Saturday, January 8, 2011

Butt Cleavage, Celebratory Beer, and a Touch of Academic Geekism

The secret signal is..... ??
I have to teach a new course starting in a couple of days. This is a course I picked up to help fund my expensive "biking habit." It's on women and health. And while I'm excited to do it, I'm terrified too. What exactly qualifies me to teach this course when the person who taught it before me is a world renowned expert on women and sexuality in cancer recovery? I'm just the schlumpy college instructor who happens to be a woman and has published one article associated with the subject. That article is the second thing that pops up in google when you type in my full name and the word "nursing." (Or, at least, today it did.)

If you happened to have imitated that google search you'll find, yes, I have an academic life. This explains why I frequently can flip into academic geek mode. I do it anywhere, including in the middle of a bike shop, as I did the other night when I stood around in my favourite bike shop (you know which) with my favourite bike boys and chatted about exercise addiction. This happened about 2 minutes after I brought them beer as a post Christmas and New Years "Thanks" and cracked jokes about girly drinks and whipping cream. So I can flip that switch into academic nerd pretty quickly, anywhere, with anyone, under any circumstances.

Live with it.

Exercise addiction in endurance athletes, if I may digress for a moment, is what I figure, once I get my ASS in gear -- or when someone pays for it, whichever comes first -- I will eventually do a PhD about. We talked about the depression that results when you stop exercising, even for a few days. The other part of the conversation was about that fine line you hover around knowing that you need to exercise to still be upright when you are 80 or 90 and the damage you cause to your body when you don't  [CAN'T] stop when you are injured.

Anyway, I geek out quite frequently in my blog too so if you don't like it, I suggest you stop reading right now because it's gonna get worse. But I'm drinking wine as I type tonight so, that might help a bit.

I also flipped into academic geek mode pretty easily here in the comments on this tongue-in-cheek blog entry. My new course has a pre-established assignment where they have to find an advertisement that focuses on something related to women's health (tampon, birth control, diet pills and plastic surgery ads are likely what I'll see a lot of) and the first advertisement that popped into my mind to use as an example was the one my friend the Cyclechick shared with us a couple months back.  Graciously she has allowed me to use that blog entry in my class as a fine example of how my students should be thinking when they look for their own ads.

Achhk. .... I made my point in the comments about how disgusting those ads are, you can go to the link and read them there. If you care.

Or even in nursing itself. This predates me, but nurses used to wear little white caps and white pressed uniforms and clean pantyhose and said things like "yes Doctor" while bowing and averting their eyes. Walk into a hospital today and see if you can tell the difference between the doctor or the nurse. Better yet, can you tell the difference between the nurse and the housekeeper?  Good luck.

Of course, I suggest, neither is a good image. So nurses still aren't getting it right.

But I could probably walk into my first class on Tuesday and spend the entire class ranting about the invisibility of women in sport. Yeah we gotta sex 'em up to get anyone who watches sport (meaning men) to pay attention.  Best example? Beach Volleyball. Show some cute ass and, still, no one notices we have some pretty fantastic female athletes out there, but some great butt crack goes on permanent record in our brains.

Go to google. Type in "beach volleyball images."  Ignore gender ......  or don't.... type in "men's beach volleyball" it is still 90% women in those pics.

You can't tell me that dressing like this helps their play when.......

.......when the men get to dress like this. 

And of course, heaven forbid women celebrate when we succeed. How un-female of us.

But you get that this is how women survive? We find a way to behave a little like men so we can at least feel we are on the same level. And then we get told we are not allowed to behave that way, because obviously, we don't do it right.

And if we can't feel like we are on the same level or get the same attention then let's take some clothes off and play on their sexual fantasies.

And I won't go any further than that. But I do have to THINK about these things in order to teach this course.

And feminism isn't about bra burning and man hating. I love men. I love them a little too much. I've done every naive, desperate, stupid, cliche thing in the book to get them to notice me.

But I do have to figure out a way to get a group of about 40 women to not automatically want to think of menopause as a disease -- the way the medical model does.

Tougher yet, I've gotta get their instructor to think that way as well.

Anyways. In other thoughts, I've considered quitting the whole blog thing. I'm writing but I'm not doing productive writing and I bet, if I printed out all the blogs I've done in the last year, that the page numbers would total greater than both my novels put together. And that excludes the pictures.

As well, it's January. I struggle enough to get through January without trying to find ways to be entertaining or academic or inspirational. Today I don't feel like being seen and would like to dig a huge hole and just crawl into it and stay there till spring. Just like the bears. I actually can't believe I'm bothering to write this at all.

But, as I've said, writing sustains me. And, believe it or not, this post was actually inspired by a Facebook friend who posts a lot of items related to the horrible abusive treatment that women face in war-torn Taliban ruled Afghanistan......... so we've got it pretty good.

But tomorrow is another day. And this women's course is going to consume me. So maybe you'll see me and maybe I'll take a break.

Time will tell.


Terri said...

Good post. I like the geeky side of you. ;) And just so you know, I'd miss it if you quit blogging.

CycleChick said...

Go get 'em sister. You have a great opportunity to influence a whole room of women. Make them think outside the (ahem) box.

Kim said...

Thanks Ladies,
I'll do my best.

And thanks Terri for saying you'd miss me but given you enjoy my geekism, I can at least be assured that there is one person out there who doesn't think I'm a little nutty when I flip into it...

i doubt I'll entirely quit. I might slow down a bit though.