"There is difference and there is power. And who holds the power decides the meaning of the difference." --June Jordan

Friday, July 25, 2008

An Interaction

Male Co-worker: I hear you're leaving us soon.
Me: Uh-huh. I'm going to go back to school full-time. Time to get my master's degree.
Male Co-worker: Yeah? In what?
Me: Women's Studies.
(Male Coworker smiles dismissively.)
Me: (nodding, unsurprised at his reaction) Nice. Way to fight back the laughter, there.
Male Co-worker: Are there Men's Studies?
Me: Sometimes there are masculinity studies within Gender Studies, but Western education throughout history has been Men's Studies. Women's Studies is an answer to education's marginalization of women. It fills in the huge gaps left by that marginalization.
Male Co-worker: I wish we had about an hour to debate that right now.
Me: (calmly) Oh, yeah?
Male Co-worker: Yeah. Any guy who has been married for more than five minutes can tell you what they think about that whole theory that women are marginalized.
Me: (sarcastically and uncaring) Uh-huh.
(Male Co-worker leaves.)


Unknown said...

Yeah, I've encountered this before.

I've had to repeat the line from that one comic when someone asked me:
Guy: "Why isn't there a National Organization for Men?"
Me: "There is. It's called the Government."

Anonymous said...

Who was it who was it who was it?!

I'm sorry, but I would've had to dismiss you for that marginalization bit, too. It's not the idea that makes me reactionary; it's the language. Why am I such a man?!

Tracey said...

Too bad I already dismissed him the second he asked if there were Men's Studies. You can tell a lot about a person when they ask that question.

And I'll tell you later who it was.

Tracey said...

cass: I love it!

Unknown said...

Here from Shakesville.
Before the marriage comment he didn't say anything explicitly sexist, but you still knew he was sexist because of his attitude. It's funny the way feminists can smell bigotry in ways that non-feminists cannot.

plumpdumpling - I'm so sorry our language offends you. Did we make you question your privilege? You poor thing. /snark

Anonymous said...

Knowing who it was now, do you think he was just joking around? I'm not sure I actually think so, but I want to. It's hard LIKING people but not being able to reconcile their great personality traits with their ridiculous beliefs (a la K.N. and her anti-abortion craziness).

Tracey said...

Well, I'm sure his comment about being married was a joke, but I could totally tell by his attitude that he wasn't joking at all about his thinking Women's Studies is a ridiculous waste of time. He was just so completely dismissive of it. It didn't hurt or surprise me at all, since I've gotten that sort of reaction from so many men around here whenever I'm reading a feminist book or blog or whenever I tell them what I'm going to study. It's just the same feeling I get when I find out people I otherwise like are Republicans.

Alex said...

Thinking of 'Men's Studies' when confronted with Women's Studies and believing Women's Studies to be frivolous are two very different things. From the way you described his tone, he did think they were the same, but I often think about what Men's Studies would be when confronted with Women's Studies.

The reasons there aren't Men's Studies are many and varied, but it's still a question that springs to mind.

Tracey said...

Alex: I can understand the question "Are there Men's Studies?" in certain contexts, but this was definitely one of those contexts when he was being antagonizing and dismissive of Women's Studies instead of one of the times when someone is genuinely asking because they don't understand.