Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Ding-Bat Class?

I don't mind being misunderstood, so much as I mind being misunderstood and then ridiculed, as was the case in one of my gender classes.

It's a small class of six students. Just six of us. Five women and one man. From the first class I could see trouble: these students hardly talk. When Teach asks a question, you can hear crickets chirping. I hate those awful silences, so I talk. And sometimes I get flack for it -flack I can live with so long as we end up having lively, fruitful discussions that move the class past a boring, uncomfortable snail's pace.

But today was different. The question was whether women ever wish to be men, and why. Personally, no, I don't wish to be a man. But I understand why women would (all the other women in my class) considering the inequities that still exist in some societies, negative perceptions of childbirth, etc.

This girl, call her Curly, was presenting on the subject and said that men enjoy sex more than women. I objected: Do they really? And if they do, isn't this because we have been socialised to believe that men ought to be more sexually dominant?? She rebutted me on the basis that men are (I interpreted that to mean naturally and inherently) more sexually virile and dominant. She went on to say that men find it easier to have orgasms than women.

I argued that the only reason we think men find it so easy to live out these sexual roles is because they've been conditioned by society to do so. In another society, things would probably be different.

Enter laughter here.

I relate a tribe in Mexico where the women are the sexually dominant ones. They approach men, initiate sexual intercourse, and have much more fun with sex than the men do. In fact, the men secretly administer suppressants to these women to cool them down... I argue that if sexual aggressiveness is really a natural, in-born masculine value, wouldn't all men everywhere display the same sexual behaviour? Margaret Mead's research backs me up.

Enter laughter again.

The entire class gets on my case about it. Curly says that for men, any hole will do. I refute. This is not an absolute and I think it's important to look at the explanations behind our actions rather than just accepting the 'absolute finality' of the actions themselves.

Laughter again. Enter Ruthi getting a little pissed and annoyed.

I don't know. Maybe my point wasn't very well-made. Maybe they didn't get what I was saying, or maybe I missed what they were trying to tell me... It just annoys me, though, that instead of trying to get what I was saying or explain clearly what they were saying, they all had a laugh-fest about it.

I guess my persuasion skills need work. Or maybe I'm wrong. Maybe it was a classic example of miscommunication.
Or maybe I'm in a class full of ding-bats!

26 comments:

Ruthibelle said...

Women, have you ever wished you were men? Why?

Men, have you ever wished you were women? Why?

Ruthibelle said...

And do you think how you were raised has anything to do with your (perceptions of) sexual aggressiveness or passiveness...

areyouteeaych said...

I absolutely agree with you. It is purely social conditioning. Piggy-backing on your cultural example of the tribe in Mexico, similarly in the Wodaabe tribe in southern Africa, it is the men who dress up and parade around (in make-up *gasp* and do the dance in front of the women) and it is the women who choose their partners. It is not innate or natural for the woman to be the "attractor." I think it's because in Western culture especially (and a lot of it has to do with our religion, in my opinion) men are granted with this position on a pedestal because someone waaay back when decided that women were incapable of fulfilling the head of the household position. However, there are so many tribes in other cultures who follow lion tribes (where the lionness is the main provider) and furthermore, societies who comfortably recognize the power (woot woot) of women. Even when the reproductive process is depicted "scientifically" (think sex education videos, etc.), the male elements are given the upper hand. It is the egg who just sits there and it is the sperm who races to the egg all proactive and driven when in reality, a nuh suh it guh. The egg has a sticky substances that helps the sperm (truly terrible "swimmers" with no direction) and it is basically "she" that does all the work. I tell you, I thoroughly enjoy and cannot live without spirituality, but I hate what religion is capable of doing to a culture. And it is easier for a woman (who embraces the power of her body) to have multiple orgasms while men can have only one...without becoming useless afterwards. Women are actually more aggressive than men because we are much more selective with our partners in order to guarantee a higher genetic payback in our offspring - beat the competition baby! K strategists v. R strategists -> women v. men.
Whew...that was long. I could say a lot more, but I'll end it here.
::
Ruthibelle, I salute your standing up in class and hopefully, one day that laughter will turn into applause.

Beth said...

I don't really care, I just wish I was gettin some!

Gordon said...

I think it's the latter; they were definetly ding bats.

http://gordonswaby.com

kalonje said...

For men, any hole will do?? LMAO! What a way to put it!!

dejanae said...

dingbats for sure
nah
i never wished i was a man
but i can see how some would
especially in societies where women have little say

clnmike said...

Well I know this was addressed to women, but I think your dead on with your arguement.

Society has done a number on what the expected thinking of men and women are.

Ruthibelle said...

Lol, hush Beth.

Gordon, Dej, this was a heat-of-the-moment post. The ding-bat name-calling was probably a tad unkind. I take it back (?)

Kalonje, why am I not surprised that your *fantastic* mind plucked that line out of the whole post?? SMH :)

Mike, the problem is that most people don't even stop to realise that most of their customs and behaviours have been taught to them through socialisation, and there is nothing instinctive about them.

R.U.T.H, that was a post within a post boy! I was wondering afterward (kinda obsessing) if I should have explained that North-American culture is only one of a variety other cultures in the world, and that what we perceive as normal is not necessarily what obtains for other societies. Therefore we should never speak of sexuality and gender in absolutes, unless we make it clear that we are referring to one particular culture. And even then, there are still deviants in any society who challenge the status quo and choose to lead alternate lifestyles.

I feel much better now tho, cause y'all see what I'm saying, which means I'm not so very dim after all... I musta not explained it right to the class... probably got too ticked off by alla that damn laughing!

Mighty Afroditee said...

I would subscribe to the Ding Bat theory as well. That must be so annoying. No one putting a theory on the table, and yet they try to shoot you down when you offer up something constructive. Sounds like a flock of sheep.

The only thing that I really envy on a man, is the ability to pee standing up. That in itself is a wonderful and enviable superpower. If I could pee standing up, I would make my mark all over the place. Pee on every light pole there is.

Annie Paul said...

What was the lecturer's response? you never said...

well, like you said dingbat probably a bit unkind. these are people who are so thoroughly socialized into the belief that women are fundamentally different that they cannot possibly see what you're saying.

they'll never be persuaded by a classroon discussion, that kind of education takes time, the poison of sexist socialization has to be gradually dislodged. if the lecturere were really good at what she/he does it might be possible over the semester to dent those presuppositions and begin to change their minds but don't let it get to you. they've been miseducated that's all...

Jdid said...

sounds liek you just have some childish folk in your class

Ruthibelle said...

LOL@Afro leaving her mark everywhere...

Annie, the lecturer was enjoying the rare spurt of chatteractivity too much to do anything about it; remembered she was in charge after the third outburst and reined us in, conceding that both sides had points... Had the same class this afternoon. We just started looking at sexuality based on biology versus social construction...

@Jdid *sigh* ah well, it's a big ole world fulla diverse ppl.

Will said...

girl... i swear to the most high that you are chaneling me in your last few posts...

just today we had this discussion in the staffroom... one (female) teacher was going on and on about the "myth" of the g-spot... she called it a myth... a woman... a woman who describes herself as a feminist!!! i was mortified...

when i added my two cents trivia - that the clitoris contains the most nerve endings ANYWHERE on the human body - male or female - people were amazed... seriously... how can adult, sexual beings not know this stuff??? thank god for eve ensler - she taught me a thing or two i'll tell you that right now...

but yeah... i think your classmates just haven't discovered their own individual, sexual personas yet (some unfortunates never do)... tell them i say to get a hand mirror, squat and inspect... add some barry white, sandalwood mist and low lighting, and they can make an evening of it!!! it's not self-abuse, its self-service... :-)

Annie Paul said...

self-help to be precise...

One Man’s Opinion said...

I think you are in a class full of ding-bats. I think people shut down their minds when you don't say what they wanna hear. I have the same problem sometime.

I have never believe the sterotype that men enjoy sex more than women. I just think it is a copeout on the side of most women so they can blame everything on men. I have meet some horny ass women who can only think about the dik and sex. Hell, my little brother is having an affair with a married woman right now, so I am told. I put that crap right on her shoulders.....People like to ask the question, why do men cheat...Hell, why do women cheat?

coolie duppy said...

yeah but your little brother probably chased her down for it so he should get some of the crap too...why put it on her shoulders alone?

i'm sure she isn't holding him down...

Abeni said...

Ding Bats for sure. I want to be man sometimes cos I can scratch my genitals publicly,pee standing up,no periods and all that good stuff.lol

Jacqueline Smith said...

I vote ding bats (though I've only just added the term to my vocabulary). So why did I think that everyone who did gender studies actually cared about the issues?

I've wanted to understand a man's point of view, and that you can only do by being one. For instance, is a male orgasm anywhere as awesome as a female's?

Sugarmama said...

This kinda reminds me of a class I took (a LONG time ago) on women in the middle ages. The class was full of sorority girls who wouldn't say word one about anything, any day. So I talked, too. And on the days when I had slacked off the night before and not done my reading, EVERYONE knew it.

It is pretty pathetic that nervous laughter is all the rest of the class could come up with. Puh-leeze.

Ruthibelle said...

One Man, Coolie, I dont think it's fair to just drop blame on any one sex's shoulders. In the quest for equality: both sides should get fair and equal treatment.. so fair and equal blame, says I...

lol@Abeni... seems like men do get all the perks, huh?? I'm not sure the pee anywhere thing is as benefiial as it looks, tho, cause everybody can sneak a look at your unmentionables (that thought does not appeal to me)...

Jackie, I honestly dont think so, and sincerely hope not. That just wouldnt be right!

Sugarmama, that is annoying, isnt it?? Boy I tell you!

Tami Tami said...

sure I've wished I was a man, just so I could make a laughing stock of the scores of jackass-head-in-clouds-over-sexed women I tend to see all the time esp. here on campus, but besides that no. I think though it could have been anything (with regards to your classmates that is) misinterpretation, miscommunication or maybe we realy are surrounded by "ding-bats", I hate to say it but, I'm leaning towards that answer myself...(I just inserted the laugh btw).

Tami Tami said...

sure I've wished I was a man, just so I could make a laughing stock of the scores of jackass-head-in-clouds-over-sexed women I tend to see all the time esp. here on campus, but besides that no. I think though it could have been anything (with regards to your classmates that is) misinterpretation, miscommunication or maybe we realy are surrounded by "ding-bats", I hate to say it but, I'm leaning towards that answer myself...(I just inserted the laugh btw).

Mad Bull said...

I say that they are ding bats. They haven't learned to think yet, and you have. Enjoy your head start. Better yet, use it to make a shitload of money and live really well and laugh at the rest of them when they are all looking up to you in the future and wondering where they went wrong.

Ruthibelle said...

LOL, MB!!

Tami, you don't hafta be a man to laugh at them. Tho personally, I'm not making a big deal over 'oversexed women', especially when almost all the guys walking around us are allowed to be 'oversexed' without any stigmas attached to them... they're free to lead the lives they want to.

longbench said...

well, I wouldn't have said dingbats, probably something worse. Tad unkind yes, but jeez! Dem deh a university an' dem cyaa even hupp'n dem mi'in likkle bit?? Den wha' dem di deh fo' if nuh fi use dem brain? What a waste of your time and talent, but at least you gave it good effort. Maybe you should take on the lecturer more; at least you would be able to learn something from the exchange. I can't believe that people even debate such point about who has more sex, better sex, whatever. But that tells you how far removed from this reality I am somedays. By the way, that whole "social construction" vs. "biology" formulation is very problematic, even in gender studies 101.