Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Seeing the Unseen

On Thursday of last week, we were experimented on. No our brains weren't dissected and we weren't left in a room without a way to tell time. What did happen is as normal we all sat down ready for our lecture. About 15 minutes into the class Professor Goldsmith asked us all to stand up and segregate ourselves. The girls stood up and moved to the left side of the room, and the boys stood up and moved to the right side of the room with about a four-five foot dividing line in between us.

Immediately I felt uneasy. Before everyone got up and moved I had a girl to my right, a guy to my left, a girl in front of me to the left, two guys off to the right in front of me, two guys behind me to the right, and one girl behind me to the left. After the move the girl to my right and the boy to my left switched places. The other guys didn't move. The girl in front of my and behind me just moved over a little very little change actually happened around me.

So why did I feel uneasy? In class one of the individuals made a comment to the effect that girls always have to over perform to prove themselves, and guys just have trust and all given to them. It was also mentioned that girls are looked down on as second rate citizens.

Although those feelings maybe true in places I grew up in a home where this wasn't the case. It was in the area I grew up in, and it is sad. The predominant culture where I grew up was much that way.

However I am not! I managed a team that was about 1/2 girls and 1/2 boys at a company I worked for, and they had all mentioned that at other places they felt they were often looked over for leadership positions just because they are women. Not only were they some of my better employees, they became team leads on my team not because they were women, but because they deserved those positions.

It is crazy that these things still happen. I am dating a young lady right now, and she is amazing. Drastically better than myself, although she begs to differ. I might be more adept at some things, but in other things she is well beyond my abilities. We are equals, as we should be.

Sorry for the mini rant back to the experiment...when we were separated I felt tense, unsafe an uncertain about what was happening. It was difficult for me to talk and comment, and I actually started to feel anxiety which I never feel. Why? The people surrounding me almost all stayed the say, they just rearranged.

I finally was able to make a comment, and that comment was the fact that I felt unsafe and a girl rebuttaled with the question, why? (In sort of a demeaning tone.) That stuck with me. Naturally girls are more nurturing than boys, but I feel that some are starting to throw that natural instinct off as if it is a bad thing and puts them behind or something. It doesn't, if anything it gets them ahead in the grand scheme of things.

Why did I feel unsafe, and uneasy? I don't know but everyone else did as well. It might be because I have tried to be as inclusive, understanding, and non-judgmental as possible, and when the barriers that I have personally broken down are forced upon me by others I feel uneasy, just like everyone else was.

So why would another human who knows me by face only ask that question of me? Especially when we are physically lead to be separated or divided into teams. That if anything destroys work that has already been done.

What was interesting to mention, was the fact that on my TRAX ride home I was surrounded by males and didn't feel the same as I did in class. So it had to be the fact of what happens naturally instead of a man made construct of separation. What is the challenge for today? That is a great question, and one to which I really don't have an answer. I guess, try and be as equal to all ethnicities, genders, etc.

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I just wanted to take a moment to send a personal message out to all those in the fields of Landscape Architecture, Gardening, Horticulture, and Urban Planning/Urban Ecology. I created Landscape Connections for the purpose to share my love and passion for Landscape Architecture and Design, and Urban Ecology. I was a Landscape Architecture Major at Utah State University and currently study Urban Ecology at the University of Utah. I am working to compile as much information in the four previously mentioned fields as possible. If you have any further information, or would like to either add information or see information posted to landscape connections please let me know.