Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Doubled Over

As usual, an interesting topic of discussion was raised in PW class today, which I will try to treat delicately, seeing as how it is a fairly controversial subject.

In an effort to get our little brains working on good short story ideas, Mel asked us to craft a roommate situation and "hitchcock" (ie make really creepy) it. In our discussion we wandered into what makes a good and bad roommate, and one of the attributes of a bad roommate, according to the females in the room, is one who habitually brings home strangers of the opposite sex to spend the night.  For the sake of gaining insight, Mel asked the guys in the room if they agree, and they generally responded with opposing complacence.

In a nutshell, girls who bring guys home get a big fat SLUT stamped on their foreheads and probably some passive to outright disapproval from their roommates on the grounds that they're not comfortable with a strange guy being around (it's likely that jealousy plays into it too). Guys, however, receive not only detached apathy from their roommates when they have a girl over but probably even congratulations. Let it be noted that the hosting roommate may or may not be having sex with their guests, though it is probably understood or assumed that he/she is.

 For the sake of diplomacy, I'll refrain from expressing an opinion on promiscuity itself and instead focus on the absurdity of this double standard. Girls live with a plethora of double standards, most of which are supposedly imposed by either conservative values of past generations or the opposite sex. This one, however, is seemingly imposed by the girls themselves. Now I will say that being uncomfortable with a male stranger in your living space while you sleep is certainly a legitimate concern that needs to be addressed between roommates before it becomes a problem.  

But judging a peer for their personal lifestyle, especially based upon generalized gender expectations, is very unfair.  Guys in this situation seem to really get it, in my opinion. Rather than spark bad terms and drama between them and their roomies, they establish an atmosphere of neutrality (excluding extenuating circumstances like guests who steal) and thus give their peers an opportunity to make their own choices free of exterior pressures and personal opinions, like adults. Girls on the other hand seem to favor puerile labeling, shunning, and sourness - perhaps out of jealousy.

Like I suggested before, girls DO have more to worry about in terms of their vulnerability, but unless the male guests are honestly threatening or unsavory or the roommates' habits obnoxiously interfering, the mere bringing home of guests should never be grounds for smearing someone's reputation. Even if you personally disagree with their choices. Seriously ladies. Double standards are not our friends, let's work to operate separate from them and make judgments based solely on what is best for all and not what society arbitrarily decides. 

It's a free world and people won't always employ their liberties in ways you agree with. Your only obligation is to be respectful.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Willfully annoying

So for whatever reason I find myself blogging about professional writing class basically every week. At least I'm getting my exorbitant tuition money's worth out of one class; something I can't say for the rest.

I find it rather amusing how the students have distributed themselves around the room. Starting to the left of Mel (the teacher; for those of you who don't know) the students seem to be grouped by similar personality type. The tables are arranged in a horseshoe shape; each student sits on the outside and Mel has the floor inside. On the left of the room (from Mel's perspective) there are the go-getters. The students who took him up on substitute teaching job offers or are published on multiple websites; those who have established themselves as either personalities or high achievers (or both) within the class.

From there it's the mysterious group; the 4-5 students who sit with their backs to the door, facing Mel. Their attendance is good and their contribution to the class is enjoyable;  their personality type would best be described as sensitive, introspective perhaps. Mel enjoys poking fun at everyone in the class, but he seems to favor this group most of all; perhaps because he wishes to crack their shells a little. 

Round the curve and you have my side of the room; the skeptics, (possibly) scatter-brained, and silent ones. This group listens and participates, has comebacks, and makes comments, but it's  the most consistently late or absent (without prior notice) group. 

The funniest thing about this is that at the outset of the semester I was on the left side. I turned my assignments in early; I was enthusiastic and on top of my game. The one day I showed up late was the day that decided I would ever after sit on the right side of the room; through a chain reaction of unforeseeable and unfortunate events, I became discouraged into getting by rather than blazing onward. I faded into a haze of disillusionment and perhaps those who sit around me did too; maybe I'm just searching for commiseration where it doesn't exist.

Still though; class is enjoying. Or at least provides a veritable feast in terms of food for thought; which is all I could ask for.