As a candidate for state legislature in 2018, people often asked me: “what makes you qualified to run” (usually in an incredulous or angry tone). I canvassed with a white male candidate a lot. At literally hundreds of doors, NOT ONE PERSON asked him that question.
Angry messages often referred to me as bitch, c*nt, girl, or young lady. All equally dismissive.
In an editorial board interview, someone asked me for my sources several times while no one asked my opponent.
I received regular “feedback’ regarding my hair, clothes, facial expressions, smile, tone, body language, ability to parent, etc.
People regularly asked how my husband felt about me running for office or if he approved, and how would I balance work and home while running for office?
My husband received praise for being a parent and running the household while I ran for office. Meanwhile, women have always made it possible for men to achieve outside of the home without praise or even respect.
Men who were not experts questioned me and mansplained policy that I spent hours and hours researching, analyzing, and digesting before speaking on them. I would wake up in cold sweats anxious about not being able to answer a question intelligently. When I answered intelligently and thoughtfully, some people said I was an arrogant know it all. I felt a great deal of pressure to represent women as competently as I could but it was difficult to win that one.
Implicit bias impacts our attitudes and discourse. Period. And men and women are both guilty of all the above.
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