It’s still happening. Girls hanging back, getting out of the way. On the playground, but where else?
The inside of inequality, the cellular scrapings of being considered lesser than, lies in the reflex of deference.
Deference is the wee tiny rock that women carry in their pockets, the signal to tell them to get out of the way, sit down and be quiet, to become small and unremarkable in the presence of men.
Men didn’t put the tiny rocks in women’s pockets. They didn’t have to. Women put the tiny rocks there themselves.
Deference is the last crumbs of inequality that remain after civil rights acts and equal rights amendments, court cases and marches down the street. Deference is what keeps the pilot light of inequality burning long after equal opportunity has been installed in education, government, and business. Deference is the evidence that women believe what they’ve been told. No, not even what they’ve been told. What they absorbed from the world. No, not even that…
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