01 August 2007


Many moons ago, Halfmama dubbed me a Rockin' Blogger. (Someone else gave me the nod, too, and I can't remember who it was because as my last post indicated, I'm crazy like a fox. Remind me who you were and I will link to you here!) That Halfmama is very, very kind to me. I don't feel so rockin' these days. Well, actually, I do feel pretty rockin' on many days, but I feel that way just for getting through the day. Seems like I should do more than that to be truly rockin', but why don't I just shut up now and say, "Thank you, Halfmama! You make a girl feel gooooood!"

As a token of my rockin'-ness, I am to offer up five random thoughts on feminism. Here goes nothin':

1. I get sick of people saying to me, "Oh, you have boy/girl twins, it's a perfect way to study nature/nurture and gender differences since you are raising them in exactly the same way!" OK, maybe, yeah. But I don't think it's an excuse to label the differences between Maddie and Riley as gender-based. Two is a really small sample, people! Just because Maddie happens to be more verbal does not mean that girls are more verbal as a whole! Just because Maddie likes to give Elmo a bottle and Riley likes to throw Elmo on the ground and stomp on him does not mean that girls like to be little mommies and boys don't know how to show the love. (So that's not really about feminism, but it's about gender equality/inequality, and that will have to do.)

2. I think my husband was more of a feminist than me. As he always said, "I'm a counselor. I'm practically a chick!" He was very sensitive to gender issues. I hope I can pass the same awareness on to my kids.

3. When I lived in Africa, I worked on a project that involved getting some books printed in Gabon's capital city, Libreville. I had to find a printer that was willing to print the books at a reduced cost. How did I accomplish this? I left my (male) Gabonese counterpart at the office, got very dressed up, wore a low-cut shirt, and used my feminine wiles. No, no, no, I didn't sleep my way into a deal or anything, but I did charm my way into a deal on the printing costs with a bunch of sleazy men. Shameful? Maybe. But I can tell you right now that my colleague would not have gotten such a good deal, and I would never have gotten the deal I got by playing hardball. Not sure what all that means, but it was an interesting exercise.

4. I wish I was comfortable enough as a woman and as myself to not shave my legs. But man, I am a hairy girl and in the summer when I wear skirts I just can't stand how it looks not to shave.

5. Ultimately, I don't put much stock in gender differences. They should just not be a factor in things like career choices and how people are treated in the workplace. Of course, they are, but they shouldn't be. It just shouldn't be so hard. Why can't we all just get along?! Heh.


6. It bugs the crap out of me that professional orchestras are still very male-dominated even though my own involvement in youth music programs leads me to believe that women are equally if not predominately represented at the amateur level. There are lots of professional flute players who are male, but not so many guys who play flute in high-school band or orchestra. What's going on? Is it the competitive nature of professional music that for some reason weeds out women? I find it curious, and troubling. How many female conductors do you see? Not many. And female composers? They are out there, but they are not getting the commissions that men are. I fail to think this is because their music sucks.

I will pass the Rockin' Blogger badge on to the following: Rachel at Kitchen Fire, OTRgirl at Sojournering, Emmie at Better Make It a Double, Lisa at A Letter to My Children, and Buddha Girl at Buddha Girl's World. If you have the time and inclination, share your thoughts. No matter what you say, you ROCK.


halfmama said...

You are rockin'!

Re: #1. So interesting, because I think I'm one of those people who say that. Maybe minus the gender difference part though, which is sort of your point. In fact, I'm not even sure that I think about their gender coming into play at all. I do, however, contemplate nature/nurture constantly.

Thanks for playing. :) You SHOULD feel rockin' everyday for all that you do!

Robin J. said...

#6 My kids are violinist. My two daughters are in orchestras at The Colburn School of Performing Arts in LA. They both have female conductors!

OTRgirl said...

Wow. I took the Book Quiz. Apparently I'm Watership Down:

"You're Watership Down!
by Richard Adams
Though many think of you as a bit young, even childish, you're actually incredibly deep and complex. You show people the need to rethink their assumptions, and confront them on everything from how they think to where they build their houses. You might be one of the greatest people of all time. You'd be recognized as such if you weren't always talking about talking rabbits."

Thanks for tagging me! I just wrote a ridiculously long post so I'll try and do the tag in a day or two.

Doctor Rick said...

It bugs the crap out of me that synchronized swimnming is female dominated -- nah, just kidding.

bg's Little Sis said...

ha, i love the synchronized swimming comment:) You do Rock sista and don't you forget it...by the way on the book thing, I have no idea how but I was..."LOLITA" by Nabakov!


Keep on keepin on!

Lots of love to you and the kids!

kabbage said...

#3. It works here in the states, too. I once worked in a union-dominated place, although the engineers (of whom I was one) were not unionized. We were designing and building prototypes of very large, complex machines. Trying to check the fit of our parts (which tended to run about 4 feet in length) was difficult because union rules limited us to 6" scales. I was able to measure a lot more stuff without getting written up by the union stewards than my male counterparts could. Part of it was gender and part of it was the blonde stereotypes at work (I had lightened my hair from medium brown). It is shocking how much people's attitudes change when one goes from brown to blonde. Even people who knew me well changed how they acted toward me. Or maybe the bleach went into my brain and I only *thought* they treated me differently.

Yeah, I was uncomfortable using the gender and hair color, but the deck is sufficiently stacked against women that I would probably do it again. See Twisty Faster's blog for the ultimate in patriarchy blaming!

Jolene said...

okay, all caught up now. I'm here for 3 days then I leave for NYC again on Sunday. Ugh. I missed reading your blog. You're a good mother. Just had the inclination to say that to you after reading the past few posts. And you're just a good person. But aren't I "rockin' too?" :( Just kidding!

Snickollet said...

Jolene--You are SO rockin'! I actually thought about nominating you, but I knew you were crazy busy with work travel. Good luck with your NYC trips. I hope you get a little down time!

Anonymous said...

# 3 works for boys, too. I gave my student a hard time when he used that one to sneak through a deadline in the front office.

Regarding the orchestra question. I once found a cite that said that the # of female winners increased dramatically when musicians were judged in blind auditions (i.e. the performer played behind a curtain). It was quite shocking, actually, and a great experiment, because music is such a pure test.



Anonymous said...

I don't mind fellow women using their physical "charms" to get what they want, but I also think that if we aren't going to judge women for that, men should not be judged for acting characteristically...well...male. Hopefully you know what I mean.

Your music information was surprising to me. Besides having not thought about the lack of female conductors, while in high school I was one of four flutes - two of which were male. One was a 6'7 kid who played a lot of cards, and the other was a sweetheart who all the girls went to when they needed a compliment. In addition, our co-Senior drummer was a female, and I was also one of our two female drum majors. It must partially depend on where you're at, and at what level you're performing.


aab said...

One of my flute teachers, who plays piccolo in a small city orchestra, attributed the fact that the most famous flutists are men in part to lung capacity. I think she is right, but it's obviously just part of the problem, and not at all a problem for conductors and composers.