Are you aware of those invisible gender biases

What if the “objectively neutral” ruler itself has a problem?


Today, Single Reading attempts to introduce a book in the way of “one editor asks another”. Editor Rodani asked Ouyang Panda, editor of “Invisible Women”, about the book’s content, meaning, and its relationship to everyone’s life.
Rodani: “In the past few years, we have seen more and more books focusing on women’s issues in the book market: social sciences, from Chizuru Ueno’s “Patriarchy and Capitalism” and “Feminism from Zero”; Non-fiction documentary, “Black Box” and “The Tracker of Room N”; novels and literature, such as Korean writers, Han Jiang’s “Vegetarian”, Zhao Nanzhu’s “82 Years of Kim Ji-young”…
Just this year, 2022, we also directly ‘saw’ the Tangshan beating incident on the Internet, the US Supreme Court overturned the constitutional protection of the right to abortion, and ‘saw’ a female poet suffering from domestic violence. secondary damage. Facing the harsh reality, as an editor, I feel once again that there are not too many books that seriously discuss gender issues, but too few; those ‘invisible women’ deserve more attention than what we see. . Therefore, I paid special attention to the domestic translation and publication of the book Invisible Women, which has attracted much attention in the English-speaking world in 2019. I learned that it was finally bought by New Classics and was about to be released. , and contacted Ouyang Panda, the editor of the manuscript, and asked a bunch of questions. In addition to learning more about the background of this topic, what impresses me more is how a young editor who ‘passively accepted’ this topic in the middle of the book established little by little these words and his own specificity in the process of writing this book. The relationship between life experience and real situation, I discovered my new potential and enthusiasm, and this is the happiest part of writing a book. Share our conversations below, and I hope you see more of the unseen in this book as well. “

In “The Invisible Woman”,

see passive self

Rodani × Ouyang Panda

Q1: Can you briefly introduce to readers what kind of book “Invisible Women” is?

A: “The Invisible Woman” is the representative work of Caroline Criado Perez, one of the leaders of the British women’s movement. It draws on a wealth of data and facts from all over the world, from all walks of life, to show how our workplaces, transportation planning, product design, medical research, government decision-making, disaster recovery, and more are neglecting women.


Caroline Criado Perez, a leading figure in the British women’s movement
Successfully blocked UK banks from removing portraits of women on sterling

For example, an example that has been discussed more recently: the unreasonable distribution of toilets for men and women. The bathrooms for men and women are now equal in size in most places, but this does not take into account the longer time women need to go to the toilet because of their physical structure. The same area looks equal, but only in form. Another example is that the workplace promotion system does not consider women’s reproductive pressure, and product design ignores the experience and needs of female users. Many of the rules and standards we’ve become accustomed to that appear to be gender-neutral or “gender-neutral” hide huge biases.

In today’s gender discussions, there are always some people who stand up and demand that women look at issues “objectively and neutrally”. And “Invisible Women” uses solid facts to raise a huge question: what if the “objective neutral” ruler itself has problems?


Q2: In the past two years, there have been many books on gender issues in China. What is special about it among so many similar books that have been published? Before the simplified Chinese version came out, there were more than 10,000 people who wanted to read the English version and the traditional Chinese version together. It should be said that it was a very popular book. Many writers and scholars recommend it. What do you think is the reason? Can you talk about it from your personal reading experience?

A: Almost every editor has to answer similar questions when making any book. I have been subjected to such torture many times before the book was released. I think the most special thing about this book is that it subverts many of my perceptions calmly.

I originally thought that I already knew something about the experience of women, but “Invisible Women” digs out the discrimination hidden under everyone’s nose. I was shocked that the discomfort, anxiety and even fear I felt were not my own. The problem:

If it weren’t for this book, I wouldn’t have thought that the length of a standard piano key is designed according to the length of a man’s hand, and that women have to become pianists like men, but they have to suffer more strain and pain; I would not have known that medicine has always focused on When studying the male body, the female body is excluded from the “standard human body” because of the physiological changes that accompany menstruation and pregnancy, which are regarded as “complex and troublesome interference factors”.


Documentary “She is the most beautiful when she is angry”

Although I have read Feminism, Patriarchy and Capitalism, and the concept of “patriarchy” is not unfamiliar to me, my cognition seems to remain at the level of cultural construction, without realizing that the whole system causes The actual impact of the – it determines the size of each piece of protective clothing, the temperature of the air conditioner in each office, the size of each toilet…

The reason why there are so many scholars and authors recommended, I think a large part is because this book can really shake a person’s original cognitive system, whether male or female. When women read it, they will find that there is a reason for their past discomfort, and they will also find many unexpected problems. When men read it, they will be even more shocked and even bewildered.

Q3: The biggest inspiration for this manuscript is that it challenges the “foundation of knowledge”, the “foundation” structure that we consider to be “facts”. Through a wealth of solid facts, investigations, and data (rather than emotional opinions, radical attitudes), the author let me know that there are many gaps in the architecture itself, and many of the facts we read are likely to be deceiving us all the time, they are distortions , for failing to explain the other half of humanity. There are serious gender gaps in the data and information themselves. As a woman, I would like to know what resonated with you the most the first time you read through this manuscript? What new discoveries have you taken from this, or have you seen problems that you never thought about or realized that turned out to be problems?

A: The point that resonates the most with me is a very small example, about students’ evaluation of teachers’ teaching. Caroline used the results of a study to show that female lecturers are more likely to be judged as mean, harsh and aggressive, but when they behave mildly, they are criticized for lack of authority and professionalism.

I used to be that kind of passive character of “good but boring”. Gentle personality, responsible for doing things, is probably the impression and evaluation of most of my colleagues – I have no characteristics, and it seems that there are no shortcomings. I had a disagreement with my colleagues, and swallowed my opinion after refuting a few sentences; being rejected by the leader, I also lost my original position in several rhetorical questions. But Invisible Women changed my way of doing things.

I was very impressed once when I refuted a colleague I had always respected at a meeting. I can’t remember exactly what I said, but I only remember the red ears, the nervousness of my heart beating wildly in the southern winter without heating, and the joy and sense of accomplishment when my point of view was recognized. I was shocked that “it turns out that I can stick to my own opinion”. This little discovery brought endless joy. The feeling was so personal that I wasn’t even sure when I shared it, others would understand where the excitement was coming from.


The film “Suffragettes”

The example of that teaching evaluation made me start to reflect on myself, and I gradually realized that I could become more “aggressive”, and I became more and more accepting of this “aggressive” self. It was also during this process that I developed a sense of control that made me feel that the work I was doing for this book was not simple work, but something that was relevant to me. This feeling is the biggest gain of my fourth year as an editor.

There seems to be a saying in the circle that every editor enters this line because he has a book in mind. But after three or four years in the industry, I felt that I lacked this passion. Not only did I not have the book in my heart, but I didn’t even have a clear direction for what kind of book I wanted to make. But Invisible Women made me see my direction.

Q4: You said that this is a “book that I want to recommend to everyone since I wrote it”, why do you say that?

A: Because I think this book can transmit an energy to readers, especially female readers.

I would like to share a small snippet first. Before the book was published, an editorial teacher said that the title at first glance thought it was written for “invisible” women with visual impairments. Although this is an ambiguity in the expression of the title, it forms a wonderful echo: this book allows women to “see” what was “unseen” in the past.


Film “Portrait of a Lady on Fire”

For example, after I read this book myself, I often think about it in my daily life.

Every time I get in the car, I think of Caroline showing how airbags and seat belts are designed to men’s standards, and how women are far more likely to be injured in a car accident than men;

Every time I go to the movies, I will think that the seat that has been uncomfortable is designed for the male body;

After watching a movie and queuing to go to the toilet, I would think that the design of the toilets of men and women with the same area does not take into account the time and needs of women to use the toilet…

“Invisible Women” showed me that my original discomfort had a systemic cause, not that I was too short or too naive. And once you realize this, what was originally an inward demand for yourself has the opportunity to transform into an outward energy. What I felt in the process of writing this book myself was the feeling from the inside out.

Originally, I was just a participant in this project, not the topic I reported, nor the manuscript I wanted to come.

But in the process of reading this manuscript, I gradually felt that this book was too important, and the problems it exposed hit me. The previous attempt to speak my mind also gave me an opportunity to speak my mind about making this book: what I want the copy to look like, what the cover looks like, and how to do marketing, my mind has never been so clear. And by expressing again and again, I gradually realized that I am good at expressing, and there are shining points.

Chizuru Ueno has a sentence in the documentary “The Last Lecture” that impressed me. She said that what women lack is the self-efficacy of setting small goals and achieving them one by one; lack of such small successes experience, it is easy to be invaded by a sense of powerlessness. I have to praise Mr. Ueno’s expressive ability again. What I just said, Rory, is actually the “accumulation of self-efficacy” she summarized. After breaking the “taboo” for the first time and being recognized, when this kind of positive feedback accumulates, a person’s self-confidence is gradually built up.

I believe that the obstacles faced by many women in the workplace or in the fields they pursue are often not a matter of ability, but are held back by many external things. Once you realize that those things can be thrown away, you can gain unprecedented power.


Q5: The current discussion around gender-based violence is very hot, but some gender discussions on social platforms often revolve around very basic and elementary issues such as “is this a gender issue” and “are men and women equal?” It’s often frustrating to delve into and think about solutions. Faced with such a situation, what inspiration and help do you think this book may bring to our gender discussions today?

A: Yes, every time I see gender discussions on social platforms, I try my best not to watch it, because I know it will be frustrating or even hopeless, but every time I can’t help watching it. In the process of writing this book, there were also several incidents of gender-based violence that caused heated discussions, such as Xuzhou and Tangshan. Whenever I see something like this happening, I want to get this book out faster.

Because even though we have “Patriarchy and Capitalism” and “The Second Sex”, many people still turn a blind eye to the status quo, thinking that patriarchy is just a cultural concept, or even a concept invented by women who want to “take power”. And “The Invisible Woman” uses the most peaceful attitude, “presenting facts and reasoning”, and using solid facts to prove how patriarchy has shaped the whole world.

Q6: In addition to the gap and differences in cognition, in reality, when we talk about promoting gender equality, many people think of high welfare countries like Iceland, and feel that gender equality is a high cost thing, which seems more “” The road is long and obstructed.” Is this issue discussed in “Invisible Women”, and what is the author’s point of view?

A: I think Caroline’s example at the beginning of the book is a good answer to this question.

It was a story about shoveling snow. In a small town in Sweden, people fall and get injured every winter because of snow, mostly women. But in a certain year, the number of local injuries was greatly reduced, saving a lot of money for the local finances. The reason for the change is simply because they changed the order of snow shoveling. Originally, it was the turn of the sidewalks and bicycle lanes after the lanes were cleaned. In 2013, the local government decided to start cleaning from the sidewalks, and finally the lanes.

It turned out to be based on a local research survey that found that male commuters generally drive by car, while women mainly take public transportation or walk, and travel through several places in one trip, such as sending their children to school first, and then going to an elder’s house, On the way home, I went to the supermarket again. After discovering this, the local government discussed and decided to change the order of snow shoveling to give priority to pedestrians and public transportation.

The town did not do much, but changed the order of snow shoveling in consideration of the special travel needs of women. It solved the problem of women being more vulnerable to injuries and saved a lot of money without spending a penny.

I love telling people around me this example, this little story can refute several myths in a row. First, no one thought that “shoveling snow” would have anything to do with gender; second, it perfectly presented how a “gender perspective” could make our world a better place; very high” point of view.

I think the most valuable part of “The Invisible Woman” is here – it is very subversive on the one hand, it can break many inherent perceptions; on the other hand, it is very constructive, telling us that the way to rebuild is very simple , as soon as we start asking women questions and listening to women.


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