March 17, 2009

I see you don't quite get shit: Anthropology Edition

You know what, I'm bout to pop people in the face.

If you're unfortunate enough to follow my Twittering Train you may have heard that yesterday I'd gotten zero hours of sleep and proceeded to class hopped up on sugar and caffeine. Needless to say that day ended in a 10 hour marathon nap.

I tell you that to explain that I've officially been up 13 hours today about about 3 o'clock because thanks to that long kiss goodnight, I've been up since 2 this morning. Hopped up on even MORE sugar1, AND it's sunny outside. So I'm rather hyper today :D I'm typing this blog post from upside a wall.


So proceed to my cultural anthropology class were we're a-talking about gender. I usually love my anthro class since we're such a talkative bunch and today was no different. For extra fun, our regular prof had hear graduate assistant, a sociologist, teaching instead! YEYUH!'s where the title of my post comes in. I sometimes feel--while I don't like to toot my superior intelligence2--that self-identifying or belonging to not one but a few minority groups (black. female. unstraight. *shatner*) sometimes it feels like I just get shit more. I read a lot. I blog. I'm in Bloggity Blogland where I learn. And let's just say that when I hear women make way less than men for doing the same job, I don't question the validity of that shit, I can tell you it's true and I can tell you a few other things that are true.

Being "outside the box" as in neither white nor male nor straight, it seems that I can grasp the conflicty things that perhaps gender, being a social construct, isn't static. It's dynamic, it changes from culture to culture. If you tell me that some Native American tribes believed there were 3 or even 4 genders I'm past the stage where I'll boggle at you like "NUH UH THAT CAN'T BE POSSIBLE COZ THERE'S ONLY MALE AND FEMALE", I will say, "Oh really? Do tell." I think they call that open minded.

Now, that doesn't make you dumb for not understanding that gender all over the world isn't what you think it is. That doesn't mean you aren't open minded either. In all reality it probably just means you didn't know that little fact, and that's fine. I just found it hilarious watching a handful of people struggle (I guess they were struggling) with the concepts of gender vs sex and how you really have to SEPARATE THE TWO.


I'm an antagonistic bastard so I passed around some sarcastic hand claps whenever I felt someone had either grasped a concept or failed to utterly. It didn't matter to me! I had lots of fun.

The best one was, while talking about the two spirits concept, which is something I'm admittedly not that familiar with, we talked about what WE, as, uh, Americans, would call "homosexual" marriage. The thing about the two spirits concept is that, there were in some tribes males born with female characteristics, and females born with male characteristics. I mentioned in class that this might tie in to what we would call intersex but I don't know if I explained myself adequately. What happened was, though, a few folks seemed to have trouble with grasping the fact that the two spirit males & females could get married to OTHER males and females respectively and it wasn't considered homosexual because the two spirit people displayed the opposite characteristics.

Got it? Good. Because that had shit to do with anything, it wasn't a "straight" marriage or a "gay" marriage, it was a socially accepted union, or a MARRIAGE. One guy seemed to have the most problems with accepting that there was something outside the heteronomitive and our regular teacher told him that he was equating sex with gender even though we had established that you need to separate the two. He eventually seemed to get it. I clapped.

What got my blood boiling towards the end of class--and I discussed this with another girl later because it was really funny--was the GA talking about possible solutions to the fact that women DO make less money than men for doing the same work even with the same education or better, for various reasons (and I will just sum it up with my favorite buzzword PATRIARCHYYYY). What can we do about the gender discrepancies in our country? Is this a problem?

One guy in the class answered with basically (I'm paraphrasing but you can trust me here): it's not really a problem, it's been this way for years and it's going to be hard to break old attitudes.

Class: *chirp*

I clapped. And lol'd. And BANK'd my first amendment rights to call someone's opinion foolish, but I didn't actually voice this with words because GA answered too fast.

Regular teacher gave a much better and not stupid answer, and thus class ended not too long afterwards. We're going to be on this subject for a few more weeks. Goodness I cannot wait until Thursday.

Note1: Sugar doesn't actually make you hyper. Fun fact!
Note2: Momma says I'm smart. Cite!

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