TOOLKIT

 

BELONGING shows a problematic scenario where gender bias plays out. After you watch the film, think about the issues that you noticed, have discussions with others about what they observed and felt. Read the Deconstruction below and consider what changes could be made for more effective communication and relationships – what could help everyone feel they belong?

 

RESOURCES

Resources on unconscious bias, microaggressions and belonging

  • Walton, G. M. & Brady, S. T. (2017). The many questions of belonging. In A. Elliot, C. Dweck, & D. Yeager (Eds.). Handbook of Competence and Motivation (2nd Edition): Theory and Application (pp. 272-293), Guilford Press: New York.
  • How Google Teaches "Unbiasing"
  • Stanford University Center for Women’s Leadership Tools on Bias
  • University of California Office of Diversity and Outreach Unconscious Bias Resources

 

Deconstruction of Bias and Microaggressions in BELONGING

 

"BELONGING"

Directed by Stacy McKenzie, Optical North  |  Written & Produced by Amy Logan, Gender Innovation

 

CHARACTERS

ANA – Lead female, first person point of view, product engineer, only female on product team, age: mid-thirties, 7.5 months, visibly pregnant, olive complexion, dark hair, of an unidentifiable, perhaps mixed ethnicity

MICHAEL – Lead male, first person point of view, ANA’s colleague, product manager, white guy in his late thirties, well-intentioned

TRISTAN – The boss, CEO, dominant, lacks awareness and adequate empathy, white guy in his forties

DAVID – The visiting consultant, a branding firm principal, lacks awareness and adequate empathy, white guy in his fifties

JACK – Sarcastic guy from marketing, white guy in his early thirties

TINA – Admin assistant, young, stylish African-American woman

 

 

FADE IN

From Ana’s point of view...

SCENE 1: EXT. SPECTROHUB OFFICE – MORNING

ANA arrives at work, breathing heavily because she’s 7.5 months pregnant and rushing to a meeting. ANA checks the time on her phone: 9:02 am. She’s slightly late. She walks into the lobby area of SpectroHub, where she works.

 

SHE’S LATE BECAUSE SHE HAS TO PARK FAR AWAY FROM HER BUILDING BECAUSE THEY DON’T HAVE A DESIGNATED PLACE FOR PREGNANT WOMEN TO PARK.

 

TINA is in the lobby and sees ANA enter.

TINA
(noticing with concern ANA is out of breath)
Morning, Ana.

ANA
Morning. Is the naming guy here?

TINA
(nodding and pointing towards the room)
They’re already in the Einstein room. He just arrived.

 

ALL THE CONFERENCE ROOMS ARE NAMED AFTER MALE SCIENTISTS.

 

ANA
Okay.

ANA hurries across a large room of cubicles and enters the Einstein conference Room. People are getting settled in and seated.

 

THERE ARE VIDEO GAME AND McGYVER POSTERS ON THE WALLS

 

As she enters, MICHAEL passes her from behind, carrying water bottles.

 

MICHAEL
(to ANA)
Hey

ANA
(to MICHAEL)
Hey

TRISTAN, the CEO, is at the head of the table. DAVID, the branding/naming consultant is standing by the table. JACK is already seated. DAVID looks at ANA, glancing down at her breasts and pregnant belly and as she finds her seat.

JACK
(barely audible, to ANA)
Somebody’s late.

MICHAEL glares at JACK as he passes out water bottles, giving ANA two.

 

HE’S BEING THOUGHTFUL ABOUT HER PREGNANCY GIVING HER TWO BOTTLES OF WATER.

 

TRISTAN
Michael, meet David.

They shake hands across the table.

DAVID
(nodding)
Pleasure.

 

TRISTAN INTRODUCED HIS MALE TEAM MEMBER BUT NOT THE FEMALE. ANA INTRODUCES HERSELF.

 

ANA
Hello David, I’m Ana.

DAVID
David Stewart, with The Name Game.
(He leans over to shake her hand.)

TRISTAN
Ok, let’s get this party started. We need a killer name for our product, folks. Time to name our baby
(He looks at Ana.)
No pun intended.

 

HE JOKES ABOUT HER PREGNANCY.

 

TRISTAN
David’s going to take us through some brainstorming.

DAVID
Thanks, Tristan. Congrats everyone – you’ve invented a new product – well, a new category all its own, actually! It’s going to be huge and probably catapult your company into billion dollar status. We’re getting a late start on this naming process, but let’s go...

 

DAVID IS MAINLY MAKING EYE CONTACT WITH THE MEN.

 

TRISTAN
We’re looking for memorable. Something that will become its own verb like Google.

 

ONLY LOOKING AT THE MALES.

 

DAVID
That’s right, Tristan. The name might be obviously descriptive of what it does, or more just evocative of what it is...

TRISTAN
How ‘bout the Spectrometry Scope?

Crickets.

DAVID
(writing Spectrometry Scope on white board)
Well, it’s a sophisticated machine but, from the consumer’s perspective, its function is pretty simple.

ANA
David, what sort of things should we be considering then while we’re trying to come up with name ideas?

DAVID puts down the whiteboard pen to demonstrate the device for ANA.

DAVID
What’s important to remember is that by scanning what you’re eating,
(mimes scanning some food with the device)
it can tell you precisely what’s in it -- ingredients, nutrients, calories, toxins – and then keep track of–

 

UNAWARE HE’S MAKING A CONDESCENDING SPEECH AND NOT EVEN MAKING EYE CONTACT WITH HER.

 

ANA
(interrupting)
I’m familiar with the product -- I designed it.

DAVID
Oh! Sorry. Wow! Really? I... I thought you were from PR!

 

ASSUMED SHE IS IN A NON-TECHNICAL ROLE AND UNFAMILIAR WITH THE PRODUCT EVEN THOUGH SHE’S ON THE TEAM

 

MICHAEL
No, she’s the engineer. Jack’s with PR.

JACK
(glaring)
Marketing, dude.

DAVID
Got it. Well, they don’t make engineers like they used to!
(winks at ANA)

 

THIS COMMENT AND BEHAVIOR HAVE AN IMPACT OF BEING FELT AS SEXIST.

 

MICHAEL looks at ANA, checking her reaction, as ANA rolls her eyes.

 

MICHAEL AND ANA SAY NOTHING DESPITE NOTICING THE INAPPROPRIATE COMMENT.

 

TRISTAN
(impatiently)
Can we please get on with this?

 

NO ONE ELSE CALLS ATTENTION TO IT EITHER, INCLUDING THE LEADER.

 

ANA
(visibly annoyed)
What I was wondering is – what are the best practices for naming a product given our target markets?

DAVID
Well, if you want a best-selling health or fitness product, you try to name it after its benefit to the consumer. Think ThighMaster, FitBit, SlimFast.

 

THE MEN ARE MAINLY MAKING EYE CONTACT WITH OTHER MEN DESPITE ANA ASKING THE VALID QUESTION.

 

ANA
But our product has a different benefit for each target market. For dieters, it’s weightloss; for expectant mothers, it’s a healthy baby; for people with severe food allergies, it’s staying alive.

DAVID
I think what you’re trying to say is this is pretty complicated. But don’t forget – all these demographics do have one thing in common – they need to know exactly what’s in their food...

 

DAVID’S TONE AND CONTENT ARE CONDESCENDING TO ANA.

 

Switching point of view to MICHAEL...

 

DAVID
But don’t forget – all these demographics do have one thing in common – they need to know exactly what’s in their food. The benefit of your product is that it reveals and tracks their food for them.

 

DAVID’S TONE AND CONTENT ARE CONDESCENDING TO ANA.

 

ANA
Okay, then it sounds like we need something shorter and less technical than Spectrometry Scope--

TRISTAN
How about SpectroCounter?

 

TRISTAN INTERRUPTS ANA.

 

Crickets.

 

ANA
I think he wants us to get away from the tech, Tris--

 

TRISTAN INTERRUPTS ANA.

 

TRISTAN
But the tech is so cool!

DAVID
Let’s keep ‘em coming... just let ‘em rip... lots of ideas...

 

The men don’t make eye contact with ANA throughout, only each other. David is writing fast, using abbreviations, throughout.

 

TRISTAN
FoodPatrol

MICHAEL
FoodGuard

JACK
FoodScout

ANA
NutriScout

JACK
NutriSleuth

TRISTAN
How about DigestiScope!

 

A collective "eeew". Laughter. Murmurs of toilet humor.

 

TRISTAN
Fine!

MICHAEL
CalorieHound... CalPal

TRISTAN
Not every user is dieting, Michael.

JACK
Yummy-metrics

DAVID
Now you’re warming up...

ANA
Yumalytics

DAVID
Nice.

MICHAEL
Yumatronic

DAVID
Yes! Keep going!

JACK
YumNerd

TRISTAN
YumScope

ANA
The Yumalyzer

JACK
Grub-something.

TRISTAN
(looking at JACK)
I like it...

JACK
GrubScout!

ANA
GrubStalker

TRISTAN
No! I got it – GrubSleuth!

JACK
Or ChowSleuth

MICHAEL
ChowScout!

MICHAEL
ChowScan, ChowScanner...

TRISTAN
No, GrubScanner! No! Even better – GrubStalker!

ALL THE GUYS
GrubStalker!

 

NO ONE NOTICES IT WAS ANA’S IDEA.

 

JACK
That’s awesome, man. Love it.

DAVID
Very current.

MICHAEL
The Grubstalker!
‘Can I borrow your GrubStalker?’

JACK
Dude! Gotta ‘stalk my steak before I dive in...

DAVID
Oh, we already had GrubStalker.

 

STILL NO ONE REMEMBERS IT WAS ANA’S IDEA. SHE DOESN’T SPEAK UP.

 

TRISTAN
Who said GrubStalker?

ANA
Me.

TRISTAN
Oh. How about that?... Huh...

 

HE LOSES SOME ENTHUSIASM NOW THAT HE REALIZES IT WAS ANA’S ORIGINAL IDEA, NOT HIS.

 

Switching to ANA’s point of view...

Meanwhile, TINA enters and drops off a resource book.

 

TRISTAN PUSHES IT AWAY WITHOUT EVEN MAKING EYE CONTACT.

 

TINA
Anyone need anything?

 

THE MEN IGNORE HER.

 

TINA and ANA exchange knowing glances.

 

ANA DOESN’T SPEAK UP AS AN ALLY.

 

TINA leaves.

 

TRISTAN
It’s got a hipster vibe, doesn’t it?

 

TRISTAN CAN SEE WHAT’S WRONG WITH THIS IDEA MORE CLEARLY NOW THAT HE KNOWS IT WAS ANA’S IDEA FIRST.

 

JACK
Yeah. Huh...

MICHAEL
It sounds like an insect catcher.
(in a canned commercial announcer’s voice)
Ronco presents... The GrubStalker!

 

RIDICULE.

 

TRISTAN
Or a bad horror movie.
(in an old bad horror film commercial announcer‘s voice)
Watch out for The GrubStalker!

 

RIDICULE.

 

The guys laugh.

 

DAVID
Ana, would that name appeal to women?

 

HE GLANCES FOR HALF A SECOND AT HER BREASTS. HE ASKS HER TO REPRESENT HER GENDER STEREOTYPE.

 

ANA
Well, I’m not the voice of all women but—

DAVID
It is a decidedly masculine name.

 

HE INTERRUPTS HER.

 

TRISTAN
We do suspect more women will buy this device than men. Men just inhale their food – and wouldn’t be caught dead carrying this into a restaurant – it looks like a woman’s ‘toy’!

 

TRISTAN STEREOTYPES MEN AND MAKES A SEXUAL JOKE.

 

JACK AND DAVID LAUGH, MICHAEL SMILES UNCOMFORTABLY BUT HIS EYES SAY "THAT WAS WRONG" BUT HE DOESN’T SPEAK UP AS AN ALLY.

 

ANA
(disgusted, to TRISTAN)
It does not.

TRISTAN
(turning back to DAVID, doesn’t look at ANA)
Oh, it was just a joke.

 

TRISTAN DEFENDS HIS BEHAVIOR AS JUST A JOKE, POSSIBLY IMPLYING ANA IS OVER-SENSITIVE. DOESN’T MAKE EYE CONTACT WITH ANA.

 

MICHAEL SQUIRMS, CHECKS ON ANA, LOOKS DOWN, FIDGETS WITH A PEN, SHAKES HIS HEAD.

 

MICHAEL
(mumbling the word like a sigh barely audible)
Man.

 

HE DOESN’T SPEAK UP AS AN ALLY.

 

DAVID
Perhaps a more gender-neutral name?

 

They all study the whiteboard for inspiration.

 

MICHAEL
I vote for ChowScout.

TRISTAN
Still too dude-ish.

JACK
How about YumNerd?

MICHAEL
(reading whiteboard)
How about The Yumalyzer?! I like that.

TRISTAN
(brightening)
Yeah!

DAVID
(circling it on the whiteboard)
It does cross genders successfully, I’d say. "Yum" is the "yin", "alyzer" is the yang.

TRISTAN
I can hear girls turning it into a verb:
(in his derogatory take on a young female’s tone of voice)
"I Yumalyzed this scoop of salted caramel gelato and I can totally have it if I don’t eat for the rest of the week!"

 

TRISTAN STEREOTYPES, RIDICULES.

 

DAVID AND JACK SMILE OR LAUGH, MICHAEL SMILES BUT LOOKS UNCOMFORTABLE. THEY DON’T SPEAK UP AS ALLIES. ANA DOESN’T SPEAK UP EITHER.

 

MICHAEL
Who came up with "The Yumalyzer" anyway?

They look around. ANA looks down at her notebook. No one claims it.

 

AFTER WHAT HAPPENED WITH "GRUBSTALKER", ANA IS AFRAID TO CLAIM "THE YUMALYZER", SO SHE WITHDRAWS AND DOESN’T TAKE CREDIT FOR HER WORK.

 

MICHAEL
Wasn’t it you, Ana?

ANA looks up.

ANA
I don’t remember.

 

SHE MISSES ANOTHER OPPORTUNITY.

 

Guys look at each other.

TRISTAN
It was probably me.

 

TAKING CREDIT WHERE IT’S NOT DUE.

 

MICHAEL
The Yumalyzer.

JACK
The Yumalyzer.

TRISTAN
The Yumalyzer!

DAVID
Great work, guys!

 

The guys stand up and give high fives all around.

 

BEING VERY PREGNANT, ANA CAN’T GET UP FAST ENOUGH TO PARTICIPATE IN THIS, IF SHE WANTED TO. NO ONE ATTEMPTS TO INCLUDE HER.

 

TRISTAN
Lunch is on me!

 

FADE OUT

 

 

FADE IN

Still in MICHAEL’s point of view

 

SCENE 2: INT. KITCHEN OF SPECTROHUB - DAY

 

TRISTAN, MICHAEL and JACK are getting ready to go to lunch.

 

JACK
We need to start shooting the promo videos for the Yumalyzer soon.

TRISTAN
We gotta get a better-looking prototype first. That thing is hideous.

MICHAEL
But the new samples of this design should be arriving any day now. We’re almost there.

TRISTAN
I say we go with the other design.

 

HE’S DISCUSSING A MAJOR CHANGE TO THE PRODUCT DESIGN WITHOUT INCLUDING ANA, THE PRODUCT ENGINEER.

 

MICHAEL
Seriously?

ANA enters the kitchen, surprising TRISTAN.

TRISTAN
(to ANA glancing at her body)
Hungry?

 

HE LOOKS OBVIOUSLY AT HER BODY.  HE CHANGES THE SUBJECT ABRUPTLY SINCE HE WAS TALKING ABOUT SOMETHING CONCERNING HER BEHIND HER BACK.

 

ANA
Yeah.

MICHAEL opens the fridge for her, trying to be thoughtful.

MICHAEL
(earnestly to ANA)
It’s cool how you’re really into food.

 

WELL-INTENDED COMMENT BUT IT IMPLIES A GENDER STEREOTYPE.

 

ANA
(sarcastically)
Thanks.

 

UNSURE AT THIS POINT IF SHE’S BEING TREATED RESPECTFULLY OR INFANTILIZED, ANA RESPONDS WITH SARCASM INSTEAD OF CALLING IT OUT.

 

MICHAEL tries again earnestly to connect with her.

MICHAEL
That was a great session with David. I couldn’t believe you came up with GrubStalker!

 

IT MAY COME ACROSS THAT HE ASSUMES SHE IS NOT CAPABLE SOMEHOW OF CREATING SUCH AN IDEA.

 

ANA
(fed up)
Really?

 

SHE’S FED UP BUT NOT CALLING IT OUT.

 

TRISTAN
(to ANA)
Surprising we both had the same idea. I never even heard you say it...

Switch to ANA’s point of view

 Maybe we can test "GrubStalker" in a small, low-risk market at some point if we see men buying it.

 

ANA nods skeptically.

 

TRISTAN
I mean, it’s catchy, fun, kind of unexpected. Women will hate it.

 

STEREOTYPING

 

(to the guys)
My wife would never use something named that!

ANA fake-smiles.

TRISTAN
(to ANA)
Why don’t you do some research on that?

 

ASKING HER TO DO SOMETHING THAT ISN’T IN HER JOB DESCRIPTION AND IS BELOW HER PAY GRADE.

 

ANA’s face falls.

ANA
That’s Jack’s job. Besides, I’m starting the augmented interface testing next.

TRISTAN
Oh – we’re putting Joel on that.
(He starts walking out of the kitchen)
Come on.

 

HE ANNOUNCES THAT HE MADE A MAJOR DECISION CONCERNING HER JOB ROLE WITHOUT TALKING TO HER AND FORGOT TO TELL HER AFTER, AS WELL.

 

The guys start to follow TRISTAN out of the kitchen.

ANA
Since when?

TRISTAN
Look, you’re going on leave soon.
(glancing down at her belly, gesturing towards it)
You’ve got your hands full now, no? Besides, Joel’s designed products for physicians before. If you come back—

 

HE’S ASSUMING SHE CAN’T HANDLE IT BECAUSE SHE’S PREGNANT – DIDN’T ASK HER FIRST WHAT SHE WANTED. THINKING SHE MIGHT NOT COME BACK AFTER GIVING BIRTH, AGAIN WITHOUT TALKING TO HER.

 

ANA
(pissed)
What do you mean "IF" I come back?

TRISTAN holds his hand up.

 

THIS IS A SILENCING GESTURE AS SHE IS STANDING UP FOR HERSELF.

 

TRISTAN
Okay, okay, I’m not dealing with this now. Let’s just go to lunch, okay?

 

TRISTAN REFUSES TO ENGAGE.

 

MICHAEL APPEARS SHEEPISHLY HELPLESS, HANDS IN POCKETS, SAYS NOTHING. JACK IS NOT SPEAKING UP EITHER.

 

TRISTAN
(to the guys)
So, where we going to lunch?

MICHAEL
(sighs)
I vote for sushi—

 

BACK TO BUSINESS AS USUAL.

 

JACK
No way, dude. I wanna catch the game – Sam’s Sports Bar.

MICHAEL
Dave’s is way better.

TRISTAN
I could use a beer.

 

NONE OF THESE CHOICES IS LIKELY INCLUSIVE OF ANA, A PREGNANT WOMAN. THEY DON’T ASK HER WHAT SHE WANTS, SHE DOESN’T SPEAK UP.

 

TRISTAN heads towards the exit door. The guys follow.

JACK turns to ANA.

JACK
You should be SO stoked you’re getting paid time off.

 

IMPLICATION: DON’T COMPLAIN ABOUT HOW YOU’RE BEING TREATED BECAUSE YOU’RE RECEIVING A PRIVILEGE ALREADY.

 

ANA misses a beat in frustration, then calls to her co-workers up ahead.

ANA
I just need a minute, OK?

Talking to each other, the guys keep walking.

ANA hurries back to the restroom by the kitchen.

 

FADE OUT

 

FADE IN

 

SCENE 3: INT. SPECTROHUB KITCHEN/BATHROOM AREA

ANA exits the restroom and heads for the lobby. The guys are not there.

 

THEY DIDN’T WAIT FOR HER.

 

ANA
Now, where’d they go?

She pulls out her phone and texts MICHAEL "Where are you?". She rubs her pregnant belly gently and sighs, waiting for MICHAEL to text back.

 

FADE OUT

 

THE END