lack of posts

Thu Jul 22 16:39:36 EST 1993

In article <CAHB4A.5w3 at>
diqui at (Diqui LaPenta) writes:
>"I don't know if this is right, but..."
>"I could be wrong, but..."
>"I think that maybe..."
>These are not statements that indicate confidence in one's own knowledge, and
>I hear myself and too many female colleagues use them over and over. How can
>we go about changing this, so that we feel more confident expressing ourselves
>in groups? How can we be taken seriously, if we don't appear to take ourselves
>seriously?  I don't expect that there is any one answer to this, but I'd be
>interested in hearing what others have to say.
While I agree with the fact that it probably makes men think women are insecure
when they use comments like: "this is just my opinion", I'm not completely
convinced that that is really what is meant by that comment.  One could also
interpret this as asking for other opinions and telling others that you might
be open to considering their opinion.  I hope no one thinks that that is a
bad thing.  It doesn't mean you're necessarily going to change your opinion,
but it does tells people that you're not just a pigheaded jerk.  If men (and
women) think it implies insecurity then maybe _they're_ the ones who need to
change their attitude.  I'm a little tired of being told that I have to
behave as the system tells me just so I can get on with my life.
     On the other hand, I have myself used these phrases in situations that I
wished I hadn't but I think I was driven to it.  I had an advisor who would
just sit like a lump when presented with any idea, opinion, thesis chapter,
or whatever.  There would be long silences after your presentation of whatever
you had to say.  In order to get him out of his torpor you had to say _somethin
and I and many of his students would say things like: "it's just my opinion" or
"it's just a first draft" or whatever.  I think, unfortunately, he needed the
other person to humble themselves before he could venture an opinion himself.
Perhaps what I should have said was something along the lines of: " I see you m
not have understood" or (for this particular person, because he's a bit of
a weasel) "I guess you don't have the smarts to understand this."
     Anyway, I wonder it maybe we should not expect to have to lose the
good qualities that each of us personally has (e.g., being open to other
opinions) just to appease whoever happens to be in power.  Also, I'm
taking it upon myself to make sure that I don't read comments like those
above as meaning insecurity.  If enough people understand them in the
right way, maybe no one will have to change their speech patterns.

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