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04 February 2006


Chris Barzak

Wow, you handled that really well. I wish I had more of the patience with others gift. I think I am one of the people who end up just making another person feel like crap for saying stupid things like "So wait, you're into that feminist crap too?" Shudders. I'm sure if you can handle that, you're an amazing teacher, because I would be off to the races after that one.

Karen K.

That reminded me of the first time I met my ex-boyfriend. He later sent me his diary entry about the meeting (which was rather sweet, but, uh, kind of freaky):

"I asked her about the imbalance of men and women in certain fields, and whether she thought this was good, bad, or indifferent. Her reply was essentially that she didn't think it much mattered. So she is not a feminist, but she is very pragmatic. This is ideal. (It's very dangerous to date or marry a feminist, you know, and among the educated they are all too common.)"

My memory of the conversation is that I focused on the good points - the grad student ratio is (was) 50/50 in my dept., things were improving, but I don't recall saying I didn't care. But then he was a stranger at that point, and I wouldn't want to get into that kind of thing with a strange person anyway. Plus, I still had a beginning knowledge of the field and hadn't been burned yet.

Ah, well, the night he broke up with me, he expressed that any wife of his would stay home with the kids and that guys just simply can't stay home at all - it's against their nature.

Good riddance.


I've been trying to work on that same discussion style, and like you I think I get it partly from teaching--"Yeah, that sure feels good sometimes, doesn't it? Why doesn't this other thing feel good?" Reminds me of the panel you were on at Wiscon last year, where all those women were saying, "I feel stronger and more confident and more powerful if I dress sexy," and I wanted so much to just move one little step to, "Huh, yeah, it works, doesn't it, I wonder why? I wonder if someone else might work?"

So. Slow. Worthwhile. But so slow.

Dave M.

It’s the “you know” that really makes that diary entry.

Jackie M.

Hey, remember the discussion about eating alone at restaurants? Check out this take on it. Very harsh!

I am ashamed to say I've never read a word of Didion prior to that little snippet...


I just posted an entry about sexism, and as I wrote I kept thinking about my father-in-law reading it, who is not a feminist. How much do I have to explain, defend, justify? What can I take as a common basis? I'm a teacher too and actually very good at the Rogerian model of debate--show you are trustworthy by finding common ground, be nice. I had a colleague who called me a feminazi, but we had such respect for each other as teachers that we were making progress on the politics. Moments like that are exciting, but frankly I might have gotten a little strident in that bar.

By the way, we haven't met. I'm a friend of Jed's and saw his post congratulating you on your degree. Then I wandered around your site. Thanks for the fun visit!

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Susan Marie Groppi

  • Susan Marie Groppi is a historian and an editor, currently living in Berkeley, California.


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