I recently saw a disheartening article about sexism in the skeptic community. It’s especially disheartening that it happened even in a community of intelligent and progressive thinking people. It shouldn’t be surprising, though, because sexism isn’t rooted in lack of intelligence so much as a lack of empathy. And empathy is directly related to representation.
In this case, it’s also related to the perception of criticism. Hearing criticism is hard. Trust me, I know. My job is primarily to produce work that is criticized over and over, on a daily basis, until someone says it’s good enough to go into a film. But that’s the nature of my industry. Sometimes it’s hard to keep going, but I do it because I want the work to be the best that it can be.
And I think that’s what a lot of these men are missing. They only hear the criticism as an attack on what’s wrong with them and they don’t have the motivation or desire to become better. And I can understand that, too. As much as I try, I haven’t always reacted well to criticism. Sometimes I just need a break. In fact, that’s why I rarely read the iTunes reviews on my apps. It’s just a little too discouraging to get slammed in a review on something that I spend what little free time I have to create. But I digress.
The point is that where women are absent, sexism often fosters. And then it’s a vicious cycle. This is why diversity and representation, especially in media, is so important.
Speaking of representation, I quite enjoyed seeing the movie, Cloud Atlas. But a friend pointed out that even though it boasts an incredibly diverse cast, there were no Asian male actors. But, hey, at least there were Asian-ish male characters. So that’s progress. =)