Thursday, October 29, 2009

Bias Bingo!

This is so cool.

Instead of playing Gender Bias Bingo alone on my computer, however, it would be much more fun to have a bingo card and bingo chips to bring with me to faculty and committee meetings, or to carry around with me in the halls to use as the need arises. There are even occasions when it would be useful to have in my office, on airplanes, at conferences, and during visits with my family.

One of the goals of Gender Bias Bingo is to teach women and men how to recognize bias in their own experiences, but a portable GBB might also help bias perpetrators be more self-aware. Perhaps some people need help learning that they shouldn't criticize women for being assertive and admire men for being aggressive, question whether a woman's idea is her own, ask a father who takes care of his kids when his wife is traveling etc. etc. etc. If someone yells BINGO! after an incident, and clicks down a bingo chip onto a portable GBB board, this might inspire a conversation, or even some quiet reflection.

Portable GBB bingo is not my idea. It is something that my friends and I (and, I think, some commenters to this blog) have occasionally expressed a wish to have during particularly fraught meetings or conversations. It would certainly make a useful gift for that special academic in your life, and would be equally appropriate, though perhaps not equally appreciated, by that not-so-special academic in your life.

23 comments:

Hope said...

You think that strident, humorless, and shrill cries of “Bingo!” will help the cause?

I like this one better!

Comrade PhysioProf said...

That bingo card would have come in handy when the dude sitting a few seats next to me in the audience at a plenary lecture at a scientific conference turned around to the young woman sitting behind him and said, "I am imagining you in a bikini." My buddy, who is a burly motherfucker, was between me and the dude, and said to him, "Hey, man. That shit's not cool. What's your problem?"

female Science Professor said...

Cries of Bingo! need not be strident, humorless, and shrill. That is a stereotype of bingo players.

Anonymous said...

When I typed in "Science Professor" in google, the first hit I get is "FemaleScienceProfessor." Do we have special bonus in the GBB for this kind of achievement?

Btw, I am a male postdoc who has been following your blog for last couple of weeks. I must say, I am usually quite unaware of subtle gender biases that I see around during the day, primarily because they are unintentional.

Anyway, I really admire your writings, and wish I could be a writer as good as you are!

mixlamalice said...

Isn't the fact that a gender bias bingo is actually focused only on women a gender bias in itself?

female Science Professor said...

It's not focused only on women.

sorelle said...

Someone definitely needs to develop an iPhone app...

mixlamalice said...

True, only 90% of it (8 blocks out of 9 - the father's one). My bad.

John V said...

How can FSP claim the game is not focused on women? I have trouble seeing myself on a board with a maternity wall, a choice between tomboy and femme, and woman vs woman gender wars.

The one possible "guy" square, prejudice again fathers, is usually phrased in the reverse - men getting MORE credit for active parenting than woman.

Focusing on problems with gender inequity is constructive, but the claim this game does not focus entirely on women's issues undercuts credibility.

female Science Professor said...

Actually, I focused only on the word only.

amy said...

Totally awesome website -- I'm sending the link to several colleagues. By the way, what makes anyone think these are "women's issues"? Discrimination is everyone's issue. Besides, men are included as contributors to the chilly climate -- aren't you interested in knowing that you might unconsciously and unintentionally be contributing to discrimination? I care a great deal about ways I might be contributing to racial, ethnic, and class discrimination, and I generally don't feel put out by people pointing out such problems. Why shouldn't men care about contributing to gender discrimination?

Anonymous said...

Does the portable GBB recognize bias either way or just one way?

Anonymous said...

thanks for posting the link, some great resources on there!

Anonymous said...

It was nice to see the bias against acting like a halfway decent Dad being listed as well.

God forbid you actually look after your children and have a penis!

antipodean

Anonymous said...

If you scroll to the bottom, there's a link to a printable version.

Frigid Climate asks about men's experience specifically. Recall Bias and Leniency Bias both ask for a comparison of the ways that men and women are treated. Hostile Prescriptive Bias, Role Incongruity, Sanctions for Self-Promotion, and Attribution Bias tacitly invite comparison of the ways that men and women are treated. And, okay, I can see the argument that Double Jeopardy and Gender Wars might seem focused on women.

Then again, there isn't a square dealing with the way that we often ignore the ways that women are underrepresented in various roles and women'a experiences are neglected in certain contexts, but tend to notice very quickly when men are underrepresented or their experiences are neglected, but it sure does seem to come up quickly when we talk about the game, doesn't it?

MelPo said...

Could we find a spare square for "Ooooh, you're talking about women so you must be a sexist too!"

Bingo.

hkukbilingualidiot said...

I have only just finished watching a t.v. programme titled, 'How racist are you?'. There was an ex-school teacher who used eye-colour as a means of segregation to teach a lesson on how it felt to be discriminated against. Being in the UK, racism is a lot more subtle and so it was harder for the ex-teacher to prove the point that she was trying to make, which is discrimination exists, though she was more focused on race. Needless to say, it almost worked...to full impact, if it was not sabotaged by one of the white people with brown eyes (blue eyes are almost impossible to find in people with coloured skin) on the grounds of manipulation and bullying.

So, it became very obvious from the social experiment that unless people had been subjected to the discrimination others have experienced or have seen it in full they would most often be in denial about it. Most shockingly from that experiment was the fact that the only person who did not acknowledge the existence of discrimination was a white, blue-eyed school teacher...even after she was subjected to intense discrimination.

I do apologise for the tangent but I do feel that it is equally valid. Sometimes you really have to be part of that group to understand the pain.

Chris said...

Excellent link! My wife's favorite is her co-worker's commenting on how nice it is that I help her out around the house.

Anonymous said...

At least the PhD comic version actually looks like a bingo card, not Tic-Tac-Toe like this one. Surely the creator didn't get stuck at 9 examples?

Anonymous said...

Excellent link! My wife's favorite is her co-worker's commenting on how nice it is that I help her out around the house.

my husband's friend commented to him how nice it is that I mow the lawn and do many of the house repairs.

EuropeanFemaleScienceProfessor said...

I need the Search Committee Special Edition.... I blew my stack at a meeting this week when a colleague got anxious even hearing the word "gender". I had made the suggestion that we ask our candidates to write up a short description of their gender-sensitive didactical considerations. The colleague (a woman, I am afraid to say) heard "women" and not "gender" and commented that "just using females in examples has nothing to do with real science". I blew up and we had a rip-roaring fight on what gender means. She did not understand.

It would have been better for my blood pressure if I could have just called out "Bingo"!

Kevin said...

Can anyone tell me what
"a short description of their gender-sensitive didactical considerations" means? I know what each of the words means individually, but I can't make a coherent concept that would apply to hiring science researchers or teachers out of it.

Carrie said...

Oh my. I so could have won the game this week with the two comments in 3 days from my daughter's teacher about how we need to move some big boxes and therefore she really needs all the dads to show up and help. Nevermind that at least two of us moms are distance athletes and could run some of the dads into the ground. Grr - makes you wonder what she's conveying to the kids.