food for thought: the good and the bad (online and off)

We may not all like the term “mansplaining” to describe the tendency of some men to speak authoritatively on subjects about which they may not be authoritative, but Lucy Vernasco @ Bitch Media offers us seven studies that demonstrate the existence of such a phenomenon:

While individual women might feel like they’re the only ones frustrated at being ignored or interrupted, there are numbers that show it happens all the time: studies show that men interrupt women during meetings, while in groups with friends, and while speaking one-on-one. In the interest of showing how mansplaining is a proven phenomena, I’ve gathered seven studies that show how men often dominate conversations.

Samantha Allen @ The Daily Dot reminds us in For Women on the Internet, It Doesn’t Get Better that (certain) men dominating conversations is sometimes on the lesser-consequences end of the spectrum of challenges we face being in public (online or off) while female:

In the West, we still tend to think that social progress is like river tubing, we just have to hop on board, pop open a brew, and float to Shangri-La. Women’s rights? Check! Civil rights? We passed that ages ago! LGBT equality? Just relax, man! We’ll get there.

The sobering truth is that things don’t get better on their own, no matter what Dan Savage wants you to believe. In fact, if you belong to a member of a marginalized group, you probably are acutely aware that things can get worse. Much worse. If, like me, you’re a woman on the Internet, you’re probably starting to realize just how bad things can get.

Part of dealing with the truth of harassment and inequality online and off is, of course, acknowledging there is a social problem that needs a social solution — and being clear and consistent following through. Galen Charlton @ Meta Interchange points out that it’s not enough to have a Code of Conduct on the books; as a community we actually have to make people aware of it and hold them accountable if they violate those community standards:

A key aspect of many of the anti-harassment policies and codes of conduct that have been adopted by conferences and conventions recently is that the policy applies to all event participants. There is no reason to expect that an invited keynote speaker or celebrity will automatically not cross lines — and there have been severalincidents where conference headliners have erred (or worse).

There’s also hope to be found in research indicating that our young people are actually more caring online participants than are their elders. Diane Stirling @ the University of Syracuse iSchool shares research showing that “young people are careful and conscientious about how they present themselves in online communications.” 

Younger people are expressive, but also careful in their choice of language and so conscientious about how they are represented online, evidence by their correcting typos and adjusting messages and responses based on specific communication environments, the professor said. Those patterns “may suggest that people under 30 are very aware of the different online environments they are using, and that they recognize that if on a cell phone, short simple, and sweet will do, but if in an online game, there’s a chance to more completely round out their character–the presentation of their self to others.”

h/t to @NixoNARA for the link.

And finally, the Women’s Collections Roundtable @ SAA encourages us to Discover Archives on Tumblr! (As a transplanted local, I’m a devoted follower of the City of Boston Archives myself. What library, archives, and/or history Tumblrs do you follow?

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