Invisible: To be invisible means to be out of sight, hidden, and unheard by others. Invisibility is the act of “flying below the radar” so to speak, in order to avoid the spotlight or the attention of others.
Do some people intentionally choose to be invisible by not expressing an opinion on a controversial subject, because it’s easier to stay quiet? In avoiding “making waves” there seems to be suppression of emotion and feelings, because it’s easier to step back and be quiet, than speak up and be judged.
Who makes us feel like we should be invisible and unheard though? Is it societal pressure, parents, or peers? Yes, most likely all of the above. Yamada brings up the fact that some women’s desire for invisibility is a “conditioning process” that is taught from a young age.
This conditioning is an issue Yamada had dealt with for some time. By speaking out at her work she was going against the idea of invisibility and the response was; “she seemed like such a nice person, so polite.” There is this idea that it’s wrong to be seen and heard if it goes against the norm. She also talks about letting racist remarks slide and about “quietly fitting into the man’s world of work.” She writes about how tough it is to speak out against stereotypes and how being visible can be difficult because it can make a person vulnerable.
There’s always a risk of criticism involved when a person is visible, but is it a risk worth taking?