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Sexism seems never-ending

Thursday, May 22, 2014
Diary of a Mothering Worker - Entry 108

At the end of the semester, a student asked me if I’d post an example answer for the exam to help him study. 


I told him I was busy, but I’d see. He responded that instead of gossiping in the night, I could make the time to do it. 


Gossiping? I get home at 7 pm, spend time with my child and put her to sleep. I fold clothes, answer e-mails for major research projects and make notes from books I’m reading. I wash dishes, write, and plan for my child’s future. 


Obviously, he was joking and I knew that, but we not bredren, we doh lime and we wasn’t throwing block talk on no corner. Women are being tested when forced to confront sexism. 


This was something he would never dream of saying to a male lecturer. He’d know it wouldn’t be considered funny, it would be risky, and it would seem like disrespect. So, why feel he could do it with me? 


Unapologetic feminists like myself are always being watched in these moments: Can we, above all, take a joke, whatever its message? Do we quickly resort to anger, fulfilling nothing but the most predictable idea of who we are? Are we articulate enough to explain what our problem is, to not become emotional, to adopt a cool pose in the face of such violence?


This student’s comment was his small way of rebalancing the scales between us by drawing on male privilege without even trying.