Friday, January 30, 2009
Sexism; what, me, bitter?!
He told me that this teacher openly favored his male students, told him that he tries to help them along more than the women in his studio. Needless to say I was pretty shocked.
I am trying to speculate in a kind way as to why this might have been. (And I'm sure this old-school, Old World guy was not alone in his practices.) Maybe he saw the practicality of his investment in male students: they would be bread-winners, the women would get married, live off their husbands and spend their time and energies having babies.
As a student, I had my share of old-school teachers. And looking back, I think I was definitely a victim of this sort of treatment. Honestly, I don't think it was all intentional either. I would like to think that nobody treats anybody this way in order to be mean: it's just programmed behavior of a certain generation and culture. And what 19-year-old female student has the presence of mind to say:"hey, pay attention to me, make your investment in me! In 20 years I will be the bread-winner of my family, supporting my spouse and child on my fluting skills!"
Would they have believed me? Would I have believed me? That's the trouble, I think. I didn't believe in myself then. I think young boys/men are more used to believing in themselves.
But here I am, the man of the house (for now at least), relying heavily on my basic skills, since I have little time to actually practice. Thank goodness for the training I do have, and for those who believed in, or at least did their duty by me.
But I have to ask myself, am I completely gender-blind when it comes to my own students:? a gaggle of beautiful, poised, talented young women, and at the most one or two young men. There, you see, even the language I use: gaggle. It's a collective word, not geared to viewing the individual.
We all need a kick in the butt sometimes.