Holding our hands up

Victoria Field noticed something about an interview in the April edition…

I was intrigued by the image at the top of the article ‘The magazine is you’ (April 2020), probably because it reminded me of many situations I have been in, both professional and social, where a man is doing the talking and a woman is listening.

The man in the photograph [Editor Dr Jon Sutton] does not appear to be looking at his interlocutor [Editorial Committee Chair Professor Catherine Loveday] and his raised hand suggests he is actively ‘holding the floor’ whilst talking. She, though, is looking at him with her hands demurely folded in her lap. Is this depressingly familiar to women readers or just my personal reading of the situation? Was the conversation really male-dominated?

So, I decided to count the number of lines attributed to each speaker and discovered that Jon has 296 lines of speech to Catherine’s 135 lines. Is this still typical of a ‘conversation’ between peers of different genders and if so, is it cause for concern that it should be printed unquestioningly in The Psychologist?

Victoria Field
Writer and Poetry Therapist

Editor’s response: I must hold my hands up to this. It was in my mind all through the actual conversation, the editing of it, and how we presented it. I was aware I had hogged the conversation. The priority was always for me to update readers on lots of developments that might have passed them by… but, given that, maybe the conversation format just wasn’t the right way to go.

Separately, Catherine has confirmed with you that she doesn’t feel any need to ‘demure’ in our chats! But I do agree we should have done / presented this differently. I apologise to Catherine and readers.

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