by Liz Colville

There is a word for every horrible thing we do. Many of them are German (Schadenfreude, others). But one of them is “microaggression.” Here are some examples of microaggressions, according to Psychology Today:

An assertive female manager is labeled as a “bitch,” while her male counterpart is described as “a forceful leader.” (Hidden message: Women should be passive and allow men to be the decision makers.)

Whistles or catcalls are heard from men as a woman walks down the street. (Hidden message: Your body/appearance is for the enjoyment of men. You are a sex object.)

The outfit worn by a TV reality-show mom is described as “classless and trashy.”

A lesbian client in therapy reluctantly discloses her sexual orientation to a straight therapist by stating she is “into women.” The therapist indicates he is not shocked by the disclosure because he once had a client who was “into dogs.” (Hidden message: Same-sex attraction is abnormal and deviant.)


This article also features some horrible, but probably not all that surprising, statistics showing how microaggressions may have (probably have) contributed to (probably mostly straight) white males dominating the world, including these parts of the world:

• 80% of tenured positions in higher education
• 80% of the House of Representatives
• 80–85% of the U. S. Senate
• 92% of Forbes 400 executive CEO-level positions
• 90% of public school superintendents
• 99.9% of athletic team owners
• 97.7% of U. S. presidents

And, you know, other things close to home, like the New York Observer.

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