Microaggressions are statements, actions, or incidents regarded as instances of indirect, subtle, or unintentional discrimination against members of a marginalized group such as a racial or ethnic minority. A lot of people view these behaviors as too small or insignificant to talk about. But over time, these one-off comments or subtle demonstrations of bias can accumulate to have a serious impact on the way people view themselves and others.
But does anybody want to hear me talk about this? Probably not. So instead, I decided to visually depict the absurd and problematic thinking behind the phrases and words used today that need to be erased from our language.
This is by no means a comprehensive list, but hopefully these images will make you laugh (at yourself or others) and make you think harder about the importance of some not so little things in life you might not otherwise pay attention to.
Dissatisfaction should never be sexualized.
Don’t discredit people to avoid admitting fault, and don’t try to gain power by relying on stereotypes.
Quality not Quantity. It’s what people are talking about that should matter.
Ladylike is a word that shouldn’t have one definition.
Let’s stop associating personality traits with genitalia.
You never know what somebody is going through. Their appearance is not for your benefit.
None of your business.
Female minds should not be defined or perceived by their physical appearance or unrelated capabilities.
This series could go on and on. It could be extended to call out all the different forms of bias and prejudice that we perpetuate without thinking. It could also demonstrate the ineffectiveness of using the same rhetoric against men.
As an English major, I’m always thinking about language and carefully assembling mywords. For some people, that may sound like hell if all they want to do is to get a message across as quickly as it pops into their heads.
What I challenge you to do, wherever you fall on that spectrum, is to try to cut out words and phrases that you know are wrong, but continue to use for the sake of humor or convenience. Be open-minded to learning that certain words or actions may be offensive to others. We all need to work to take an equal share in ridding our language of harmful microaggressions.