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!