What? Seriously, folks. Or something.
When she opened the door this morning, my sister said that the air smelled like dead sea creatures. I thought it smelled like life. At my dad’s, we found an audio cassette of her 1995 Hershey Park karaoke cover of Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive” and a video cassette of my alto saxophone recitals. Later, I remembered how to walk alone in Manhattan for miles, stopping only to buy a book.
Last night I looked up through the subway window and saw a colossal orange moon staring back, as Sufjan Stevens sang, “I saw a sign in the sky,” into my headphones.
It can be easy to forget that the University still functions as a capitalistic machine, extracting all of our energy to the very last drop until we are dwindled bodies, robotically producing. In this sense, it does well in preparing us for the capitalist job market. I ask that we remind ourselves of this, and question whether we are willfully participating in, and internalizing, the ways capitalism associates our human worth with the amount of production they can extract from us.
When I recognized I was subconsciously embodying capitalistic values of extraction, I began to feel very depressed and ashamed. I did not want to, consciously or unconsciously, be an agent or tool of oppression. Eventually, I realized that I had to be patient and compassionate with myself – two traits I will forever be in the process of learning.
Teachers are often unaware of the gender distribution of talk in their classrooms. They usually consider that they give equal amounts of attention to girls and boys, and it is only when they make a tape recording that they realize that boys are dominating the interactions.
Dale Spender, an Australian feminist who has been a strong advocate of female rights in this area, noted that teachers who tried to restore the balance by deliberately ‘favouring’ the girls were astounded to find that despite their efforts they continued to devote more time to the boys in their classrooms. Another study reported that a male science teacher who managed to create an atmosphere in which girls and boys contributed more equally to discussion felt that he was devoting 90 per cent of his attention to the girls. And so did his male pupils. They complained vociferously that the girls were getting too much talking time.
In other public contexts, too, such as seminars and debates, when women and men are deliberately given an equal amount of the highly valued talking time, there is often a perception that they are getting more than their fair share. Dale Spender explains this as follows:
The talkativeness of women has been gauged in comparison not with men but with silence. Women have not been judged on the grounds of whether they talk more than men, but of whether they talk more than silent women.
In other words, if women talk at all, this may be perceived as ‘too much’ by men who expect them to provide a silent, decorative background in many social contexts. This may sound outrageous, but think about how you react when precocious children dominate the talk at an adult party. As women begin to make inroads into formerly ‘male’ domains such as business and professional contexts, we should not be surprised to find that their contributions are not always perceived positively or even accurately.
— Most of my undergraduate classes and ALL of my graduate classes have been made up of only 10% white cisdudes and yet somehow they manage to speak for 90% of the class time and actively shut people of other genders and POC down every time someone else tries to get into the conversation. And this happens daily within a program that is supposed to be interrogating the politics of race and gender in academia. I wish I had a recording device to collect some empirical proof, ‘cause it seems like people believe that more than our lived accounts.
BLESSED ARE THE SISSIES
BLESSED ARE THE BOI DYKES
BLESSED ARE THE PEOPLE OF COLOR MY BELOVED KITH AND KIN
BLESSED ARE THE TRANS
BLESSED ARE THE HIGH FEMMES
BLESSED ARE THE SEX WORKERS
BLESSED ARE THE AUTHENTIC
BLESSED ARE THE DIS-IDENTIFIERS
BLESSED ARE THE GENDER ILLUSIONISTS
BLESSED ARE THE NON-NORMATIVE
BLESSED ARE THE GENDERQUEERS
BLESSED ARE THE KINKSTERS
BLESSED ARE THE DISABLED
BLESSED ARE THE HOT FAT GIRLS
BLESSED ARE THE WEIRDO-QUEERS
BLESSED IS THE SPECTRUM
BLESSED IS CONSENT
BLESSED IS RESPECT
BLESSED ARE THE BELOVED WHO I DIDN’T DESCRIBE, I COULDN’T DESCRIBE, WILL LEARN TO DESCRIBE AND RESPECT AND LOVE
— Mark Aguhar, “Litanies to my heavenly brown body” (via skylineprophet)