Part of the fight for gender and racial equality requires calling out repeated problematic behaviors that silence marginalized groups. It’s why the term “mansplaining” resonates with so many women: the experience of having men explain our own experiences to us is all-too-familiar and condescending. In calling it out and raising awareness, men may recognize when they are doing it and make an effort to be more respectful.
Now, a social justice advocate and professor is giving name to another familiar phenomenon.
Nicole Gugliucci tweeted on Friday about a new term, “hepeating,” which describes a not-at-all-new experience for many women in the workplace.
“My friends coined a word: hepeated,” Gugliucci tweeted. “For when a woman suggests an idea and it’s ignored, but then a guy says same thing and everyone loves it.”
Her suggested usages include: “Ugh, I got hepeated in that meeting again,” and “He totally hepeated me!”
Her tweet has already amassed nearly 200,000 likes at time of writing and 64,000 retweets. Clearly it is resonating with women who have had this experience, whether in the workplace or in everyday conversation. Users are also pointing out how often this happens in political contexts, giving the example of Senator John McCain being heralded as a hero every time he votes against harmful healthcare legislature, though he is by no means the one leading the charge.
Twitter users are also pointing out that this happens to people of color, and we may need another term to describe the phenomenon of POC being silenced or ignored in meetings and at work. (Kamala Harris being repeatedly interrupted comes to mind.)
It’s worth noting that women in Obama’s White House actively tried to combat hepeating and having their ideas silenced.
When a woman made a strong point during a meeting, another woman would repeat it, giving credit to the originator, the Washington Post reports. They called the technique “amplification,” and used it to make sure their peers’ ideas were both heard and given credit for.
“We just started doing it, and made a purpose of doing it,”one of Obama’s former aides said. “It was an everyday thing.” She also explained that President Obama began to pick up on the practice and call on women more often.
This is just one example of how recognizing deeply-rooted societal behaviors and prejudices can help to combat them. In a world where men interrupt women nearly three times more often than other men, the more attention we draw to these issues — and force oppressors to draw to these issues — the better.