Conversation over lunch with ex-Gender student: “Don’t go mad. If you keep absorbing feminism, you will find yourself going mad. I almost dumped my boyfriend. I told him, “You’re exploiting me”. Studying feminism takes the joy out of many things in life. You can’t even listen to a joke without thinking that it is sexist or offensive to women.”
So very true. It’s increasingly becoming a frightening reality for me.
In class today we discussed empowerment. After flogging the definition for fifty minutes, the first step towards empowerment seemed to be the ability to make decisions about yourself by yourself. The example that was chosen by the lecturer was that of a Bosnian woman who had been raped, but chose to remain silent about it so that the irate men she calls brother and father do not kill her to protect the family honour. Her ability to remain silent was portrayed as a form of empowerment.
Ten eager voices spoke about whether rape victims in their countries stay silent or speak up. Nobody was plunged into the depths of despair at the thought that empowerment is silently accepting the gravest injustice that can be done to you, in order to save your life? By the time I reeled back into consciousness and could raise my hand to object, students had dispersed for the day.
I shall try to avoid it, but something tells me that I will go mad, and die alone, and be found half eaten by (female) Alsatians three months later.