In Her Shell
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
  On Being A Bitch
I have been a real bitch lately. I'm not sure if that's a good or a bad thing.

I've been teaching for six years now, and when a student comes up to me with an excuse (not the same thing as a reason) I don't have that sad, this-hurts-me-more-than-it-hurts-you expression on when I tell them too bad, you are losing points/failing/being written up/kicked out of the play/etc. I used to really feel it, too--that it hurt me as much or more than it did them. Now I don't. I don't know when this changed.

That's not entirely true. I do feel compassion for the kid who has to come to me, scared (they never used to be that scared before) and give me his excuse. I don't ever yell. I just tell him, plainly, if something is unacceptable; I look him in the eyes, I don't furrow my brow. I don't check with him twice to see if he is OK afterward. I move on.

The same is true of my interactions with colleagues and supervisors. I don't smile as readily as I did before, and I don't try to accomodate others' needs before my own. I listen, then respond. If something is disappointing or frustrating to me, I name it that way.

It's disappointing that I (the crusader against sexist dress code policies! the presenter of controversial plays!) see this confidence, this lack of bullshit, as bitchiness. Even though it has made some things easier for me, I still feel kind of bad about it. It's frustrating that for the gains it has gotten me, I know it has made me a bitch in some people's eyes, and lost me a little too.
That's not being a bitch, that's just dealing with the situation the system hands you and moving on.

I see the same transformation with cops after a few years.

It's not you, it's the job.
Thanks Bubs. That actually helps a lot.
That's not bitchiness, that's maturing in your job. You're established, you don't need to be the cool teacher any more. The same thing happened to me this week. I yelled at my co-op and one of the technicians.
I don't think any of that is being a bitch. It's acting like a man. Seriously, When men act like that no one bats an eye; they are just being business-like.

We are so trained to act a certain way, to smile and be helpful, that when we don't, we think we're doing something wrong. My mom talks sometimes about the whole feminist movement and one of the things she has said is that all of the women had to learn how to not smile, because it was so ingrained in them that they had to always be cheerful and perky.

Fuck that.
JAG: That's a good perspective. I don't get asked for my hall pass anymore, and I think it's the confidence in my swagger (at least that's what I'll choose to believe...)

Lu: You are right, I know you're right! It's good to be reminded because even though I know it, I need to hear it.
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