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Old 01-23-2012, 10:30 AM   #62
George S. Ledyard
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Dojo: Aikido Eastside
Location: Bellevue, WA
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 2,670
Re: On being Female in an Aikido Dojo

Barbara Knapp wrote: View Post

Why are there apparently no women posting to "voices of experience" on this forum? (am I missing some woman who is? I don't think so.) I know you are out there.

I have talked to many of my senior (Rokudan level) female friends about posting on-line and virtually none of them post. The normal level of contention on the forums that is at least tolerable for many of the guys simply is of no interst whatever to my women friends. I know for a fact that some of them do read posts occasionally, but the attitude that this is a "debate" rather than a shared "discussion" that seems to be common to many, if not most, threads is of zero interest to them. At least that's the feedback I have gotten. I am really glad that there are more women posting regularly now. Having women who are teachers like Mary Eastland participating is even particularly important.

But I think that, per the original discussion, the martial arts world has largely been the "boy's club". It has always been difficult for owmen to have the same degree of respect and recognition accorded to the men. Aikido has always been quite a bit better in this respect but, given that it's a Japanese art, it's still never been unbiased, even here. The women who have fought their way to some level of recognition, rank wise and as teachers often do not seem terribly inclined to place themselves in a position of vulnerability in an environement that doesn't seem "safe". A male dominated internet forum in which there is quite a bit of uncivil, disrespective communication taking place does not qualify as "safe". It's risky for anyone to participate in these discussions... I think it's not surprising that folks have never had the benefit of "entitlement" and have had to fight for the respect they have gotten wouldn't volutarily put themselves on the firing line simply as something to do i their spare time.

I think that if we guys could get our act together about how we communicate on the forums, we might be able to persuade some of these amazing teachers to particpate. But we've got a ways to go before that happens I think.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
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