Who Has Permission To Speak

Though this video is dated much of what it address still exists today.  As a woman I have become used to having my statements interrupted.  Routinely men feel that they are within their right to interrupt women when we speak, because what we have to say is naturally of less value.  This of course is based in a hierarchal valuing of bodies that always privileges males.

I have even been presumptuously told that interrupting me was acceptable because with their keen knowledge and foresight they were aware of what I intended to say; and therefore there was no need for me to finish my thought.  The ridiculousness of testicles equalling automatic precognition seems quite obvious to me, but apparently quite logical to men.

I am sure that for most women this is an experience that we all communally share.  The silencing can come in many forms, direct interruption, or criticism of our tone.  How many times has a powerful woman been told that her voice has a nagging or whining quality to it?  This reduces us to our biology and renders our opinions irrelevant. 

Many women have become jaded and simply accepted this silencing without further thought.  This is a mistake.  When we allow men to control the conversation we are granting them power to control our social discourse.  If men can always decide what is and isn’t relevant conversation our issues will never be significantly addressed. 

Fear of being disciplined is not an excuse to become subservient.  It takes courage to speak truth to power, but when we consider what is at stake, it is an act of gender annihilation to remain silent.  Men will not engage about the harms of domestic violence, rape, pay inequity, childcare, femicide, and  sexual harassment; these are womens issues.  Even when we are speaking about benign subjects their interruption is a co option of our space and an expression of male privilege.  It has far reaching implications because it infers that womens needs and concerns are secondary to their thought processes.  The man that does not value your mind, views you as a fuckable object, or a mother replacement.

The next time you are interrupted look at the man who had the temerity to think that his words somehow were more important than yours and let him know that you were speaking.  What you have to say matters and no amount of chest thumping testosterone should ever make you feel small. 

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