I was going to apply for this diversity writing fellowship for HBO. The submissions opened today at nine am and were going to stay open until they received one thousand submissions; however long that the. By the time I checked the website at noon they were already closed again.

So the opportunity eluded me.

I happened to scroll down to the bottom of the article that I’d read promoting the fellowship to discover a series of comments left by other page visitors. One of them,  John, had strong feelings of being discriminated against by such an “affirmative action” program that presumably was excluding him on the basis that he was a white male. Yes, John,  we feel your pain. It sure is a pain in the butt to be filtered out of opportunities because of your race and gender. It’s ok, though, you’ll get another chance.

Anyway, I found it funny. And sad,  which is probably why I’m laughing about it; because otherwise I’d be crying. I think it’s safe to assume that John is not good at picking up on irony.

I’m probably going to anger a lot of feminists with the following statement. I don’t consider sexism to be my problem. I’m sticking to the topic of sexism because in the context of the Diversity game it’s the only real card in my hand (being otherwise white, cis gendered, straight, able bodied, educated and middle class).

So why isn’t sexism my problem? Surely as a woman preparing to enter into a notoriously male dominated field I should be taking it seriously, right? Well, I do take it seriously. I just don’t take it personally. Sexism is a problem, but it isn’t my problem- rather, I am the problem to somebody else: perhaps the John’s of the world.

If it’s not my problem them I’m not doing anything about it, right? Ergo, I am part of the problem because I’m not part of the solution. Maybe. Maybe not. I make an effort to treat everybody like human beings. I try to make friends with people who are different shapes and colors than me. I try to be accepting of different sexual orientations and religions. I try avoid down talking people behind their backs-and occasionally I fail at this: most often because I’m jealous of someone. It’s a real flaw. I definitely have it.

But I’m not going to campaign against men- even the John’s of the world. I’m not going to make a show of how angry I am about the unfairness of it all: I’m just going to do my best to do better than is already being done. If I want to see more women hired then maybe I should put myself in a position to hire more women. If I want to close the pay grasp then maybe I need to put myself in a position where I can pay people equally. If I want to succeed in a male dominated business then maybe I need to worry less about who dominates it and more about the business.


~ by Gwydhar Gebien on March 4, 2015.

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