Why ranting is challenging

Recently I wrote about middle aged white seemingly successful “dudes” sharing and hyping only stuff from other dudes. Well, I didn’t just write about it. I did rant about it. In a private setting.

It truly bugged me to see that all they have and know seem to be other DUDES. It bugged me to see that they do NOT seem to be aware of that. It bugged me to know that they do not have to feel the same struggles I had and still have as a woman in tech, or: as a successful woman in a (still) mostly men’s field.

Then I noticed that ranting (at least this is how I judge it), especially in public, is still super hard for me. It consumes a lot of my energy deciding to write a rant. So I often refrain from doing it. Yet withholding it likely consumes even more of my energy. I am just so used to swallowing all of that, that I didn’t notice that fact/matter so far.

Reframing it: ranting in public challenges me. 

Ranting for me is bluntly writing about my perception, views, experiences and interpretations WITHOUT caring about my (still huge) desire to please each and everyone.

So why is ranting challenging, especially if you’re part of a minority?

Visualising systemic equalities

A good rant makes systemic inequalities visible. It mirrors not-obvious privileges back to privilege owners. It can increase awareness for these sometimes tiny yet very frequent systemic injustices. One example: women (and other minorities) have to work harder to move-up the career ladder in most cases [1].

Showing a different perspective

Ranting also shows more of YOU. People see you as a full person. YOU allow them to have a little peek-a-boo into that world of enduring millions of papercuts as-if-they-were-nothing because the outer world requires you to take them with a smile in order to be successful in the system created by the majority.
Frequently I still meet folks who have to hear e.g. sexist “jokes” or ableist “jokes” in their professional setting and who believe this is kind of “normal” because they don’t know it differently. No, this is not normal: this is a system created or at least tolerated by a majority over decades or even centuries.

Sharing the pain

Ranting can help you to let a bit of that steam off. To share parts of the pain of those millions of papercuts, like these “jokes” I mentioned before or other behaviours [2]).
Imagine you have to hear them at the coffee corner, at the lunch table, at your company’s events. Each “joke” feels too small to make a fuss about it. Also you’d be vulnerable by doing so. So you smile on the outside together with the majority. They find it “funny”, your system is hurt deeply inside.

Of course, not everybody will like to be pointed towards systemic inequalities or painful perspectives on maybe even their own behaviour. 

With a rant not everybody will be pleased. 

A rant cannot please everyone. Pleasing everyone is not the goal here! 

Sanity, Awareness & Connection

The goal is to care about yourself and your sanity first. 

The goal is to raise awareness in those people who want to change something but might not know how, who need a little nudge. 

The goal is also to connect with other humans who do not have the energy and/or the privileges to voice their opinions, to show parts of also THEIR million papercuts. To connect with these humans and let them know: YOU are not alone. WE can change the system. We are allowed to show up and be loud and inconvenient! We need to.

[1] https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20220222-proof-verus-potential-problem 

[2] https://scholarship.law.upenn.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=3801&context=faculty_scholarship