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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Nottingham chapter.

I think that…

Maybe we could? –

I’m not sure… but what if?

Sorry, I just wanted to say uhm –

I have something to say. Yes – and better than that,

I have something interesting to say.

Just as I am writing this and explaining the article, my male housemate has just interrupted me – how ironic haha!

Recently I have been reflecting on how I present myself: in different social spheres, conversations with friends and even professional emails. I have noticed a pattern in how I have become passive and tend to lack self-confidence in conversations, particularly with men.

This year I am the President of UoN Filmmaking Society – I absolutely love running the society. However, I had many reservations about being a woman of colour in a leadership position, connected to an industry that is typically white male dominated.

Despite my leadership status, I find that at times I am interrupted, talked over, or undermined in a way that I don’t think my male committee members would be. As a consequence, I began to lack self-esteem and question whether I actually knew what I was talking about. After talking with my girl-friends about this, I found that they had experienced similar in friendships, university classes and in their places of work.

Perhaps this is rooted in androcentric language biases within our society. To help prove to myself that I was not going crazy, I did some research on linguistic studies observing the relationship between language and gender in conversations.

Rosenblum (1986) observes that “men are more likely to interrupt and overlap women’s speech than the reverse”.

Sometimes I think, should I even be so upset about it? – well apparently, I should!

Octigan and Niederman (1979) validate this feeling as they state that “an interruption or overlap is taken as a violation and a sign of conversational dominance.”

There we go girls – we have actual studies proving that we are not wrong about feeling that there is a pattern of being interrupted or talked over.

You know what? Not only do I think I should not be interrupted because I think it is rude, but also because I think my girl-friends and I have interesting things to say!

We have opinions, observations, interests, wit and charm – we are absolutely worthwhile being listened to.

Sometimes my friends and I will be talking about something such as music and find that our voices become muted as soon as the discussion enters a genre or artist that the men around us think they know more about or are more educated about. Feeling embarrassed and ignorant, we withdraw from the conversation as it digresses into a mansplain apocalypse.

By no means do I intend for this article to come across as a complete slander on all the men in my life – I love my guy friends and the majority of them give me the time of day to hear what I have to say.

So, what can men do to become a better ally to women in conversations?

When we are talking – hear what we have to say and better yet, actually listen to what we are saying and wait until after we have finished speaking to add to the conversation. Ask questions, learn from what women have to say about their experiences and call your mates out if you notice that they are talking over someone or mansplaining.

I hope this article has concluded that women actually do have interesting things to say – now listen!

Priya Joshi

Nottingham '23

Hi I'm Priya and I'm a 3rd year English student at the University of Nottingham! Lover of all things filmmaking and mental health activism <3