How we talk about ourselves and others actually shapes, at an unconscious level, our truth.
That one sentence always gives me pause for thought. What exactly is ‘truth’? Facts, in the hands of scientists, are carefully gathered, peer reviewed and tested. When a scientist presents a body of information as ‘fact’ – they actually mean it’s our current best position. Science is built on the premise of good data gathering, patterning, developing robust theory, then testing and challenging the theory. It’s probably why it’s such a reliable means of contributing to our evolution. So what then is our truth?
Human behaviour is hard to unpack, measure, understand and to identify causal relationships that drive us. Yet we all walk around knowing a collection of truths that shape our behaviour. “Women are like this”, “men do that”, “I should behave like this”, “she shouldn’t behave like that”.
The truth is that gender related issues remain remarkably intransigent in many ways, despite changes to policy, unconscious bias training, gallons of media coverage and validated research on why the change is important for men and women.
So here’s some simple advice for calling expressions that don’t help:
When confronted with a situation which feels sexist and you don’t feel able to deal with it constructively:
Identify a context/people where you are consistently able to remain constructive even when others aren’t
Then copy and paste.
The method will work if you tell yourself different stories.
When you blame someone else for how you feel, they have all the power.
When you own your own story, and you practice rewriting it, you have all the power.
AND IF PERSISTENT SEXISM PREVAILS IN YOUR WORK PLACE, FAMILY OR COMMUNITY, LEAVE.
You are worth more than this, hard as it may seem at the time.
And we are always here to help if you find yourself seemingly stuck.
Fabian Dattner, Dattner Group
What Dattner Group can do to help
Author, Fabian Dattner, Founding partner Dattner Group, Co Founder Homeward Bound