How International Women’s Day Led to Me Seeing Someone’s Internalized Patriarchy

by Courtney C Horne @FireezDragon

A Russian coworker was expressing excitement that her friend was having a baby girl on International Women’s Day. Only she said “It is Women’s Day in Russia” not just it’s Womens Day, or its International Women’s Day. Another person and I pointed out that it’s women’s day everywhere and she asked why it wasn’t celebrated in the US then. It made me a bit sad that my whole interaction with the day had been online..

And then I mentioned that I had put up a link to a video about portrayals of women in video games to honor the day. Another woman started talking with me about it. She questioned the idea that there was anything wrong with the women are portrayed in video games. Defended the absurd nearly nude costumes of female fighters in games..

So I moved on to how the game industry treats women who work in it. (I will say that by this point she had called herself an anti feminist so I knew I was going to be unhappy) Talked about developers who reported being treated like secretaries etc. She said most women just weren’t good at video games/ being programmers.

At that point, I went to the wage gap in general.. That’s when it happened. She asserted that women make less than men because women aren’t generally as good as men.

I was floored. I focused on pointing out that even if you account for differences in career choices women make less and that literally women get paid less than men for doing the same work. I pointed out that math differences don’t hold up if you look at averages and not at just high scorers. (turns out guys have both more high and more low scorers based on recent studies whereas women’s scores are less extreme outliers) Eventually though, after she made some “women’s rights movement didn’t do any good” remark I told her I disagreed strongly, another woman chimed in with me, and I chose to leave the room because I couldn’t keep being polite at that point.

Part of me wanted to say that there is a special place in hell for women who don’t help other  women.

Instead, I took a deep breath  and tried to educate as much as I could.