The Phileas Club 98 – Special: Life as a Woman


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  1. Dorkmaster Flek says:

    This episode is sooooooooo good… I literally teared up at the story about the 2 hour conversation with the man on the bus who LITERALLY FORGOT his mother was raped! Patrick thank you for putting this together, and thank you to the guests for coming on the show to tell their stories and talk about these issues. I don’t really have anything consequential to add to this, but everybody needs to listen to this conversation.

  2. Marlon Thompson says:

    As I mentioned on Twitter this was a fantastic episode and I do hope that all your guests become returning guests. One thing I would like to let them know is that many of the lunch time conversations with colleagues in the office have been men listening to women’s stories of those paper cuts.
    Finally like you Patrick I often would not think of my surroundings etc, I shared this thread on twitter of what made be a bit more mindful and btw follow Shanons recommendation cause the HBO series Insecure is awesome.

  3. Thanks for the episode, I’m half way trough, and that’s really.. meh, I want to say gruesome.
    Disclaimer : I’m a man, I’ve grown up in a family with mostly women (it was usually something like 3 to 10), my current boss is a woman and I work at a company which claims to have a focus on diversity (which, from what I can see, is true)
    But honestly, I can’t help but feel that it’s (a lot ?) worse in the US than it is in Belgium.
    The guy masturbating in the bus, that’s just unimaginable. I’ve taken the bus for years as a student, my wife can’t drive so she does takes common transports frequently, and we have never seen something like that. That just.. wow oÔ

    • I have to say that it is one of those surprising things, but I would take a second and wonder if maybe it isn’t something you’re just not confronted to. Maybe you could ask women around you if they’ve ever experienced it… You might be surprised. And saddened.
      (Of course it’s less “easy” to experience when you don’t have places like subways in the city)

      • De Ruijter says:

        Been riding public transport for decades all across The Netherlands and I have never seen anything like that either. People would pull out their phones and record you immediately, while the more courageous would intervene and the police will likely be waiting for you at the next stop. One could however imagine this in the U.S.A. with their underfunded public services and sometimes lawless environment, although a clear indication of distress might still be sufficient to get the support you need as shown by some of the videos from there.

        Meanwhile I have to admit I’ve purposefully pushed women on the train/bus as well, but apparently they are as self-centered as they appear to be given that Marleen clearly did not get the message. Lady, you are preventing people from moving into a crowded vehicle by blocking the access path. Move to the back like a civilized person so more people can properly join the ride and are not bunched up Japanese-style at the entrance. Moreover, given your behavior, it might also come as a surprise that people are not “trying to get you” when they just move aside your annoying bag blocking an unused free seat next to you during rush hour.

  4. Matthias Keller says:

    Thank you all for this awesome episode of the Phileas Club! You all did a great job in explaining not just the underlying problems but also making them very concrete with all those examples, that showed how these (in the eyes of many men) harmless and mundane situations have a very serious impact, especially if they are all put together. I especially liked the “paper cut” analogy in this context, which perfectly symbolizes this. Your stories made me think a lot about past events I have witnessed and reevaluate a lot of what I think about them now.

    I still have some questions for you (and of course all other listeners):

    A question for Allison: As you have said during the podcast, you have been working in a mainly male-dominated field for quite some time. Have you seen a significant change in the behavior/attitude over the years? Or was it just the “same old” and nothing changed during the 35 years you worked there? (Sorry if that sound dumb or naive, I’m just interested in your perspective on possible change over a longer time period)

    A question for all: Do you think that the current metoo debate will actually have a longlasting impact? There have been a number of outcries over the years, but sadly they often seem to die down after a while and the changes made afterward seem to be rather small (if any). Or at least that is the impression I get over here in Germany, where we had a similar debate a few years back, that now seems mostly forgotten.

    Also, a small anecdote in addition to something Allison and Wendi talked about (the idea of using all female pronouns and “can men even be doctors”): Angela Merkel has been Chancellor in Germany since 2005. So for many children, she has been the only Chancellor they have ever heard of. And it seems like your observations are the same as over here because I remember hearing a teacher talk about a discussion with children, where they couldn’t seem to imagine a man becoming Chancellor because it has always been a woman for them. 😉

    • Hey Matthias, and thanks a lot for the positive comment. 🙂
      I’ll only comment on the Merkel thing, because it immediately reminded me of Thatcher… Yes, there can be (and there has been) powerful women, but sadly one exemple doesn’t change things. We could give a few more historical exemples…

      • Matthias Keller says:

        I didn’t mean to imply that the example of a (still rather small) number of prominent female figureheads would mean a significant change. Especially since these women had to endure an even harder path than their male counterparts to get to where they are and were constantly attacked in public.

        I simply wanted to add another example to what Allison said when she told us about the comment her daughter made on whether men can become doctors because she only has had female doctors: I heard a story that had the same bottom line (“can men become chancellor?”) under similar circumstances. That is why I labeled it as an anecdote. Sorry if I didn’t make this clear enough.

      • Fair enough!

  5. Meachamus Prime says:

    Great episode and show! It’s good to hear multiple points of view, especially in the occasional non-adversarial, non-confrontational environment where a person’s true opinion can be expressed without fear of reprisal.

    How these people in this episode have been treated is reprehensible and such mistreatment in society should be corrected.

    But why must men be excluded from these societal corrections? I’m male. I have been sexually harassed by women (I’m not attractive, so it hasn’t happened recently). I have been almost raped by a woman, “almost” only because I managed to escape the situation. I have been physically beaten by men and boys on multiple occasions. I have been passed over for promotion to jobs I was already doing, on multiple occasions, without even being included in the discussions. I have been interrupted often by both men and women, all of whom took offense when I returned the favor.

    Why is it that people expect me to just live with mistreatment while society makes it easier for them and my harassers to harass me with impunity and even gives them more tools to continue it? Why can’t it include ALL harassment?

    Maybe I’m just venting because I feel like everyone is fixing everyone else’s societal issues while ignoring mine. In fact that’s probably it. I’m a white, heterosexual, male. My individual situation is irrelevant. I just need to suck it up and accept that this is my place in society and live with it. Harassment of my gender, race, and sexual orientation is simply acceptable because of what some unrelated despicable white, heterosexual, men have done… because my “group” is “privileged.”

    Thank you, Patrick, for the show and for giving me the opportunity to vent in the comments here. It’s given me the chance to truly come to grips with my place in society. I’ll try to step back into the crowd now and live with my situation. Again, thank you.

    • Hey Meachamus, I think we tried to address this at the beginning, but I do understand that it doesn’t bring much comfort when you are also a victim of such acts. The debate about a certain type of discrimination isn’t meant to belittle other issues; there are indeed more than this injustice in the world, and I think one of the issue of the bigger ones (while I don’t want to diminish your experience, things like racism and sexism do have a bigger impact on people of color and women). As to the issue privileged… Yeah, it doesn’t mean everything is super peachy; it only means that, all things being equal, we probably had an easier time than those that aren’t. Again, that doesn’t mean everything’s going perfectly; sometimes far from it.
      Bottom line, sorry you had those things happen to you. 🙁

      • Meachamus Prime says:

        Thank you, Patrick. Sometimes all that is needed is for someone to listen and show some compassion. Sorry for venting. And you make a good point: if I had continuous sexism or racism added on to my experiences, I don’t know that I would have been strong enough to continue on. Thanks for your patience.

  6. De Ruijter says:

    Patrick you did a good job this episode, especially the part where you presented yourself as vulnerable through your past mistakes. The hounding response that culminated in one of the guests literally saying they enjoyed to see you squirm was alas indicative of what they brought to the table. Where one would expect a honest but somewhat bland public conversation, these supposedly highly educated women turned out to be completely blind to their probably male-skewed but progressive and intelligent audience that already sees equality and compassion as fundamental values of a properly functioning society. It is even clear from the comments most are receptive to the higher level of harassment faced by women. To then blast us with falsehoods, self-deceptions, auto-contradictions, logical fallacies, general unsocial behavior, misandry, the infatalisation of men, calls for gender apartheid, etc were utterly stupid and crimes to the ears as well as the soul. Again they almost seem the other side of the Trump coin, acting towards men like their counterparts act towards foreigners, eliciting the same rejection instead of the cooperation they should be seeking. I’m glad the women in my life and most of my country are not from this depressing micro-PTSD-driven revenge-cult, but actually seek permanent progress through more fundamental common values and mutual appreciation. Hopefully these women will still have an “evey in the rain”-moment somewhere in their lives that pushes them onto those tracks as well.

    • Randydeluxe says:

      I’d like to present some sort of Asshole Award to De Ruijter here. Maybe a trophy with a big bronze asshole on it.

      You could put it with your other ones.

      • De Ruijter says:

        I humbly accept my award and present you with a little Duterte statue as well. I’m sure you already have all the big name historical dictators trying to “silence” their opposition, but I would still like to present you with a token of my appreciation for the ad hominem and the lack of substantive discussion (especially since that is what the podcast is all about) that made my point so beautifully. Chapeau!

    • Dorkmaster Flek says:

      Funny that you criticize others for “ad hominem and the lack of substantive discussion” when you yourself offer the exact same. Claims of “falsehoods, self-deceptions, auto-contradictions, logical fallacies, general unsocial behavior, misandry, the infantalisation of men, calls for gender apartheid” while offering no actual examples of such. The last one in particular made me laugh. “Calls for gender apartheid”? Seriously? You make it sound like the guests wanted women to go live on another planet completely devoid of men.

      As for “making Patrick squirm”, the context of that statement was clearly half-joking to lighten the mood of a serious discussion, but also make the point that even men who consider themselves strong allies need to examine their own past behaviour and learn from it. And yes, there was probably a bit of joy in the power reversal that comes with the discussion, but only because that power imbalance exists so often the other way around. There was no “rejection” of men here. This was all about learning and cooperation. The hyperbole of your comment shows how far in the sand your head is.

  7. Kalpalduin says:

    This was really informative and I could even say educating. Felt nice too. So important.
    As the geek that I am I felt like I’ve gained instantly +5 wisdom points when the show ended.

  8. This episode was really good! I really loved all the guests and hope they will became recurring guests (so we can have a more equal podcast).
    Thanks to all of you for doing it!
    I live in Italy and lived in France before that. I can remember episodes of harassment in my little French city but not it the Italian capital. I don’t know if it is because I am a lesbian and that everybody at my work know it or if it just something related to Italian culture but no man ever have a bad behavior with me at work. I just thing that Italian males are reallyyyy superficial and they look only at perfect women. Never seen any bad gesture but I can hear comments about pretty girls/women body every day. And it just seems ok for everyone: men that look and say something but also women that can hear them. Italy is really old fashion for that and women (a lot of) think they are living to be the wife/mother. Can’t wait to have 2017 in Italy too!!!!

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