There have been some traumatic experiences in my life that have resulted in my feeling that maybe I was going insane for a little while. The question is — how do you define insanity? And how do you ever explain the feelings of anxiety and paralysing fear? I can’t answer those questions. It’s just a feeling of ‘Am I crazy? Am I too sensitive to be in this world?’ A feeling that the world is just too complicated for me right now, and I don’t feel like I belong here. But it passes, and fortunately today I feel blessed for all the good things in my life.
I’ve learned that it’s okay to be flawed, that life can be messy, that some days you glide and some days you fall, but most important, that there are no secret answers out there. When you finally accept that it’s okay not to have answers and it’s okay not to be perfect, you realize that feeling confused is a normal part of what it is to be a human being.
Teachers are often unaware of the gender distribution of talk in their classrooms. They usually consider that they give equal amounts of attention to girls and boys, and it is only when they make a tape recording that they realize that boys are dominating the interactions. Dale Spender, an Australian feminist who has been a strong advocate of female rights in this area, noted that teachers who tried to restore the balance by deliberately ‘favouring’ the girls were astounded to find that despite their efforts they continued to devote more time to the boys in their classrooms. Another study reported that a male science teacher who managed to create an atmosphere in which girls and boys contributed more equally to discussion felt that he was devoting 90 per cent of his attention to the girls. And so did his male pupils. They complained vociferously that the girls were getting too much talking time.
In other public contexts, too, such as seminars and debates, when women and men are deliberately given an equal amount of the highly valued talking time, there is often a perception that they are getting more than their fair share. Dale Spender explains this as follows:
“The talkativeness of women has been gauged in comparison not with men but with silence. Women have not been judged on the grounds of whether they talk more than men, but of whether they talk more than silent women.”
In other words, if women talk at all, this may be perceived as ‘too much’ by men who expect them to provide a silent, decorative background in many social contexts.
It sucks when someone you have feelings for doesn’t share those feelings; it happens to women all the time, too. We hear “I just want to be friends” and “you’re like one of the guys” and “you’re like a sister to me” just as often. But you’ll never hear a woman complain that guys just don’t appreciate a Nice Girl because we’re taught it’s our own fucking fault when we’re rejected—we aren’t pretty enough or thin enough or sexy enough, we weren’t sexual enough or were too sexual, we put out too much or too little or too soon or not soon enough, we didn’t wear our hair the right way or our skirt the right length, we’re “too tomboyish” or “too butch” or “too feminine”, or we’re “not their type”, or we’re otherwise not good enough in various ways to entice the man to grace us with his affection.
But when we’re not interested in someone, we’re vilified. We’re the bitch that lead them on, the bitch who let them buy us dinner but didn’t want to date them, the bitch who doesn’t appreciate a nice guy, the bitch they were nice to and then got nothing in return from.
And, frankly, fuck those people. Showing interest in me, being friendly with me, getting close to me, or eating a meal with me (even if they paid for it) doesn’t obligate me to open my heart or my legs. And anyone who doesn’t appreciate my friendship sure as hell doesn’t deserve my love or my pussy.