Bwog’s here again to divide your world into stereotypes. This time, Senior Staffer Gabrielle Kloppers writes about that person who always brings the conversation back to feminism (like, okay, but did you even do the reading?).
You walk into CC, expecting a continuation of this morning’s sleep. You are sorely mistaken. This morning is unlike other mornings (or maybe a lot like other mornings, we don’t know your story).
You’re quietly dozing off into your second-hand copies of Aristotle’s Politics… when–BAM–a voice that isn’t the monotonous drone of your professor startlingly pipes up. “Isn’t this sort of ignoring some people? Namely, women?”
“Why yes, yes it is. So is everything,” you think to yourself. “Maybe she has a point.” The rest of your class is nodding along slightly, and the comment engenders a conversation that has the potential to become enthralling, unlike most of Aristotle. “Finally, something that’s relevant to me, as a modern-day woman,” you think. “I can bridge the divide through the oppression we’ve always faced.”
A voice calmly pops up from among the general cacophony. “But of course they don’t care about the right of women, you have to take into account historical context, man.”
All hell breaks loose. The table is in pandemonium. People are shouting. A cup of Joe’s chai tea is upended. “Just because it’s historically accurate doesn’t mean it doesn’t merit discussion,” the original objector yells.
The civility of the class discussion rapidly deteriorates. The entire class is now either bashing or defending the misogyny rampant in old Western texts written by White Guys for White Guys.
Finally, the instructor resorts to the tactic used for emergencies like these: a short intermission to get soft drinks. He looks sheepishly around, suddenly all-too-conscious that he is a white, cis-het male. The class is broken off into small groups to attempt to stymy the brawl. It works, momentarily.
Variations of this conversation appear multiple times throughout the year. They happen while we cover the Bible. And Socrates, and Plato. Anyone really. Even Virginia Woolf gets called into criticism: “Why is this so non-intersectional?” While class discussions initially prompted excitement, they now prompt passive-aggressive sighing and hand-wringing.
“Why don’t we ever listen to each other?” you ponder, sinking back into your chair.
Image by Nikki Shaner-Bradford