Trigger Warning:This post is a bit on a feminist tear…and it’s a bit heavy, but I promise, I’ll try to make at least one inappropriate joke.
I had an interesting conversation yesterday with one of my very good friends in academia. Do we as women wear our strengths as a mantle or as our armor? Can it somehow function as both?
We were discussing our various endeavors of the current term, and preparations we’re making for the next term, as well as a great deal about our growing families. We talked about papers we’re writing, conferences we’re planning on attending, grants we’re going after, etc. About that time, we were approached by a male don, a ranking member of the faculty, and well-respected academic. Immediately, she and I erected our guards, ceased in our discussion of grants, and went about the manner of most female academics in remaining sort of “closed off” from our masculine counterparts.
The moment he left our company, I looked at her and said: “Why in the fuck do we do that?” Confused, she sort of just looked at me, tilt-headed as a puppy, and said: “Pardon?” I went on: “Why is it that as soon as a male member of the faculty approaches, we so drastically change the direction of our conversation? I understand not discussing grants, as male grant applicants are still much more likely to receive said grant, so we don’t want to share that information, but we sort of become more scholarly in their presence, more haughty, more academic.”
We went on to hypothesize that women, regardless of profession, but ESPECIALLY in male-driven fields such as academia; wherein the male to female ratio is still shocking; that we tend to err on the side of the Beauvoirian philosophy of:
“The point is not for women simply to take power out of men’s hands, since that wouldn’t change anything about the world. It’s a question precisely of destroying that notion of power.”
Because men think that so much of what women discuss and do is frivolity, we tend to become “more” of whatever it is we are when we are in the presence of men, reserving alternative conversations for when we are in purely feminine company. It gives the idea of equal footing amongst the sexes a veil of verisimilitude, when we have full understanding that it’s quite the opposite.
Alas, my greatest desire for myself, my daughter, and every other woman is the ability to not only swath ourselves in the pride of a well-earned reputation in our field, taking our successes with all-due grace and yet, not with so much humility as to be forgotten. All too often women are encouraged to and taught by other women to shrug off compliments and accolades. I want women to be able to be just as proud of their amazing family, their children, etc as they are their professional accomplishments and as their male counterparts would likely be.
I’m a girl. I’m a woman. I get pedicures (not all women do, but I love them.) I’m raising an amazing family. I love the man. I love cooking, and working out, and my little blog. I’m bawdy and ballsy, and I can make just as many dirty jokes as the men without it becoming sexual harassment. I also know when it is, and when it isn’t appropriate. (hint* in academia, with the exception of most conferences…at the podium…it’s almost always appropriate…I’ll tell a story about my first interview with the dean at a later date. He’s AMAZING and filthy.)
I am no less intelligent or less of an academic because I read books that may or may not describe a man’s anatomy with the specificity of a photoshop help page. (Although, with some exception, if you’ve seen or imagined one….though, I did just read a book where the dude PIERCED IT!!! Seriously, why? WHY? Because you like your ladies to shudder and recoil when you undress? Seems like a real Shia LeBoeffy thing to do if you ask me.)
I’m pretty sure I can quote Sartre in Zumba class. If my education is my mantle, and my manner is my armor, then levity is my flight.
You know what else I can do? Add gifs at the bottom of a serious post, and then post a recipe for cake-batter meringues. BECAUSE….
And when I start blathering on relentlessly….
Enough of all of that….I need sugar.
Meringues. Cake Batter Ones. *kosher for Passover. Because, Sprinkles.
- 3 egg whites
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 tsp potato starch or cream of tartar
- 1/4 tsp almond extract
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp rum extract
- 1/4 cup colored sugar
- Preheat oven to 200F
- beat egg whites, extract, and cream of tartar into medium peaks
- stir in sugars slowly
- spoon into piping bag
- pipe into rounds 1.5" across and 2" apart
- bake for 2 hours or 2.5 hours or until meringue is dry the way through.