It’s interesting that I’ve reached a point where I find the sexism in my classroom annoying but nothing worth addressing in any kind of serious way. It’s a study in comparative bigotry: The struggle to be respected as a queer has worn me down enough that I just don’t have energy for taking on the sexist crap.
It’s quite tedious.
When I was in high school, I took part in an applied physics program. The courses were taught by a teacher named Vorvis, who was a stickler for details. Among other demands, he insisted that all assignments be accompanied by a neat drawing of the relevant apparatus, with labels written in perfect capital letters. If this was not done to his satisfaction, then the entire assignment was considered incomplete. Needless to say, this was an effective training tool that very quickly had me making all of my handwriting an imitation of Vorvis’.
Fast forward 14 years or so, and guess what? I still tend to write in all capital letters, evenly and neatly. BECAUSE I WAS TRAINED TO DO SO.
And yet! Almost every single fucking day, some idiot classmate looks at my schoolwork and makes some comment about my girl handwriting.
Sometimes they listen as I explain that actually, my gender isn’t nearly as relevant as my history as a physics nerd.
Usually, they don’t listen at all, and just go along their merry little thoughtless way.
I realize such comments can sometimes be intended as compliments. Really though, if you want to compliment me, you should stick to my actual achievements: I worked damn hard in that physics program, whereas my gender is a more conflicted sort of ongoing negotiation that I don’t consider to be particularly praiseworthy. Otherwise, it’s just another one of the many ways in my intelligence and skills are undermined and negated, as a woman in this male-dominated trade.
Having said that, today has been a pretty good day, and I know that I’m here because it’s where I ought to be.