Surly Voices: Managing Men and Math

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First, it was ‘Don’t Say Gay’. Now, the news gets stranger in Florida as DeSantis condones the rejection of math textbooks. In addition, the topic of women managing men and their microaggressions brings up the biases that many overlook, or even enable in the workplace. The Surly Feminists discussed these topics on this week’s Surly Voices Podcast.

Listen to the full episode here:

Don’t Say Math

The Florida Department of Education rejected a total of 54 math textbooks for its K-12 learning curriculum, approximately 41% of those brought to the department. About half (28 of the 54) of the books were rejected because they “incorporate prohibited topics or unsolicited strategies, including [critical race theory],” according to a statement from the Department.
One caller suggested that the backlash against the textbooks could be because of the inclusion of diverse names in word problems, which the hosts agree could be the case. However, beyond the reasons why the books may be up for rejection, the effects of the rejection could be direr. The exclusion of diverse textbooks, simply on the basis of so-called ‘Critical Race Theory’, which often isn’t taught in K-12 anyway, can create narrow-minded, controlled learning that emphasizes blind faith in institutions.
For a governor that claims to stand so staunchly against the indoctrination of children, the Surly Feminists point out that creating such a controlled environment is closer to indoctrination than allowing the diversity of mathematics textbooks.

Don’t Call Me Ma’am

While the workforce has found women climbing up the hierarchal ladders into management positions, the antiquated views of women still pervade the workplace. From micro to macroaggressions against women, issues abound. One of the hot-button issues that drew some differing opinions was the micro-aggression of improperly addressing women.
For some, addressing a woman as “Ma’am” was seen as respectful. And the Surly Fems made note that not all women are offended by the term; the term in itself is not meant to be offensive. However, when women in positions of power make it clear to a man that they do not wish to be called that, or any other name, it’s only respectful to call them by their preferred term. A slip-up is one thing, but the continual ignorance to a woman’s preferences, whether they are in a position of power or not, is an aggression, and ought to be called as such.

Other issues that were brought up include the issue of ‘mansplaining’, defined as “the explanation of something by a man, typically to a woman, in a manner regarded as condescending or patronizing”. In many instances, men will interject or talk over a woman, without allowing her to express her ideas with undivided attention. This idea of male importance, the Surlies propose, has been “baked into the male upbringing”; it’s something they’ve grown up with and haven’t been taught is wrong.

Again, it is not only incumbent on women, but on men as well, to step out of the safety of antiquated roles, and actively work against these aggressions.