#5 – Women Want To Be Believed About Medical Problems
People (men and women) are conditioned to think of women as worrywarts and hypochondriacs, making a big deal about every little cough, so that women have to complain twice as much about something to be taken half as seriously.
…Let me be clear: When I say “Believe women,” I don’t mean let them override medical expertise and self-diagnose their condition from WebMD. I mean believe their reported symptoms. If they say “unbearable pain,” take it as “unbearable pain” instead of trying to translate it from “woman-ese” into “mild pain I am making a big deal about.”
#4 Women Want To Be Believed About Harassment and Threats
…So a lot of people who genuinely believe they too “get harassed all the time” are actually imagining that the woman has been experiencing what they’ve previously experienced — name-calling and embarrassment — whereas the woman is looking at death threats, rape threats, “I know where you live,” and “Hey everybody on the internet, here’s where she lives”.
…When we say “Believe women” on harassment, we are not demanding that you take a woman’s side on whatever issue started the harassment — a political statement, lover’s quarrel, whatever. Many, many women would consider it amazing progress to just hear “Yes, the death threats are real” (without a following “but”). That’s all, man. If we can ever get there, we can talk about the rest.
[Peanut gallery wonders if some people – who have the tendency to sound the alarm at, well, everything – might be doing that because after a lifetime of harassment and threats that no one believes them about, the entire world might start to look hostile and threatening. Because not all people might be doing the threatening, but if it seems like no one cares or thinks it is wrong/bad then wouldn’t it start to seem like everyone -the whole world- is culpable for letting it continue??? The peanut gallery digresses….]
# 3 – Women Want To Be Believed About Rape And Sexual Assault
…when a woman first claims she has been raped, we should give her the same credibility as a typical car theft victim.
When someone says their car has been stolen, few people respond, “Alright, I want to believe you, but let’s wait for all the facts first,” or “Let’s hear the car thief’s side of the story.” You usually go, “Oh shit. Are you okay? Do you need a ride?” …If it comes out in the news that someone lied about a car theft, you go, “What a weird twist!” and not, “You can’t trust car theft victims!”
…I just feel like unless you are a cop or a prosecutor or a claims adjuster, it shouldn’t really be our main job to catch the few liars in a vast ocean of genuine victims. Or alternatively, we should be consistent and also grill everyone who claims to have been in a car accident.
#2 – Women Want To Be Believed About Their Specialties
…For most people, it’s probably totally unintentional. We’ve all spent our lives absorbing TV and movies in which women are rarely portrayed as smart, and when they are, there’s always a smarter male character not too far away. It’s easy to slip into that pattern. It should be a simple fix. When someone does this, anyone who notices can point it out, and the explainer …can quickly change course. No conflict needed.
Unfortunately, the person who notices it is usually a woman (being the target and all), which is where we run into a bigger problem …
# 1- Women Want To Be Believed About Not Being Believed As Much As Men Are
…”credibility gap,” wherein every statement a woman makes gets 70 percent (or less) of the credibility of a man making the same statement. A man complains of excruciating pain? It’s probably excruciating. A woman complains of excruciating pain? Well, wait, we need to run that through the hysterical woman filter to find out how much pain she’s REALLY in. Because you know how they get.
…This pushes women to use stronger and stronger language to get their issues on the radar (“complain more,” as the doctor advised my mom [when he didn’t believe her when she said she was in pain and a simple condition that – because he didn’t take her seriously and didn’t test for or treat it – nearly killed her]), which skeptics just use as “proof” that women blow everything out of proportion and you have to mentally dial back everything they say.
Al of that seems pretty legit.