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[Xmca-l] Re: The manologue
- To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: The manologue
- From: Rod Parker-Rees <R.Parker-Rees@plymouth.ac.uk>
- Date: Fri, 22 Apr 2016 08:09:07 +0000
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- Thread-topic: [Xmca-l] Re: The manologue
I think this is a rich vein to mine but clearly a difficult and potentially treacherous topic for online discussion precisely because here online all we have are words.
I have spent my whole working life in very 'female' environments - as a nursery teacher (the only male teacher in a nursery and infants school and then the only male teacher in a primary school - where dealings with parents were almost exclusively with mothers) and then in a university school of education where nearly all students and most staff are female. I am pleased to say that the Early Childhood Studies team which I lead (yes, a team mainly of women, led by a man but I have tried to pass on the baton!) includes, unusually, 4 men as well as 15 women. There are some odd inversions of gender issues in the field of Early Childhood Studies but these operate, of course, within the wider culture where people are gendered in particular ways.
The reason I am responding is because I see connections between my own interest in very early, pre-verbal, forms of communication and some of the issues around 'mansplaining'. This leads me to wonder whether part of the problem may be associated with a shift of focus from the social, relational function of talk to a focus on 'free-floating' ideas. I think written communication tends to cut off the 'suprasegmental' information carried in voices as well as more widespread information from bodies, which makes face to face interaction a very different KIND of thing.
I feel the eggshells under my feet cracking as I write this but I suspect that there may be a spectrum of preferred forms of communication which corresponds rather closely (in some cultures) with the spectrum of gender. Some people are more comfortable in face to face kinds of interaction and would choose these in preference to 'cooler' forms, while other people are uncomfortable in fact to face interaction and prefer more detached, more abstract forms. Of course for most people 'it depends' and life is better when there are opportunities to engage in a mixed diet of different kinds of interaction.
I can feel myself sliding towards explanation here so I had better stop - but I just wanted to also throw in an observation about the popularity of text-messaging among teenagers when this first emerged. Sometimes it is easier if you don't have to deal with the complexity of information that sloshes around in face to face interaction. In online forums I think it can be easy to lose sight of the fact that there are flesh and blood people behind all the keyboards and screens, so exploring ideas can come to feel like a detached, unpersoned activity.
All the best,
From: email@example.com [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org] On Behalf Of Annalisa Aguilar
Sent: 22 April 2016 05:59
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: The manologue
Thanks for your reply! I have heard about the particular (and historical) gendered patterns on XMCA. Even experienced some myself! :)
By the way, I learned yesterday in my Greek class that "Phillip" means "lover of horses." From "phil-" meaning "love," and "ippo" meaning "horse," and also that it was an aristocratic name, since only aristocrats would have horses, certainly elegant animals in their own right. I'd never known that.
But to the topic at hand: It would be marvelous to have more women post on the list, not only to this thread, but in general. (OK marvelous ladies, where are you?) But perhaps it's just not worth it for them to do so because of past personal experiences, I don't know. I can't speak for all women on the list, obviously, but it wouldn't surprise me if there were connections to be made between patterns of written posts and their asynchronous appearance on the listserv and patterns of verbal speech, and how they make women feel included or excluded.
I can say I have felt hazed and ridiculed at certain points in my time here; maybe another person wouldn't have bothered to return. But there are, for the most part, really great experienced thinkers here. The thread on Collaboration started by Michael last week is an example of the best we have to offer. Real gems in that tapestry.
Phillip, do you require a formal invitation to share your ideas about why men regularly dominate xmca through multiple long postings? If you do decide to share, I hope that there are enough grownups in the vicinity that will allow for mature and caring exchange on this topic? And if there is no pleasantness to be had, might there be just the right number of grownups in the vicinity that will send the unpleasant ones to their rooms without any supper? Can we send in the tickling clowns as a last resort? Maybe squirt guns?
Might we collaborate upon a discussion of gendered speech patterns on this list or in general, you know, and "play well with others?" Can we allow our interlocutors to make mistakes? Can we maintain our humor? Can we offer care and community to try to crack this very hard nut and actually transform this here apparatus? Can we improvise and create meaning not "to-get-her" but TOGETHER?
I feel confident that if we refrain from posting asphixiating generalizations or gobsmacking stereotypes, we'll make our getaway clean!
If we try by way of experiment to post in the first person rather than in the second and third, so as to share feelings about it, I believe there will be a lot of beneficial discovery ahead.
Let it be so!
Perhaps our collaboration and cooperation will start a meaningful shift in our activity triangle of written speech patterns on xmca? Who knows?
I mean, aren't men curious about how women feel and think about xmca topics? Just to have a different viewpoint? To learn something new? Don't we want to learn how some, if not many, men feel who may miss not hearing from the other side of our population? As another side of discourse? And won't we all benefit from this equality in speech?
Thanks for your courage Phillip! (plus all the other brave ones, past present & future: you know who you are)
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