I saw a video by a feminist asking critical questions of movies. There are three questions to ask to measure the female presence in a film, called the Bechdel Test.
- Are there 2 or more women in it who have names?
- Do they talk to each other?
- Do they talk to each other about something other than a man?
You’d be surprised by the number of films that fail the test. The Lord of the Rings series, the Batman series, Up, Toy Story, to name a few that surprised me. Watch the video here for a full list.
So the video got me thinking. Whenever I picture men gathering together, I imagine ‘guys time’. I picture a group of good friends, working to get something done. I rarely imagine them talking about girls, unless they’re talking about sex or how hot a girl is. Those are my honest assumptions when I reflect on it.
When I think of women getting together, no matter Sikh women or otherwise, I imagine them talking about guys. I find it hard to picture a group of women discussing projects or working on something. Yet the more I think about it, I know plenty of women who get along in groups just fine without mentioning guys once. In fact, I know many women who, joining with other women, get more done than most men I know. This is a huge bias I’m carrying around with me.
Biases are deeply rooted and operate under our conscious thought process. That’s why they’re so pervasive. Yet they can be changed. Here are 2 steps to change some you might be holding onto.
This step is difficult. It requires being open minded. It really helps to have outside perspectives. Often, an insight will come from people we disagree with most. As a friend once told me, “you learn the most from the people who are the most different from you.”
Another way to foster recognition is to ask yourself, every day, “what are some biases that I hold about others?” asking this simple question and thinking about it for a few minutes a day will have a significant impact on you. Over the course of a few days or weeks, you will have some astonishing insights.
This might involve asking the biased group how they would like to be viewed. It’s one thing to assume what others want, and it’s another thing entirely to ask them.
The question I might ask myself, for instance, is “what are some examples of women I know who don’t spend their time talking about men?” Even now, examples are rising to my consciousness. Over time as I continue asking myself this question and altering it as needed, I’ll be able to slowly alter my biases and diminish the impact of some prejudices I might be holding on to. This way, I can see women more accurately rather than subconsciously attaching my own short-sighted judgments.
This is a powerful tool to help us on our own paths towards Truth. What’s a bias you may hold on to, and what question will help you challenge it?
Also, this blog is a safe space. I value honesty. We all carry judgments of others. Recognizing and admitting is a sign of strength and courage. I encourage you to share as well :).