Not long ago, a client called me out on a casually sexist remark I made, the gist of which was ‘yoga is for girls’.
It was an odd thing to say, because it’s not what I think. Firstly, having practiced on and off since 2005, I certainly don’t believe ‘yoga is for girls’. Neither do I consider myself sexist – and yet my words undoubtedly were.
It would be easy to dismiss this off-hand – “oh, I didn’t really mean it, so don’t make a big deal out of it” – but this sort of comment matters. Whether it’s around gender, race, religion, whatever, carelessly throwing out stereotypical clichés and inappropriate jokes subtly reinforces prejudice, making it incrementally harder to change.
In her book ‘The Authority Gap‘, Mary Ann Sieghart writes:
“To achieve equality, we have to take conscious measures, and keep taking them.”
I’m grateful to my client for not letting it pass, as it reminded me I’ve got work to do.
Our evolution requires both embracing the new, and releasing the old.
Learning involves unlearning.