happening to you and the only thing you can do is to not let them get to you.

But sometimes the frustration gets too much, you don't want to just accept it, you get tired of fighting to get even the basic amount of respect, and things do get to you.

Thankfully, there are many feminist corners of the internet where we can participate in a collective sigh and start to breathe again. Hopefully, this article can be a space to breathe. 

Remember that your ideas matter and you deserve to be heard. I never raised my hand in any of my classes for the first two years of university. It took me years to realize that things I have to say do matter. My ideas were always questioned so I started questioning myself and told myself that I should listen instead of speak, while others got to share their ideas.

As teachers belittled my opinions, answered me with condescension or simply ignored my raised hands, I took this as an evaluation of my own intelligence and performance. Realizing that these were things other women also experienced in the education system at varying degrees taught me to not take it personally and to fight against it, fight for my right to get an answer, the respect I deserve and an education. After a while, it becomes too painful to not say anything in class, not say anything when that guy steals your idea or not say anything at all. Here's to raising our hands, sharing our ideas and demanding credit for them.

 

Photos obtained from:

https://www.pexels.com/photo/adolescent-adult-beauty-blur-459971/

https://www.alamy.com/stock-photo-student-male-raising-his-hand-in-unive...

https://www.gettyimages.ca/detail/photo/students-questioning-professor-i...