Are Women Strong and Brave?

Strong Woman

Because I had such clear, shameless messages as a child that women are evil, and that women deserve less than men (see last blog post), I have always recognized those messages more clearly than many people around me. I believed this as an innocent child and deliberately decided to change the belief as a young adult. So, I can see where it comes through in culture – sometimes on a muted level and sometimes as directly as I experienced it when I was little.

This is the invisible gorilla test that Daniel Kahneman talks about in Thinking Fast and Slow. In the invisible gorilla experiment, researchers asked participants to count how many times people in a video passed a basketball back and forth. While the players passed the basketball, a person in a gorilla suit walked through the group. The study showed that when participants were focused on the players passing the ball, they did not even notice the person in the gorilla suit. Once researchers pointed out the gorilla, though, it was impossible to miss. This shows that selective attention narrows our ability to perceive the whole picture.

But, when we know a person in a gorilla suit might walk by (or when we know that the idea that women are evil is possible and acceptable to a lot of people), we can recognize it.

After college, and embracing the idea of