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The blatant stares from guys checking me out as I walked between rounds had me hiking down my skirt and clutching my notebooks to my chest…that gender dynamic would end up being one of the reasons I quit debate.
After one particularly rough tournament, I angrily threw my bags into my mom’s car and complained to her about the guys I had to deal with. I was looking for sympathy, but instead to my surprise she told me to get used it.
As a woman working in tech, she’s had to deal with the same kind of misogyny. Belittling comments. Men taking credit for her work. And sexist assumptions.
That’s why when I told her I wanted to drop debate junior year, she tried to convince me to stay. Not to improve my public speaking skills, but because the sexism I’d face there would prepare me for the rest of my life as a woman.
Even though I agree with my mom, I decided to quit debate to get away from that sexist atmosphere—-at least, for a little while.