3Expecting People To Treat You Better
Or expecting your opinions to count more. I admit I used to think that every topic would benefit from "a fresh female perspective." That might be true if the topic is workplace discrimination or dating. But when someone is talking about Conan O'Brien versus Jay Leno, or whether we should get out of Iraq, there's absolutely no need for me to say, "If I may chime in as a woman..."
If I may offer a different opinion from a woman's perspective, I feel the Icelandic volcano ash is perfectly safe to fly through.
Once I went into a debate about something indirectly gender related and proceeded to educate everyone in a know-it-all fashion with some stuff I vaguely remembered reading in a Time magazine sidebar graphic, assuming everyone else would be completely ignorant on the subject since they were mostly male. Then a guy came along and corrected me with links to actual facts and information on the subject.
Which do you think the people in that argument found more valuable: My female perspective which just happened to be fresh because I was making it up, or some guy having actual facts and sources? I know, right? But for some reason everyone sided with the guy.
Anyway, it's going to be especially tempting for anyone who hasn't spent a lot of time in real world social settings to think she has an automatic bonus somewhere due to being born with breasts. I used to expect people to go, "Wow, she is very funny/artistic/whatever I was trying to impress people with. AND she's a woman!"
OK, so first of all, that goes against this whole equality thing us women have been aspiring to ever since the concept of feminism was invented by the Spice Girls in the early 90s. If I write a good article, make a good argument, or draw a good picture, why should it count more than a male doing the same thing?
Not only is it not morally fair, the world just doesn't work like that, online and off. There are too many females on the Internet for anyone to think you are the rare one that can draw or play video games while simultaneously having female anatomy. Now if you got drafted into the NFL or got a girl pregnant (or both), that might be something.
And not this NFL either.
2Expecting People To Treat You Worse
There was a point in time where many people were surprised to find out women had opinions. At that point in time, women dressed like this.
Conventional wisdom has not been surprised at women having opinions since at least the 1970s.
While mistake #3 and #2 may seem like an either/or situation, women who expect to be treated better on the Web are often more likely to accuse anyone who disagrees with them of being afraid of a "strong opinionated woman." Not only is this as bad as playing the race card, it insults all the other ladies in that online community who haven't been bashed, since it implies that they're not intelligent enough to be persecuted by your imaginary conspiracy.
You are not Rosie The Riveter.
If you're really insecure, you might catch yourself doing numbers two, three and four almost at the same time--basically ascribing any response you get, positive or negative, to your gender. If you find yourself doing that, just take a step back and consider if it might not have anything to do with you at all, but the content of what you said. Maybe, just maybe, people praised you for something because it was actually done well, or criticized you because you said something very stupid.
Or no one likes your weird boat drawings.
And if not, do you really want to care about what those people think anyway? I mean, anyone who likes you better just because you're female - where are they going to be when you have your sex change operation, hm?