My first time back in awhile. Put on your seatbelts. Commencing rant.
Sitting in a faculty meeting today, the leader of the meeting (read: boss) was defending the use of clicker technology in classrooms. Basically, use remotes (students and instructors) to increase interaction in classrooms. Good idea.
Then, she stated, “this might sound sexist,” to which I thought to myself “good reason to not say what you’re going to say.” She continued on, explaining that male students love the idea of having a battery-operated remote in their hand, that they learn better with the classroom resembling a living room where they are channel surfing. The fifteen or so instructors chuckled (men included) at the remark. Yeah, good one. Let’s all laugh at a joke meant to say guys are basically dumb-asses, that the idea of having a remote is fucking inherent to our identity as a man. I didn’t laugh.
Then, with the response overwhelmingly positive, she continued, “that and bacon. There must be something about the Y chromosome that includes liking remotes and bacon.” Insert numerous personal stories about husbands and bacon or personal male testimonials about putting bacon on everything. Nice. So, men are dumb-asses who are defined by their desire for an unhealthy meat that they apply to everything that goes into their mouths while they consume entertainment from their television sets.
A friend commented (jokingly) that he puts bacon on bacon. Fair enough. I said “gross” audibly. I guess that was my mistake. When a group of people all agree, if you think different you should probably just agree even if you don’t agree. Immediately 15 pairs of eyes were on me, the new guy, first time ever speaking in a meeting. “You don’t like bacon?” as if they should check between my legs.
“Well, I am a vegetarian.”
There was a strange moment of confused silence.
(What, a vegetarian? What does he eat? Is he a man? But, he seemed so normal, so cool, so man-ish?)
I did not make any value judgments. I didn’t even say the reason(s) for my dietary choice. The meeting moved on… for about 90 seconds.
The group quickly returned to the topic. Anecdotes about meat (God wouldn’t have made animals with meat on them if he hadn’t wanted us to eat them! Really? We should be talking about God in this professional setting, you’re probably right. Especially because the people in the room with theology degrees know and eat meat… oh wait, that’s me) and jokes about vegetarians ensued. I was silent.
Until the third or fourth joke (why are we talking about this? Don’t we have things that pertain to our job to discuss?), when I acted.
“If we weren’t supposed to eat animals, they would be faster!” Good logic, we usually do eat animals we can catch in a foot race like Elephants, Black Mamba snakes, Spiders and Sloths. Nor, do we ever eat animals that would beat us in a 100-yard dash, such as, Rabbits, Deer or Sheep.
Then I mumbled (too loudly), “Some humans are slow.” The laughter, which had been rolling along nicely for a few minutes with some momentum kept up, until what I said sunk in and abruptly stopped. Everyone looked at me like a creep. I never know when to call people on ignorance or not, but now I looked like a cannibal (which I’m not because I don’t eat meat).
The meeting then moved on, but I did not. I was pretty fucking pissed. Yeah! Let’s all laugh at the guy that’s different from us! Let’s all feel better about eating ourselves into a heart attack! Hooray! Faculty meetings are such fun!
Commence critical thinking.
Why in the world is it okay to assign gender roles based on diet? This happens more than we realize, probably. Maybe I’m being too sensitive, but most of my old friends from Fresno look at me with an odd expression and then make a derogatory comment when they find out about my dietary choice. It is about gender for many people. Men eat meat (and, apparently, can’t control themselves around a nice looking female, love to have a remote control in their hand, drive trucks, scratch and enjoy football just because).
Why does the (known) presence of a vegetarian demand defense of carnivorous habits? I made no ethical or practical or health claims. I simply stated I was a vegetarian. And, the room full of carnivores responded with jokes and defenses mechanisms as if I had attacked their very way of life.
The most basic question: Why did we need to discuss these matters at work? But, that I won’t expand upon.
I will be further interacting with these thoughts and questions this weekend. If you don’t like reading about gender (which seems to be one of my favorite topics, recently), then tune in next week when I (maybe) talk about something different. No. Nevermind. Keep reading. Better yet, comment!!!