Philosophy infection.

The new look is here for now. I considered a few different ones, but I loved that header for reasons I still can’t quite figure out yet. I might do something else somewhere down the line, but this still feels to me like a fresh enough reboot.

So, onto the point.

Since due to a whole slew of flukes I registered far too late in the game for classes, I’m taking Philosophy in Feminism at the moment. It filled a requirement, and there was nothing else that could fill said void without having to come to school on a Saturday. Maybe I’m still stuck in a K-12 state of mind, but to me, that’s nothing short of abhorrent. Especially if it’s midday. Not a chance in hell.

So I caved and got the class, and ignored the giggles every time I told people what I was taking, because yes, I thought it was stupid too. Not Feminism (pleasepleasepleasedon’thurtme), because I’m good with that. I believe in equality, and everything that comes with it. I have to. As a female director going into a male dominated industry, you can’t not be if you want to have a career of any significance.

But still. It felt like it’d be an hour and fifteen minute long hatefest every Tuesday and Thursday, and I didn’t want to deal with it.

Then I started school. P.T., our professor, is scary cheerful. The woman never stops smiling, even when she’s hacking up a storm thanks to the virus currently attempting to floor her. As someone with consistent health issues, I sympathize thoroughly.

So my preconceived nightmares about just what kind of a person teaches this class were immediately snapped in two. And  then we got going. P.T. has a sharp mind, and she talks loads. This, I think, is a cornerstone of being a philosopher, but I don’t know enough to consider that anything more than a theory. She has loads of thinking, and loads to say about it.

This tended to make classes endless. But at the same time, when I wasn’t zoning out due to exhaustion, it did tend to draw you in. Just listening to what she was saying, and the conversations that spurred, tended to be enough.

The assignments, however, were brutal. And still are. The driest of the dry so far, and even when salient points were being made by the author, you still couldn’t bring yourself to care because of it. Pure uncut agony. Nothing more, nothing less.

But then there’s the conversations, which applies these headsplitting theories into contemporary life. You might even start to wonder just how it applies to you. Have you, as a woman, contributed to your own oppression? Do you care? Should you? Does it benefit you? Are all men evil, programmed to be evil, or quasi evil just because? You have to find out!

Though she constantly claimed not to hate men, P.T. showed a different side pretty quick. Some guys that held alternative views to hers were cut off or countered with arguments they couldn’t possibly top fairly quickly. You could see the indignant fury rising in their eyes as they fought to agree to disagree, or just to say something for the goddamned participation points and get it done.

Whatever her feelings about men — and I mean average, every day men, not active oppressors that we’re supposed to watch out for — it’s turned out to be extremely interesting to watch.

Now, entertainment aspects aside, I did say salient points have been made. And in spite of my tendency to want to scoff, I have noticed that bits and pieces have worked their way in. Take ‘Girl’ for example. For the modern woman, this word is supposed to be a trap. Through its use, you are stripped of your adulthood, and no longer feel any responsibility to act with autonomy.

My sisters E and R are 19 and 17, respectively. When they were young, they were like twins. They’ve shared a room since they were both old enough to be occupy beds, and that forced closeness developed into something that still shows today in how they treat each other. (On the inverse end, I as the oldest have always had my own room, and I think that affected things between them and me growing up, but that’s another post for another day.)

Being so utterly close had resulted in a Siamese Twining. Instead of two, they are one, and eternally referred to as ‘The Girls’. Sometimes, since there are three of us, that moniker applies to everybody. But more often than not, it’s just them.

After talking about the ins and outs of the use of ‘Girl’, I realized that I still haven’t gotten out of the habit of calling them that. Because they’re my little sisters, and they’re always going to be. And as the Third Parent for 85% of my life, it adds an extra layer on top of being the Older Sister, which cements my need to call them that.

But there’s a point there. R is referred to as ‘The Baby’, and E is told constantly how cute she is, and together they are The Girls. Is that oppression? Am I oppressing them? Has my desire to protect them, and my hand in raising them, affected their development at all growing up? Does it still?

And damn it, why is my only doing what’s natural no longer feel like a good enough excuse?

That’s the scary thing about this philosophy business. You think about things like that. Even as a writer, it’s something I don’t think I would’ve ever touched on. Nevermind starting to look twice when a guy opens a door for you, even when he clearly doesn’t have to. (Politeness or ridiculous? Resurrection of chivalry or subjugation? YOU be the judge!)

It’s like getting an ear infection that bleeds through into your brain.

But then again, isn’t that what ideas are supposed to be?

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~ by Sara on October 29, 2011.

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