"Are women less willing to speak their minds?"

My friend Cheryl Dahle (a woman with a great mind to speak) has alerted me that this is a question Salon and Lindsay Campbell and the newsvlog Moblogic have asked.

I think its the wrong question to ask if your goal is to have more women’s opinions spoken in public. A more helpful question is: what helps women talk on camera?

I don’t think it’s so much an issue of women not wanting to speak on camera as the way in which they are approached. This is something I think about for The Heather Gold Show (tHGS) a lot. and I do believe that its more fruitful to have a goal of having more women (and people of colour, and any form of diverse viewpoint or experience you can think of) on camera sharing their thoughts with others.

I hope on tHGS itself its much easier to talk because
-there are snacks

-there is no microphone in your face

-you’re sitting on a couch

-there are other people talking

-the whole show is uploaded so you don’t have to worry about being taken out of context

-another chick is (vulnerably i hope–me) making her thoughts known

-I am not professionally attractive

-I’m listening (seriously..i really listen 🙂 and there is a whole room of people listening.

I really like moblogic. But it seems set up to grab quick clips. tHGS is 60-90 minutes. Smaller bts come out of a more nuanced conversation.
If you have a desire for a longer, more nuanced conversation, that would be tough to convey to the people you’re interviewing for moblogic, unless they already know the show and find it to be nuanced.

If someone I didn’t know (caveat: I do know Lindsay, and have worked with her, and would certainly talk to her) pointed a fuzzy microphone at me and asked my opinion in public I would assume:

-it was for television

-I will be made to look like an idiot by an editor or producer if it will get higher ratings

-the structure of the show depends on conflict and I will not be there to respond to an attack

-my appearance may be mocked

-my thoughts will be ignored or mocked

So, to simple ask “Are women less likely to speak their mind?” Misses the entire point. In law school I was frustrated the few of my female classmates spoke in class. Years later I can now see that it would have been more useful to wonder why law school was structured the way it was, if it’s goal was inclusion. Now I ask the same goal of the media..which is why I’m making my own show. Because there are so many voices and conversations I’m craving. And I’m still learning how to help people feel comfortable on camera.

Listening is an art that takes a great deal of practice. From my experience, women can more easily than men when you’re not really listening to them.

What helps you feel comfortable speaking in public / being on camera as a women?