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I have been sitting here debating whether or not to write this diary. Anyone who checks my history can see I usually do not. This diary is not political. It's not about Democrats or Republicans in particular. It's not about contraception or transvaginal ultrasounds. Instead, this is my attempt to come to grips with the fact that Monday evening, I became just another woman whose voice was silenced by a group of men, which led to me crying on my husband's shoulder tonight in anger and shame. This is a more personal examination of what the War on Women looks like in a classroom. Follow over the squiggly if you want to work through this with me.

To fully understand what happened to me, it's probably best to start with the context. I am a white 35-year-old woman attending a state university in North Carolina, majoring in history. I am a disabled vet who was put out on disability during Clinton's last year in office. VA is putting me through college for free because my disability, fibromyalgia, is so severe that I need to be retrained to do a job different from what I was trained to do in the Army. My university's administration is pretty well known as being very conservative, so it is not surprising that a large portion of the student body is very, very conservative. I started going here in January 2008, so I got an up close look right away at how conservative and racist many students are thanks to the Democratic Primary. It is also primarily a science and technology school. The humanities are fairly well ignored and do not get many of the state grants.

This semester, I am taking a class about slavery in the antebellum period. Quite a touchy subject to some folks. The classroom is very tiny. There is a rather small oval table in the middle which the professor, myself and four other students sit at, and chairs are arranged against the wall in a U-shape around the table. There are 11 people in the class. We started off with 20, but almost half dropped within the first two weeks because there is a significant amount of reading to do every week. Probably a good thing since it is crowded with just 11. Everyone is white, five females, six males, and the professor is a very smart older white guy from Texas who seems to be mellowing with age.

There is one young man who is loudly conservative and complains fairly often about how books always give the slaves point of view the benefit of the doubt over the masters. The professor has skillfully and very politely reasoned him into a corner every single time, but he is in such denial and the professor is so polite to him, I doubt he realizes he's lost every single argument this semester. I often feel a sense of schadenfreude when he talks because he literally grumbles about "liberals" always calling him racist and sexist all the time, and saying that he isn't. He is a walking stereotype.

I have actually loved this class. Thanks to how much we've had to read, and the fact that I have had to write a paper about what I read every single week, I have learned an amazing amount of information concerning what led up to the Civil War. It's really been fascinating. I currently have an A in the class. I got a B+ on the midterm, and all As and A+s on the weekly papers, which have been an absolute joy to write.

Today, though, something happened I realize on reflection I probably should have seen coming. We have been reading this book called Roll, Jordan, Roll, a fairly controversial book about the slave culture by Eugene Genovese published back in 1972. I have been criticizing certain aspects of the book in my papers all semester, particularly the historian's idea that the slaves decided to willingly accept their punishment. The overall criticism, which several students agree with, is that he tended to manipulate his resources in a slightly irresponsible way, and often used resources which were questionable at best. Still, there is some very interesting stuff in it concerning the evolution of southern cooking, the clothes slaves wore and other anthropological and archeological evidence I found interesting. The conservative student has been complaining that his book is Marxist. Eh.

Last week, though, one of the parts we read dealt with miscegenation during slavery. For anyone who does not know what that word means, which is probably many since it is rarely used anymore, it basically means folks of different races sleeping with each other and doing things like having kids out of that interracial relationship. Quite frowned upon in the antebellum South obviously, and apparently still today in some places. Of course, as we all know, frowned upon or not, it happened. One of the main arguments Genovese makes in this section is that many slave women who slept with their masters or, more often their master's sons, eventually learned to love those white men. Even the slave women who were raped.

The only evidence the historian even offers is that many slave owners fought quite strenuously to free the female slave they were sleeping with because they wanted to marry them after it became illegal in many states in the Deep South to free slaves. That's it. Because those men fought to marry those women, some of whom they likely raped, then the relationship must have been genuinely loving.

As you can imagine, the females in the class, including myself, had a bit of a problem with this. Myself and a graduate student in the class both spoke up and outright disagreed. Now, this is a complex situation. We all know that there are many women of all races in abusive relationships today, some of whom have been raped, who do love their husbands/boyfriends, but sociologists and psychologists today consider that to be a sick kind of love. However, the point myself and the other female tried to make was this: how could a female slave even refuse to sleep with her master or her master's son, or, indeed, with any white man? It wasn't even considered a crime to rape a black woman back then, heck they didn't even call it rape, so what choice did these slave women have? They could find someone to protect them, which did happen quite often (many slave men were whipped or even killed for protecting slave women), they could physically resist and be explicitly raped, or they could give in, which is still rape as we know it today. Does this turn to love over time?

Myself and the other female student said no. Not a love that isn't completely sick. A true loving relationship can only be about a relationship based completely on consent from both sides and without constant abuse. Even if the white man stops abusing the slave woman, she would always know it could start up again at any time. More importantly, she would wake up every single day knowing that that could be the day he decides to sell her away. That sense of fear that would always have been there and the deeply asymmetrical aspect of the relationship overall would not have allowed genuine love to develop.

Now, this discussion occurred last Monday evening. The only response the young male students had in the class was from the conservative student who asked why it even mattered whether or not they loved them anyway. Not surprisingly, he later asked why it was important to find out whether or not Thomas Jefferson fathered any slave children. But aside from that, it was a very civilized, polite conversation. The only one really arguing against myself and the female student was the professor, but it was in a very polite and respectful manner, as all arguments have been all semester.

At about 6:15 PM Monday night, everything changed. This class, the professor said that in response to some students arguing that slave women could never have loved their masters in an honest, genuine manner, especially the ones who were raped and/or abused, he wanted to switch it up and talk about white women. He then proceeded to read a paragraph from a book called Southern Honor, which described horrific abuse some Southern men heaped on their wives, but the courts would not accept that as a reason for divorce. He described how women were practically one step up from slave women in the South at times. He then asked, could these women have loved their husbands despite this horrific treatment?

The other female student (who is Southern) who spoke up last week stumbled a bit, and then fell silent. I said, definitely, that no, they would not. Women who are constantly raped, held down by their husband's friends so their husbands can whip them, tied to chairs and forced to watch their husbands have sex with prostitutes, did NOT love their husbands. No. None of those women did. They might have felt affection. Some of them might have been so abused that their ideas of what love was so warped that they may have believed they were in love. But it was not love.

The class practically exploded. Suddenly, as soon as I said that, four of the six male students (all Southern), practically jumped in their seats, all started talking over each other at the same time with raised voices, telling me how I was wrong. The women, all but one sat behind me, remained completely silent. I have never heard a stronger silence than what was coming from behind me while I was the lone female being shouted down by four very loud males. I was told that I was generalizing, then I was told that I wasn't giving those women back then enough credit. When I asked why it was that it was only the men in the class who thought some of those women genuinely loved their husbands, but none of the women in the class did, I was told it was "because you are just upset that women back then had such shitty lives."

This entire conversation, if you can call it that, lasted maybe three minutes, with me being told by four men that I was definitely wrong, and the professor agreed, though he was far more polite about it. What I know my words cannot properly convey is the anger and violence directed towards me in those three minutes. It was visceral. My heartbeat is racing right now as I type these words just thinking about it. By the end, I was not allowed a word in at all, and then the matter was closed and I was declared wrong. As you can likely tell from the statements that are direct quotes, thanks to them being seared into my brain, they were all spoken in a very condescending manner.

After this happened, since it was over before it was even 6:20, I still had to sit through the class for another two hours and 25 minutes. For the rest of the class, all four of those men glared at me and grumbled quietly whenever I tried to speak about anything. Even when I actually agreed with one of them, he looked at me with this look that was a painful mixture of hatred and condescension.

The silence of those female students, almost all of whom sat behind me, was one of the most painful aspects. I knew they agreed with me. One had told me so last week while we all had congregated in the bathroom. Yet they stayed completely silent once the men started speaking.

The most painful aspects of this was that the argument was really about how women love, and four men decided that they knew more about that than women, and that I needed to be silenced. I was humiliated, ashamed and even slightly scared. I almost started crying in class.

Since it was the last class of the long day for me, I walked to my car. It was an incredibly slow walk. I was so hurt and confused by what happened. I ranted and raved to myself all the way home in righteous anger. But when I got home and walked through my front door, and walked up the stairs to see my husband, and heard my husband ask, "How was your day?" I broke down in tears and said, "Terrible."

I was practically inconsolable. I couldn't stop crying deep, heavy sobs. My husband immediately went into "How do I fix this mode," and asked me what he could do. I couldn't even answer him. I just kept crying. He kept asking questions, and I kept doing nothing but crying. Finally he asked if I wanted hot chocolate or tea, and I latched onto that and said, "Yes." I followed him downstairs and watched him put the kettle on and prepare the mugs.

By then, I had stopped crying, but I was still unable to talk about what happened. Suddenly, I was afraid. What if my husband didn't understand? I mean, yes, he is incredibly sensitive and very smart, but what if? I had just been through an extremely demeaning situation where absolutely no man stood up and agreed with me, and instead all sneered at me and obviously saw me as a threat to their masculinity. What if my husband didn't understand what that was like?

Slowly, nervously, I began to describe what happened. I did not have to provide much context for him. He had even read the section on miscegenation a week ago and thought it was absurd. When I told him not only what happened but how I felt, he not only empathized, he told me that I was right in my assumptions that they were trying to shut me up. That meant the world to me because my husband is very honest and does not say anything to just make me feel better. We even ended up having a long conversation about love and abuse and rape and discussed its complexities once I started feeling better. He didn't just let me make bad arguments, he always pointed out my logical fallacies, but he wasn't condescending when he told me that my argument was faulty.

From a sociological perspective, it is pretty obvious that those four southern men did not care as much when I was talking about the slaves, but felt I was directly attacking them when I talked about the white women. That much makes sense. What hurts is that when I tried to point out that there was a reason that only the men thought a woman who was abused could grow to genuinely love their husband, they reverted to the very, very old attack of women just being "emotional" about this issue. I could not believe that not a single white male realized what was going on. The very idea that their great-great-great-great grandmothers might not have loved their great-great-great-great grandfathers must have seemed like an attack to their self-esteem. It was all right if the slaves didn't love the masters ("Why does it matter?"), but as soon as I made it apparently more personal, look out.

This was a new threat that they were not used to handling. Most young white American men are willing to admit that, if their ancestors owned slaves, it was wrong. That conversation is quite old. But to tell them that, "Oh, by the way. You treated your wives little better," well, that argument isn't really discussed other than in the broadest, vaguest terms. I would wager that those four white young men in the classroom last night have spent much of their life feeling guilty about slavery, and being faced with the idea that these slave owners even treated their wives like slaves sometimes, seemed to be too much for them.

Here is how I see it: In my life, I grew up in an abusive environment. I spent a lot of time isolated. I've been raped by someone I considered a friend and used to date (took me years to fully admit). I have constantly been faced with men dictating the facts of life concerning everything. I have been in relationships that were very, very unequal. I have been told I cannot do certain things because I am a woman. In the end, I think I know a little bit more about how white Southern women felt in the 18th and 19th centuries than those four white young American men could ever know. Yet, because I told these men something they did not wish to hear, they dismissed me as emotional and biased. They implied that, as men, they clearly did not have the same biases and could see things more clearly.

I realized a couple of hours ago that I am not really angry about this. I am ashamed. I was put into a situation where I should have won the argument, but I failed because I am a woman. I feel like I let women everywhere down. I feel like those four men who shouted me down and silenced me because I got scared and felt all alone probably now think, or had their ideas reaffirmed, that women are stupid and emotional sometimes and can't be depended on to know anything about women in the past. Yes, I understand that what happened to me was wrong. But it does not erase how ashamed I feel right now.  

9:43 AM PT: Wow. I never expected to wake up and find myself on the Recommended List. Thank you all so very much for taking the time to read such a long diary.

3:39 PM PT: I cannot thank this community enough. I cannot fully express how much your comments have meant to me. I am so glad to be part of a community that is so informed and can be so thoughtful and perceptive.

Originally posted to moviemeister76 on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 12:14 AM PDT.

Also republished by Sluts, Rape and Domestic Violence, House of LIGHTS, and Barriers and Bridges.

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    Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

    by moviemeister76 on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 12:14:51 AM PDT

  •  Wow (108+ / 0-)

    It makes me wonder what's really going on with those men.   Maybe they are abusive and are afraid that their wives don't really love them.

    For your own self-protection, you need to learn to use the phrase, "I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree."

    Shop Liberally this holiday season at Kos Katalog

    by JamieG from Md on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 12:34:19 AM PDT

  •  If only evolution were a little faster. (47+ / 0-)

    Being the only one standing up for what is right in a group that doesn't is one of life's harder moments. Be proud that you did it.

    "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." - Voltaire

    by Greyhound on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 12:35:59 AM PDT

  •  young white male here (37+ / 0-)

    I went to a pretty liberal state university on the other coast.  We didn't see a lot of explicit misogyny, it was usually more subtle.

    I'm also a practitioner of miscegenation, though, so I'm obviously not someone with a worthwhile opinion.

    I changed by not changing at all, small town predicts my fate, perhaps that's what no one wants to see. -6.38, -4.15

    by James Allen on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 12:48:59 AM PDT

    •  Isn't that a weird word? (20+ / 0-)

      We all have been tripping over how to pronounce "miscegenation" in class, even the professor, who has been pronouncing it for decades in his class.  He told us he hates the word.

      One of the effects of the experience was, for a while, I illogically began to assume that all young white men would react like that. So thank so much you for letting me know I was wrong.

      Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

      by moviemeister76 on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 12:58:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I don't think I have considered it enough to form (11+ / 0-)

        a thought of my own yet, but so far your ideas sound a lot more realistic.  Sorry, I meant to say that in my initial comment.

        I changed by not changing at all, small town predicts my fate, perhaps that's what no one wants to see. -6.38, -4.15

        by James Allen on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 01:01:00 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  It's worth considering the context. (15+ / 0-)

        You gave us the context--in the South, in a very conservative area, and a conservative school.

        The reactions you got are shocking--but I'd have been surprised if you didn't get them in that setting, really.

        I have a bunch of thoughts bouncing around in my head, but I keep coming back to a remarkable book on violence and its sources; the triggering of the surprising, "inexplicable" violence that's so very common. It's James Gilligan's "Violence: Reflections on a National Epidemic."

        At the heart of it is shame, and even moreso a deep shame about one's sense of self.

        Our culture tends to do that to men--and particularly in the macho version of Southern (including Texan!) culture. Men aren't to feel (but they do). They're told not to cry (but they hurt). They're told to be utterly self-sufficient (but no one is, nor can be). And so on.

        As a result, things that reveal that woundedness, or that make it worse, are the triggers for inexplicable violence.

        I haven't had time to digest what you wrote to figure this case out, but it appears to me that all of them felt threatened. The idea that their own families were not bound together (now, in the past?) by real love would be troubling; it assaults a central myth. But it also suggests that whatever love they lean on today, or have, or might in future, might be false, sick, unhealthy. Stockholm syndrome stuff; love like a frequently beaten dog shows, seeking to get some positive feedback and to avoid more abuse. That's protective on the abused end... but facing it means suddenly feeling a deep loss; their own emotional foundations are threatened.

        And so they attacked you, and utterly denied the validity of what you were saying. Which was valid. And that's why they had to suppress it. The looks and emotional reaction you continued to get suggests that it felt very personal to them. They didn't physically assault you, but they needed to destroy the threat...

        You were right. You are right. You just didn't realize that you were--effectively--kicking traditional Southern manhood squarely in the nuts, and thus the reaction.

        "Be just and good." John Adams to Thomas Jefferson

        by ogre on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 09:58:36 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I have never heard of that book (6+ / 0-)

          Thanks for the mention of it. I just checked and my school library has it, so I am definitely going to try and read it. Will tell my husband about it as well. He thinks a lot about issues like this.

          Have you seen that TedTalk by the woman who did the presentation on shame? It was absolutely remarkable and hit on issues I have only ever thought about in the vaguest ways.

          Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

          by moviemeister76 on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 12:39:40 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  miss-eh-geh-na'-shun (6+ / 0-)

        mix genus[es]. Which we can already assume happened in the beginning since we all have the same genes to produce any of the races contained in our DNA in different amounts, the dominant ones determine our appearance. There are very few attributes where we differ as a species other than skin color and hair color.

        Humans are the only living genus of Homo, the Sapiens. So we aren't of a different genus at all, we're all the same.

        As for our colors, we are boring compared to cats and horses for instance.

        People are dull creatures to be so stuck on their colors.

        •  We even crossed species a bit (5+ / 0-)

          The scientists have finally decided that yes, there was some interbreeding between Neanderthals and our ancestors (and between Denisovans and our ancestors on the other end of Eurasia).

          This should not have been a surprise, considering what an incredibly horny lot H. Sapiens Sapiens are. Whenever one strain of humans meets a different strain, they sometimes fight, but they always, always breed. The only real question was whether there was enough chromosome compatibility (the 46/48 question) to produce viable offspring, and it appears the answer is that there was.

          If it's
          Not your body,
          Then it's
          Not your choice
          And it's
          None of your damn business!

          by TheOtherMaven on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 03:57:59 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Maybe that whole line of discussion was just (13+ / 0-)

    a fruitless digression? It's impossible for you (or the young men) to win in an argument like this. The best you could do is to pull rank on them and say you are a woman and you are married; you know more about life and love than them. Aside from that it's just speculation on anyone's part about the mindsets and definitions of people who lived in a different millieu more than 150 years ago.

    From the description you gave of the class, I imagine that these young men already have had their rugs yanked out from under them and have had their idols smashed and their ancestors' graves spat on already. This is a defeated people who just had their collective tribal humiliation rubbed in their faces repeatedly all semester long. They took out their frustration on you just now because here was, finally, a topic which doesn't rely on facts. I think you should let it slide. No sense getting worked up over speculations, when you could just let the facts kick them in their faces.

    •  I don't think she needs to back down (14+ / 0-)

      She was shouted down and given no credence despite that the "my personal experience is more valid here than yours" argument actually does apply.  She doesn't need to and should not give in on that.

      The rest, I agree with.

      •  Agreed. For a man to think he knows how women feel (5+ / 0-)

        especially 19 year old men, is presumptious. But my point is that you can't really win in this type of argument.

        •  I see your point, but... (8+ / 0-)

          ...the part where I really fell apart, as I've written elsewhere, was when one student told me that we women were just upset that women had it bad back then. Women all over the world know what that phrase means. It questions our very rationality as a gender. It is one of the most painful things we can experience in public debate.

          I kind of see your point about proof, the very fact that, in the end, it came down to who was going to determine how women love, men or women, made it something very different.

          Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

          by moviemeister76 on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 10:27:04 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  "Men" of that age, (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            moviemeister76, JayRaye, ladybug53

            and not a few of men of all ages have a different view of what love is. At that age it is mostly a sexual/attraction thing. Some men are picky in that they want to be stimulated mentally in a relationship, others can compartmentalize their married/relationship partner into another subset which has nothing to do with what they are or what they do.

            I find nerdy artsy guys are the best. YMMV.

    •  Not only have these guys had the rugs (33+ / 0-)

      pulled out from under them for this semester, but also  a huge chunk of Southern "culture" is dissolving in their very real worlds, outside the classroom,which is why I think we are seeing such a huge  backlash right now against minorities AND women.  These guys (both the boys in your classroom and a certain Southern Male in general) are desperately trying to hold on to the Myth of the Glorious Southern Male, and it is just dissolving- which, in my view is an extremely good thing, but there is going to be much wailing and gnashing of teeth until its done.

       I applaud your bravery in class and want to give you many hugs.  Please try not to feel ashamed, I think you are winning!

      Intellect and romance triumph over brute force and cynicism

      by Hill Jill on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 07:02:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thank you so much (7+ / 0-)

        Your kind words are very much appreciated. As someone else pointed out, these particular students were probably seething all semester about how terribly white southern men treated their slaves, but unable to truly say anything in defense of that behavior because of the fact that we as a society have decided that that is completely true and to deny it means you are a racist. The very fact that one male student goes out of his way to point out the times we read about white folks being nice to the slaves makes that obvious.

        I think that is why they jumped all over me. It was a release for them after two months of pent up anxiety.

        Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

        by moviemeister76 on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 10:31:19 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Case in point: Baggers (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Oh Mary Oh
    •  I agree with most of what you said, but there are (4+ / 0-)

      some facts. The example of abuse came from reasons women were not granted divorces. That means that they must have requested divorces. What is love and whether or not these women loved their husbands is an open ended question. That there were many women who tried to leave their marriages is not. Presumably, there were others who would have left if they could, although the number would be impossible to calculate.

      Also, isn't there a lot of social history out there based on women's diaries and letters from that period? I'm sure some women didn't love their husbands.

      In the nineteenth century, liberalizing divorce laws was considered a feminist issue for a reason.

      •  Unfortunately, I dunno (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mamamedusa, LSophia, ladybug53

        We don't really cover women too much in this class. Other than a few excerpts from a rather famous diary of a plantation owner's wife, we don't really get to see what things were like back then. It has been almost exclusively from a male perspective.

        Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

        by moviemeister76 on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 03:45:34 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Most of history is (3+ / 0-)

          I still remember when I was in theology class and we had to read this anthropological text written (of course) by a white man about Middle Eastern and Mediterranean culture.  The author riffed for several paragraphs about what women were like, but it never seemed to occur to him that they might be one way in front of him, yet completely different when they were alone.

          Needless to say, I ripped him to shreds in my first paper.  My teacher loved it (thank goodness!).  I can only imagine how horrible it would have been to be jumped on in the middle of class and forced to defend my findings.

          •  Wow times have changed on that one (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Oh Mary Oh

            Thanks to Edward Said and others, the Middle Eastern anthropological and historical studies has exploded with awesome work, especially from women. My favorite history professor here is actually from Lebanon. I am actually doing a term paper on Palestine.

            Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

            by moviemeister76 on Wed Mar 28, 2012 at 03:20:31 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  In this day and age, it's really hard to believe (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          that a course would be taught in which all the texts were written by white men. My own college courses are so far behind me. I wish I had a better memory of them. I took quite a few Women's Studies classes way back when. There is quite a bit of social history out there, and there should be more now than when I was in school.

          Good luck with your classes.

          •  Well... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

   professor actually took a class or two with Genovese at Yale back when his book came out. I suspect he has an attachment to it for that reason. We actually only read 5 books in the class. All written by white southern men.

            Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

            by moviemeister76 on Wed Mar 28, 2012 at 03:47:59 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  THIS (73+ / 0-)

    This is the kind of crap that women all over the world face, in different ways... but like you said, it's visceral.  They will see a woman acting in a way they don't like and they will turn all that anger onto her, trying to shut her up and scare her out of whatever sphere they don't want her in.

    But you know what?  The problem here isn't just the young white dudes.  It was the PROFESSOR.  He enabled their boorish behavior by agreeing with them.

    You said he's a polite person.  I suggest you meet with him before the next class and explain this to him.  Perhaps you should send him this diary to read when you meet with him.  Because he was the authority in the room, and by his permitting their bullying you, he validated them.  And he needs to know about that, and what to do to properly conduct a discussion when another gender war flares up.  He should have immediately calmed the class and drawn the other women in for their views.  He should have reminded the obnoxious young men that everyone gets a turn to speak, and they are not to behave like yahoos in his classroom.  If he's the courtly southern gentleman type, you could even appeal to his sense of Southern Honor and point out that you had expected him to show those young men the proper way to defer to a lady with whom they have a difference of opinion.

    A really great tagline appearing here soon! Watch this space!

    by madhaus on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 01:13:49 AM PDT

    •  Madhaus is right, the prof needs to do his job (35+ / 0-)

      and require reasoned discourse from his students.

      MM76, you did really well in there, and those shouters are just little boys on a power trip. I'd ask them how they'd feel about someone who did to them the things that were done to those women.

      You showed them for fools. Good on ya!

    •  The visceral thing is important (60+ / 0-)

      This is something I truly do not think a lot of men understand, especially white men, because it is all about power dynamics. And white men are at the top. They do not know what it's like to be shouted down by a crowd that is, power-wise, above them just because of their gender. Violence is a very gender specific issue. It really does mostly belong to men when it is used in places like classrooms and other public gatherings. These men literally exuded violence. Women, to my knowledge, do not do that. Not to that degree.

      I absolutely feel that the professor did validate their words and behavior. He let a male student tell a female student that all of us women in the class are just too emotional to be unbiased because of our gender in this situation, without at least pointing out that, at the very least, the same would be true for the men. And that's the thing: when do white men ever get told in public "your emotions are making you biased because you are male."

      Out of all the comments, it was that one that stung the most. It was so clearly sexist, and for the professor to just let it stand, I was shocked. He's been teaching at the university for forty years. I thought he was a bit of a jerk to all students the first class I had with him a few years ago, but he really seems to have mellowed out.

      The thing that scares me is that I fear that I will end up going to him and exposing the fact that I was genuinely hurt and scared by what happened, that I found what they did and what he allowed completely wrong, only to find out that he didn't see the problem. That would be extremely humiliating.

      Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

      by moviemeister76 on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 01:39:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  At the very least, the professor needs to be (22+ / 0-)

        told he behaved unprofessionally. Set out a few statements, including his penis does not give him any special insigits into the female mind, think them over carefully and send them by snail mail or email before the weekend.

        I think you should express your disappointment, and be ready to report this to the higher ups.

        If, as you fear, he "didn't see the problem", let him know it IS a problem, and he needs to approach the 21st century.

        Good luck, and courage!

        If you do not believe that there is an ongoing war on women, then you aren't paying attention. h/t The Pootie Potentate

        by glorificus on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 04:06:03 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  His ignorance (30+ / 0-)

        is no reason for you to feel humiliated.  You are right.  You know you're right, and you have evidence to back up your opinion on this.  Other women in the class also know you're right.

        I'd say you could try to bring up your point once more, citing evidence, and including the fact that the professor let this boorish bullying behavior happen in his class.  He may not agree with your conclusions, but he should at least agree that your approach to them is valid and that he should not have allowed you to be shouted down ON A WOMAN'S ISSUE by a crowd of loudmouthed men.

        If he cannot agree even to that, then you must point out to him that he has proven your point -  that the history of women is written by men, and because of that, they are going to remain ignorant of it.  If it were me, I'd congratulate him on his willful ignorance and walk away.  I'd also see if there were any women on the staff there in positions higher than his that you could report the incident to.  You never know what kind of "history" this guy has, and your report might be just the additional evidence they need to deny him any further advancement.

      •  I agree with these posters. (28+ / 0-)

        You absolutely have to tell (or write?) your professor what his lack of control of the debate - and, perhaps, his participation in that gang action? - did to you and to your trust of him and his abilities. The classroom should be a place for rational and civil discussion, which it obviously was not.

        It could well be that he had no idea, which is shameful for him, not you.

        I would also feel out the other women students in that room, to see why they remained silent. Were they uninterested in the conversation, or were they afraid also? That's really important for the prof to know and understand.

        Don't think you were wrong or weak, not even for a moment. This kind of bullying behaviour is inexcusable.

        "I can't do it by myself. No president can. Remember: Change doesn't happen from the top. It happens because of you." B Obama, 2008

        by nzanne on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 05:27:34 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Absolutely talk to prof. (22+ / 0-)

          What happened in the class is exactly the scenario they were talking about.  The men over the women, humiliating her and putting her in a place they wanted her to be in.  If someone wants to say love would be involved in that kind of relationship, I guess they could think that but as we can all see, that love would be a false love, not love that is healthy and growing.  
               MM76, you should talk about this with him if only to resolve your own feelings of being put in such an uncomfortable and scary situation.  They may never admit that you are on the right side but they will all think about what you said many times in the future.  Know that your speech may have helped a few of them in their future relationships.  Do not be humiliated by anything that they or the prof respond with.  Your feelings and thoughts are not wrong and you are being the instructor in this situation.  If this is all news to them then you have done a great service for these men.  You must try to view the conversations in a different light as you may be falling into the trap they have set for you.  The trap that makes women act the way they wish them to act.  The Trap of humiliation, subservice, obedience.

          And she's good at appearing sane, I just want you to know. Winwood/Capaldi

          by tobendaro on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 06:25:56 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Send him a link to this diary. (19+ / 0-)

            Maybe he'll get a clue.

            Well done. And your husband sounds like a peach.

            "It's called the American Dream because you have to be asleep to believe it." George Carlin

            by psnyder on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 06:33:56 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  You touch on the very issue I am struggling with (9+ / 0-)

            I feel such a strong urge to stay silent the rest of the semester. Rationally, I know that is wrong. Rationally, I know it is just the typical response to male aggression that so many have experienced.

            But the fact is, it is a very strong response. I have never in my life had a problem going to a professor about any touchy issue before, or even telling a professor I think he or she is wrong. But in this case, I am overwhelmed by the desire to put my head down and be quiet. I know this is wrong, and your and so many other comments are helping me deal with this a great deal right now.

            Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

            by moviemeister76 on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 10:36:24 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  And that's exactly the point (14+ / 0-)

              With the abuse you got at the hands of your fellow students (and tacitly accepted by the professor), you're in the place of many of those abused Southern women. The whole thing has just become an entire object lesson of what you were explaining. Those women kept silent not out of love, or even affection, but out of fear -- in those days, a woman was completely dependent upon her husband/father/keeper, and to speak out against them was to risk life on the streets as a prostitute if not simply dead.

              The optimist sees the glass as half-full. The pessimist sees the glass as half-empty. The realist just knows she's thirsty.

              by Cali Scribe on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 10:43:33 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  That is what you have to tell him. (7+ / 0-)

              You feel you should just be quite, for your safety and sanity.  The very thing they were blustering about.  If you confront it with the prof you will conquer it.  If you could you should explain it to the class.  I know what you are feeling because we all know the men in this situation are not going to get it, because they can't or won't.  The most important person here is you and continuing the same female behavior of taking it to be safe shouldn't be what happens here.  After saying all that I totally get if you don't confront them.  I have no idea that I could or would.  I just think it would help you.  It isn't a matter of courage.  It is a matter of ingrained psychology from the very beginning of womenkind.  At least consider printing out the diary and sending it and the comments to the prof or a letter with a synopsis of the conversation here.

              And she's good at appearing sane, I just want you to know. Winwood/Capaldi

              by tobendaro on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 11:36:58 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  And your reaction is visceral too (6+ / 0-)

              That is why you want to put your head down, because you could FEEL the violence these men were seething at you.  And I am sure everything in our biology that senses those warning shots across the bow indeed tells us to put our heads down or ANGRY MAN WILL GET PHYSICALLY VIOLENT TOO.  

              And that is why you MUST meet with the professor.  The issue is not what they male students did as much as his utter failure to prevent his classroom from becoming A HOSTILE LEARNING ENVIRONMENT.

              That is the phrase you must use when you meet with him.  It is his responsibility to prevent EXACTLY that sort of behavior that LEADS to a hostile learning environment.  You can even point out how he behaved when engaging the bigot-who-says-he's-no-bigot and how you would have expected that degree of support when you expressed your differences with him, not for him to validate the other students' bullying you on an issue you probably have more experience with than they do.

              I've been thinking of your story all night.  Let us know what you do.

              A really great tagline appearing here soon! Watch this space!

              by madhaus on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 11:57:30 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Very good comment (6+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                kyril, JayRaye, linkage, LSophia, madhaus, MKSinSA

                You explained so well what has been rolling around in my mind concerning the idea of why I should talk with the professor. The very fact that I feel the instinct to stay quiet the rest of the semester should have been a signal to me that something is seriously wrong. It means that this is serious.

                Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

                by moviemeister76 on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 12:45:43 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  I would not send him a link to this diary (3+ / 0-)

              That could cause problems for you.

              Just write a different version.

              This is a semi-safe place for you to talk. You have your anonymity.

              Giving him this diary would ruin that and you don't know who he will share it with or why.

              •  Yeah no way I'm sending it (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Oh Mary Oh

                Plus, it's far more detailed that what I would send, particularly concerning my views of the university.

                I do plan on sending an email later today, though. Working my way through these comments has really helped.

                Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

                by moviemeister76 on Wed Mar 28, 2012 at 06:56:10 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

      •  Don't admit to hurt and fear. Admit to anger. (22+ / 0-)

        Please.  Don't make it about perceived weak emotions, but strong ones.  Make it about strength.  Otherwise he just may feel justified in taking the stand he did, which entailed allowing you to be bullied because of weakness.

        "They love the founding fathers so much they will destroy everything they created and remake it in Rush Limbaughs image." MinistryofTruth, 9/29/11

        by AnnieR on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 06:57:54 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Agreed. (6+ / 0-)

          I write the series Confessions of a Retail Worker here on DK. It documents my life in a non-unionized workplace.

          by Lightbulb on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 07:35:32 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Agreed (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JayRaye, AnnieR, sngmama, home solar, madhaus

          People need examples of women who are genuinely angry.

          Anger is strong.    It is in fact the "strong" response to hurt and fear, it is how men are trained to turn it around.

          They will try to dismiss your anger as shrill or hysterical or crazy.  Don't let them play those mind games with you.  Hold on to the anger, and express it.     You don't have to shout or get red in the face or wave your fists if that's not the way you usually do things :)   Deadly calm anger is in many ways the most disconcerting.

          •  Agree about the deadly calm anger (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Oh Mary Oh

            It's a righteous anger (hope that word doesn't make it seem strange) that comes from knowing that it's right and true.

            I have felt that before and backed down men that were much bigger and stronger than me doing something they wanted to do that was wrong.

            I think of it as being like their mother or grandmother who is teaching them right from wrong, decency from indecency, humanity from barbarity, civilized from uncivilized.

            Please sign the White House petition to Flush Rush from AFN (Armed Forces Network).

            by splashy on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 03:16:14 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Sorry, but don't agree with this.... (16+ / 0-)

          I know you said "perceived weak emotions" but I just want to reiterate that fear is not a weak emotion.  Of course the diarist felt fear as well as anger and I don't believe there would be anything detrimental about letting the professor know that it was part of what she was feeling in the classroom.  
          I think that it's exactly the emotion of fear which begins to clearly demonstrate that the situation in the classroom was really a reenactment of the dynamics of abuse - both in relationships and society, complete with the privelege and protection given to people who perpetrate abuse.  
          The diarist was outshouted, outnumbered, and not supported by the person in authority who identified with and gave cover to the people acting in an abusive way.
          Sad to say, but it reminds me of the way the police in Sanford, Florida seemed so intent on identifying with and supporting the bigger, older, armed man who was stalking and eventually shot Trayvon Martin.  Very different situation - but similar dynamic.

          Moviemeister - the shame you are feeling is part of the  dynamic as well - but it's sort of an emotional defense mechanism that people feel after they've been treated the way you were treated.  I hope you'll remember that the situation was not your fault, you had every right to articulate your position, and no, by no means did you fail.  The professor failed, the men in the class failed, but you were spectacular to stand up to them, and smart to say your peace and then stop when it was apparent that it was useless to argue further.

          I agree with those who recommend sending a link to this very strong and well written diary to the professor.

          Very best to you,

          •  That's why I love this site. Everyone comes at a (10+ / 0-)

            given situation from a different perspective, and I have to agree your's is excellent.  What you say is so true - the professor was treating her, and allowing the 4 guys in the class to treat her, as those abusers of old.  And I have to agree with you, to let the man in charge know that she felt fear and shame is important, though frankly I'm not sure it will change him.  I just meant that she should be strong, let him know what happened was unacceptable, and hide vulnerabilities with which he could use against her.  However his behavior tells me that may be an exercise in futility.  

            "They love the founding fathers so much they will destroy everything they created and remake it in Rush Limbaughs image." MinistryofTruth, 9/29/11

            by AnnieR on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 10:25:55 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Thanks for your comment... (5+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              AnnieR, JayRaye, kyril, moviemeister76, LSophia

              My perspective is almost always enlarged and improved from reading diaries and comments on this site - it's quite a learning tool for me as well.
              I think many of us reading this diary feel protective of moviemeister and want to make sure she doesn't get abused in her class again, and I think maybe that's where you are coming from, AnnieR.  And you are likely right that the professor will not learn from her being open with him...though it's possible he could.
              I've worked with sexual abuse and family abuse survivors in a therapy practice for many years - part of why the dynamic might have been easier for me to describe.  

          •  I'd rec this a million times if I could. (4+ / 0-)

            I don't know the number of times I've been made to feel shame for being afraid.

          •  That's a good point (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            moviemeister76, LSophia, devis1, Anti Em

            They need to know that their behavior at the time caused actual fear.

            Be angry about that :)   Fear shouldn't be tolerated in a classroom.

        •  Partly agreed, but ... (6+ / 0-)

          Not sure about "anger".  

          A lot of people see anger as a negative.  You have a perfect and valid right to be angry about what was done to you, but when you get back to the professor, don't be angry - be intense.  be certain.  be confident.  Those are harder to argue with, and are completely justified.  Anger can be dismissed as being too emotional (no matter how well justified), but intensity with a solid foundation can't.

          I am not religious, and did NOT say I enjoyed sects.

          by trumpeter on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 11:55:03 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Think about exactly what you are going to write (4+ / 0-)

        on your teacher's evaluation.

        Make it good, and make it stick.

        I think I would have it written up ahead of time.

        One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors." -- Plato

        by Jane Lew on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 09:24:09 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Give him a chance (5+ / 0-)

          to make things right. It sounds like moviem thinks this has generally been a good class outside of this episode; there's a fair chance the professor just made a mistake. Authority figures can still make mistakes. Even professors are susceptible to groupthink.

          If you bring this up privately and he's still dismissive, then yes, put that on his evaluation. But if he does listen, it has the potential to be a learning experience for him - and possibly the whole class, if he handles it right.

          "Let’s just move on, treat everybody with firmness, fairness, dignity, compassion and respect. Let’s be Marines." - Sgt. Maj Michael Barrett on DADT repeal

          by kyril on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 01:13:01 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  He failed his first chance. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            moviemeister76, LSophia

            He behaved unprofessionally in a way that caused a student of his to be psychologically abused and damaged.  

            If he has done this once, the odds are that it is not the first time.

            There is significant risk in this for the student. In an ideal world going to the professor with her concerns seems like a good idea.

            The problem is that we do not live in an ideal world.

            What if going to him threatens his masculinity, and he takes it out on her. After all, she deserves what she gets for being uppity. She is challenging the way he thinks about women and his relationships with them. This is deeply threatening to many men.

            What if he parrots the right answers and then grades her down. There is wiggle room in grades especially with essay examinations and papers. He can make her grade come out to be whatever he wants it to be.

            I am a child of the late 1950's and early 196o's. I had this happen to me...more than once. Thinking about it still makes me angry.

            One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors." -- Plato

            by Jane Lew on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 03:39:30 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I'll grant that I'm safely cocooned (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              moviemeister76, LSophia, Jane Lew

              at the University of Washington, where conservatives would be the ones being ganged up on in class if they existed here.

              That said, I took courses at various schools around the country before/during my military service, and my experience of modern professors is completely different from your experience in the 50s and 60s. Especially in the humanities and social sciences, they tend overwhelmingly to be wonderful, kind, empathetic, and understanding people, nothing like what my mother described or what you remember.

              Based on that experience and the fact that the diarist has generally had a positive experience in this class, I'm inclined to give this guy the benefit of the doubt.

              "Let’s just move on, treat everybody with firmness, fairness, dignity, compassion and respect. Let’s be Marines." - Sgt. Maj Michael Barrett on DADT repeal

              by kyril on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 04:36:19 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I would have to agree, mostly (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                kyril, linkage, LSophia, Jane Lew

                The literature, history and anthropology professors here are far more sensitive and perceptive than the professors in the other fields. It is actually why I chose this university; because the history faculty has actually won awards for teaching in the past decade, and I had the chance to see one of the professors give an amazing lecture back in 2007. Thanks to some of the history professors, the history department offers more classes showing the disparities in gender, race and nationality than any other department on campus.

                The male professors in the science and math departments are...different. They tend to be a bit more condescending, though mostly indifferent.

                I fear that one of the problems I have been facing for the past four years is that the professors think that because of my age and experience and confidence that I have an unfair advantage over these young college kids. To be fair, they almost never win an argument with me because I am far more well-read than any of them and tend to care more. I think this is why no professor has ever intervened all the times some young white male has showed verbal or nonverbal disrespect, and I have definitely been experiencing that since day one. In fact, I did the last time I took this professor's class, though it was my first year here and I did not understand what was happening at the time. I thought it was just me.

                Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

                by moviemeister76 on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 04:53:29 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I hate to say this, but (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Jane Lew, moviemeister76

                  there's at least a possibility that he might find you threatening, as confident, well-spoken and well-read as you are - and gets a sense of gratification (hidden or not) when one of the younger white men tries to "put you in your place."

                  He's probably used to being miles ahead of his students, and here you are, making him work, making him think.  Some personalities might find that threatening.

                  Just food for thought.

                  •  That reminds me (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    He and I really rubbed each other the wrong way the first class I took with him back in 2008. It shocked me because he is an incredibly popular professor, but I found him to be a bit of a bully to his students. He actually slammed his hand down on the table and swore at us one day, which, as you can imagine, didn't go over well with someone who still can't handle violent acts like that without freaking out. I swore I would never take another class with him again.

                    Of course, that class was a sophomore-level class, filled with students who really weren't the brightest bulbs. He's the only professor to teach about slavery, and finally I just gave in and took it. Until last week, I had been pleasantly surprised. He was completely different, very patient and polite. He's never raised his voice or acted violently in any way.

                    I wonder if, being a white male who was an adult when segregation became illegal, he feels some sympathy for the young white males in the classroom so he goes out of his way to be as respectful as possible.

                    Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

                    by moviemeister76 on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 10:53:49 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

      •  A group of men implied that women, meaning (7+ / 0-)

        you, should be beaten and that you should like it. If you don't like it you should be beaten more. The fact that you find that scary is perfectly reasonable. When they are talking about women in this situation, they are talking about you. That isn't an abstract point at all.

        I repeat: They told you that you should be beaten and that you should love the person who does it.

        Of course you feel angry, scared and humiliated. Those feelings have little to do with whether or not you won the argument.

        Think what a horrible thing that is to say to someone.

        •  That is a very good point (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JayRaye, mamamedusa, linkage, LSophia

          I wrote the diary thinking about how they, on some level, took my criticism of the idea those women loved those men in the past, as a direct attack on them. It did not occur to me that, obviously, I felt their response was the same thing towards me. That's why it was so personal.

          Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

          by moviemeister76 on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 02:28:36 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  I agree, the professor could have intervened and (5+ / 0-)

      told the guys to at least calm down and quit shouting. And then the professor agreed with them! I would have been very upset, too.

      Follow PA Keystone Liberals on Twitter: @KeystoneLibs

      by wishingwell on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 07:44:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Bravo ! Madhaus, you hit the nail on the head (9+ / 0-)

      She should talk to the professor about how she felt bullied and belittled. He allowed the bullies to take over the class and he should have at least asked them not to shut and then asked the other women for their opinion.

      He basically allowed and fostered an environment where the bullies took over.

      Follow PA Keystone Liberals on Twitter: @KeystoneLibs

      by wishingwell on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 07:47:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I agree with madhaus (8+ / 0-)

      I would definitely speak with the professor individually before your next class.

      He needs to require that all students present evidence to support their arguments.

  •  There's always next Monday. (38+ / 0-)

    If you feel up to it, go in there next week and say that in response to some students arguing that women of any race in the Old South loved their masters/husbands in an honest, genuine manner, even the ones who were raped and/or abused, you want to switch it up and talk about psychology.  Then read a salient paragraph or two from a psych paper or textbook about "love" in abusive relationships, and ask: given that this is what scientific study says about love in abusive relationships, is it at all logical to believe that abused women in the 1800s were scientifically different than abused women today?

    Be prepared for more nastiness if you do, and don't feel you're letting anyone down if you don't.  But it's an option.  (I'd recommend giving the other women in the class a heads up if you do, though...with time to prepare, they're more likely to be able to back you.)

    America, America, God mend thy every flaw! Confirm thy soul in self-control, thy liberty in law.

    by Elsinora on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 01:37:30 AM PDT

  •  You didn't lose the argument. (74+ / 0-)

    You were bullied into a form of silence.

    Not acquiesence. And not agreement.

    That's the same type of bullying used by abusive ppl to wear down resistance over time.

    They showed you their own sociological ancestry - an almost genetic propensity to reinforce each other in the pursuit of subverting & subdoing others.

    You won - you made it through the class, you continued to participate even tho stunned, and then vented about it, first at home then here.

    You didn't let anyone down. You done good.

  •  You can feel proud (22+ / 0-)

    that your arguments were so valid, the men in your class were reduced to that old time worn position that women are too emotional.  Sounds like you won the argument although you got bashed in the process.  

    I admire you for holding your own faced with four hostile men and no support from the women.  Not everyone has that kind of courage.

  •  In my opinion, here is what is going on with those (34+ / 0-)

    men, and many others:

    Unconsciously, they're feeling quite powerless in life.  At first, powerless with their stronger than ever mothers.  Then powerless with women who are evolving to be ever stronger, and depending on them less with each generation.  Powerless to feel insured of a good job in their future.  Then along comes a black man to win the presidency.  Unconsciously, these white males were at the very least insured that they would always be more powerful than any black person.  Not anymore.  A black man is holding the highest office in the land, and this fact is driving them crazy deep in their psyches, if not outwardly.  You can bank on the fact that one George Zimmerman is truly a man who was steeped in feelings of powerlessness in his life.

    Many people cover feelings of powerless with an outward "show" of great power, albeit a false power.  A truly powerful man, one that owns his own self fully, would never feel so threatened by a woman's (or anyone's) opinion that he would need to shout her down.  Same applies to any woman.  Owning our own power is the difference between being powerfully assertive or powerfully aggressive.  

    If you want a great example of a man that is owning his own power fully, you need look no further than our President.  He doesn't need to come out swinging against his political foes, or fight them outwardly.  Many of us may have wanted him to, but because he hasn't, they have been forced to show themselves to the nation.

    Those males in your classroom likely feel completely threatened by the loss of the false powers their fathers, and the men before them, were able to hold and wield.  That's why we're seeing so much misogyny in our politics.  Men have lost a lot of what used to make them feel like men.  Until they come to grips with the fact that outward power (false power) that came from needing to feel better, stronger, smarter than someone else won't work anymore, they'll continue to act out in these ways.  

    It's an inside job from here on out.  Our collective consciousness has evolved to a point where what used to work to satisfy a need for power no longer does.  We're all in the process of transitioning, in my opinion, and it's going to be a rough ride.  Some are transitioning better than others (both male and female).  It's likely those silent females in your classroom had upbringings which told them the "safe" thing to do in the presence of male false power was to let it go.  And whatever shame you may be feeling is likely coming from some incident or incidents in your own past with someone in authority.  Ask yourself, "When have I felt like this in the past?  What or who caused it?"  The answers are there.

    As you can see, I found your diary thoroughly thought provoking.  Much is happening now.  Be kind and gentle to yourself and others.  We're all going to need to do so in order to make the great leap that's before us.

    Best wishes.

    •  Also wondering... (6+ / 0-)

      What motivated these guys to take this particular class?

    •  Shelley- you said that beautifully- (6+ / 0-)

      I would just add that (in general) Southern Males are feeling this  insecurity more than their counterparts in other parts of the country because of the whole Southern Culture/mythology.

      Intellect and romance triumph over brute force and cynicism

      by Hill Jill on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 07:09:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  power WITHIN versus power OVER (6+ / 0-)

      Starhawk lays out this concept very well in the first book of hers that I read -  Dreaming The Dark: Magic, Sex & Politics. (A GREAT read! Highly recommended)

      In a sense -

      TRUE power comes from within, is quiet, yet strong, and needs no other source to amplify, augment or feed it.

      Manipulative power - or power OVER others - requires domination, demonization, or otherwise demoralization of the other in order to gain control and subsequent "power over".  

      Much IS happening now.

      This shift will not be easy, but is long overdue.  

      The pendulum is swinging back in the other direction...

      Here's to a bright future that is much more HEART(love)-centered, with true power coming from within,

      as we move away from the older system which is MIND(reason/rationalization)-centered and unfairly wields power OVER others...

      RISE UP against the GOP War on Women! UNITE Apr 28 & Sep 16, 2012

      by nofear on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 07:38:00 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Wow. Wonderful comment (5+ / 0-)

      You made some excellent, and very perceptive points. I, myself, grew up in a very abusive household with a mother who was the epitome of the tyrannical authority figure. I also joined the Army and experienced the usual sexual harassment all women in the Army do. Plainly, I do not do well with authority figures, but at the same time, I definitely felt that shame I still feel from my childhood last night. That shame of being beaten down just because of who you are. I doubt I will ever lose that.

      I do see the trend of male aggression via the media, but I fell into the trap of thinking it would not affect me because my husband just isn't like that. I never realized until last night how lucky I am to have met him.

      Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

      by moviemeister76 on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 10:45:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Thank You ... (0+ / 0-)

      Shelley99 for your comments.


      "Upward, not Northward" - Flatland, by EA Abbott

      by linkage on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 06:52:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Please let us know how next Monday turns out. (17+ / 0-)

    If you do not believe that there is an ongoing war on women, then you aren't paying attention. h/t The Pootie Potentate

    by glorificus on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 04:07:52 AM PDT

  •  I have to agree with (13+ / 0-)

    many of the comments above. You were brave and courageous to make your comments. They were bullies. And as bullies, they ganged up on you to shut you up. They succeeded, for the moment, in intimidating you. You should not feel intimidated or ashamed. You spoke truth to power as they say.

    I am sure it was an incredible difficult and uncomfortable position. They professor should have shut those guys down right away.

    Who knows exactly why or how you hit these guys hot buttons, and who cares. They are not, will never be women and cannot understand rape, physical abuse. Just to "prove" their point, they became verbally abusing toward you. I have noticed that some men, my ex included, "win" arguments by getting loud-so loud that you can't talk bad-certainly you can't win by logic.

    Hang in there. You done good (as my dad used to say).

    Inconceivable! You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

    by hopeful on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 04:30:21 AM PDT

  •  You are Courageous and Absolutely Right (10+ / 0-)

    Don't let the bullies shout you down.

    "If I can't dance, I don't want to be part of your revolution." - Emma Goldman

    by CamillesDad1 on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 04:45:55 AM PDT

  •  You have done something powerful. (21+ / 0-)

    The other women in the class saw you stand up for what you know is right, even without any support from anyone in the room.  You may never know what effect that will have.

    This glimpse into the minds of a group of students is a stark reminder of why the War on Women is still going on.  Writing it is the second very powerful thing you have done in the past 24 hours!

    •  Thank you! (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JayRaye, WheninRome, linkage, LSophia

      I debated for a few hours about writing this diary. I haven't written a diary in years because I always feel I have nothing significant to say. Thank you so much for your words.

      Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

      by moviemeister76 on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 10:47:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  in fact, I would argue (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JayRaye, moviemeister76, LSophia

        that this is a very political diary-- sort of the microcosm of what has been laid bare in this country lately.

        •  I wonder (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          linkage, LSophia

          I was born pretty much at the tail end of the women's liberation movement in the 1970s. I also grew up experiencing, I think, very little sexism (though it was there) primarily because I went to a lot of DODD schools, which are heavily mixed by gender, ethnicity, race and even nationality. This meant that, despite the abuse I was suffering at home, and being forced to be quiet in the domestic sphere, in the public sphere I grew up being treated both by the students and the teachers, for the most part, as an equal.

          Of course, once I entered the Army, all my ideas about how men thought women were equals flew out the window. And I have never recovered that belief in the civilian world living here in North Carolina. Women down here really are quite submissive. They are very different from the girls and women I grew up around. Even one of my friends, who can be quite overbearing, is actually very submissive in public when men start speaking. Even when she is debating me, she tends to wilt immediately under whatever I say, even though I know she does not agree with me. It's pretty sick.

          So, before I started writing this comment, my first thought was that this would not have been political before 1998. But then, of course, the realization hit that it was always political. After all, I clearly remember Rush Limbaugh gaining popularity around 1991-1992 when I was in high school in El Paso, and I noticed several of my high school male teachers started carrying around one of his books. One high school ROTC commander showed me one of his books and told me that, "This man knows how to fix America." I had no clue who Rush was back then, so I seriously did not know what he meant. Today I know, and I now understand that that man must have had some very warped opinions about females even in the early 90s.

          Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

          by moviemeister76 on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 03:58:15 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  This was significant (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Oh Mary Oh

        It encapsulates much of the dynamic going on these days with the right wingers' war on girls and women.

        Please sign the White House petition to Flush Rush from AFN (Armed Forces Network).

        by splashy on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 03:25:49 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  One of my current classes (22+ / 0-)

    covered the story "Story of an Hour" by Kate Chopin, which written in 1894. One of the men in the class argued that, if the central character was so unhappy with her husband, she should have packed up, gotten a job, collected her "precious alimony and child support" and left him.

    No amount of argument could convince him that women in the nineteenth century didn't just "up and leave".  In every story that's dealt with women's issues, he has been very vociferous in his fixation that it's always, always the woman's fault.

    He is so irritating that, when it came time to sign up for group work, I very deliberately chose a group that had only one slot left, and didn't contain him.

    On a side note, short stories in general are unbelievably depressing. At least the "literary" ones. Gah, get me back to Poe and Bradbury and Gaiman!

    "The term 'serious actor' is kind of an oxymoron, isn't it? Like 'Republican party' or 'airplane food'." - Johnny Depp

    by Stucko on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 04:51:03 AM PDT

    •  So true! (4+ / 0-)

      I think this is the outcome of our public education system. Women, of course, have learned about how absolutely terrible things were back then, but they often did it on their own when they were teenagers or a bit older. For a lot of college-age men, they truly do not understand the fact that the women didn't just have the write to vote. They had next to nothing.

      Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

      by moviemeister76 on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 10:50:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  There are a bunch of comments (41+ / 0-)

    that say what I was thinking, only far more articulately.  I haven't read them all, so pardon me if I'm repeating anything.  One thing that I notice is that these guys are all young, just out of high school.  You're an adult.  Your opinions are based not only on your personal experiences as a child, but as someone who's lived in the world for a while.  Theirs are formed by their own experiences, but here you are now challenging their expectations about life -- right in the room, and not just on tv. So much of what they've learned up to this point is being challenged all around them -- a black man dares to be president, a white woman dares to show them her strength and intelligence -- how are they supposed to handle it?

    Their lashing out at you for telling them the truth was the only way they could deal with what you were telling them.  They didn't like it, so they essentially told you that you were wrong and that you should just shut up.  Then they ganged up on you to make sure you did.

    You professor did everyone, not just you, a disservice by not taking control of the class. His letting them get away with their mistreatment of you only reinforced their ideas of the roles of men and women.  If you have the stomach for it, perhaps you should meet to tell him how you feel about it.  He apparently has his own, possibly not historical, reasons for agreeing with them, but if, as you say, he seems more reasoned, then he should be able to hear you when you tell him how that exchange made you feel.  It's your class, too.  It's your experience too.  You have every right to feel that you and your ideas will be respected.

    Maybe he's smart enough to understand what he did by doing nothing, and can facilitate a real discussion rather than a shoutfest with you as the target.  Maybe you and the other women in the class could meet outside to talk to each other.  I'm not surprised that they let you do all the work.  It's really hard to stand up for what you believe in. It's especially hard to do it with no support, and while being attacked. You did a wonderful job. You should be proud.

    I wish you luck.  This isn't easy.

    Sending you a hug from Brooklyn.

    •  Your words are a comfort (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MKSinSA, JayRaye, edsbrooklyn, sb, LSophia

      I am leaning towards meeting with him. I just feel like if I don't, I will just end up quietly resenting the class, and I don't want to. I shouldn't have to.

      Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

      by moviemeister76 on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 10:52:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  No, you shouldn't have to. (7+ / 0-)

        You shouldn't have to resent the class, and you shouldn't have to meet with the teacher. Maybe, if the other women in the class agree with you, they can join you and be there for support, even if they still don't want to say anything.

        I had to tell a teacher once that I was dropping her class because of its unexpected Christian nature (it was an American lit class). She said, "You're Jewish, aren't you? You should come to our Bible study class."  I was too young to challenge her in the way I would have several years later, but I felt liberated when I was able to tell her that my religion was irrelevant.  I told her how I felt at that moment, and then dropped her class.  And it was fine.

        You may or may not be challenging the teacher's belief system, but I bet he'll hear you. You paid for this class, you wanted to take it, you didn't ask to be attacked.  He owes you, and I think you'll end up teaching him something and staying in the class.

        You can do this.  We're all with you!


        •  I wonder if there's (4+ / 0-)

          a feminist group on campus that would be supportive while you are going through this. If not, maybe you and your female classmates need to start one. :)

          •  Woah (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            Probably pretty sad that I don't even know the answer to that off the top of my head. Goes to show how confident I was, I suppose, that American college men would never gang up on me like they did lat night.

            Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

            by moviemeister76 on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 04:00:01 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  If you'd never thought about it, (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              there's no reason for you to know.  But if there is, feminist groups are great for lots of reasons, including making friends.  I wouldn't have expected it either -- what keeps coming back to me is how damn young they are, and how they thought they knew so much more than you.  You MUST be wrong.  Your experiences are invalid, never mind your life as a girl, then as a woman, then as a member of the service.  That amazes me: the sheer arrogance.

              I know you got them thinking, at the very least. And all of us too.

  •  Sounds to me as if you won the argument (29+ / 0-)

    When four white men have to shout down and bully a lone woman, I think that's an unspoken concession that they haven't got an argument worth making.  You obviously got through to them on some level - which is why they panicked.   I don't think you failed in any way - you said what had to be said, you said it honestly and reasonably.  What more could be expected of you? I think you should give yourself a pat on the back, square your shoulders and give yourself some praise for having made a difference -and get yourself ready to fight the good fight next time.   Even the best-sown seeds take a season to come to fruition - don't expect your work to produce miracles overnight.

    Anyway, that's my undead white male view on the matter.

  •  Good for you (7+ / 0-)

    for speaking your mind.  Loud doesn't make them right.  And it certainly doesn't mean they won the argument.

    Let me speak with your supervisor!

    by molunkusmol on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 05:04:49 AM PDT

  •  Talk with the professor? (12+ / 0-)

    Would it help to have a private conversation with the professor? He seems like he might actually be open to data. It seems to me that the key problem with his position is that he is judging by outside appearances. Women who are being abused may indeed behave in ways that look like they love their abuser (I've seen this). That's not an accurate measure of how they really feel, which you know better than most.

    If you can open the professor's mind on this, then you might get back to the place where he is defending your position against those southern jerks. No point in trying to convert them. And their refusal to accept the truth that you know doesn't mean that you "lost". Define your victories by whether you remain true to yourself. That's the part you can control.

    I think something else that maybe the professor is missing is that when one is starving (for food or for love), one takes what scraps one can get. It's part of survival. The professor, especially if he hasn't ever faced an abusive situation, may be misinterpreting what they did to survive.

  •  Bear in mind, these boys have no (18+ / 0-)

    real life experience. Oh, they think they have, but... no. Not by that age. Especially if they're conservatives that readily accept the usual conservative mantras about what a bad place it is "out there" where people think differently.

    If anything like that happens again, and another argument ensues, always bear in mind that you're talking to a bunch of boys who seem to feel that "if you beat a woman enough, she'll love you". No healthy relationship should ever involve a creative application of the Stockholm Syndrome, and those who think it works are unhealthy minds.

    This is the reason you're getting an education: to fight back against people like this. You have to see them to know them; right now consider yourself Daniel in the Lion's Den. Finish it out, get your sheepskin, and move on to better things-- knowing why we fight.

  •  A typical defensive reaction to hearing about (6+ / 0-)

    all the terrible things your ancestors did to other people.

    "...we can all shut-up and go back to our caves." - Leonard Bernstein

    by progdog on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 05:26:02 AM PDT

  •  The scene seems insane to me (29+ / 0-)

    Do I have this right?  A classroom discussion focuses on 18th century male dominance and abuse of women who were either owned by the men, literally, or who were economically dependent and bound to their abusers by marriage (at a time when leaving was rarely an option).  

    Rape happens.  Abuse and bullying become common between these couples.    

    Fast forward to 2012 - The polite professor asks, 'What are the chances these bullied, abused and raped women actually, deep-down loved their mates?'  

    All the males in the classroom declare the answer to be, "OF COURSE the women loved their tormentors!!"

    Maybe this whole question turns on the professor's and the male students' definition of 'Love'.  

    * Do these men regard 'acquiescence' by a woman to be sign of deep, heartfelt affection - even when she has few, if any, other safe choices?  

    * Do they define 'subservience' as a clear indication of love - even if it is rooted in fear?  

    * Do they regard 'respect' between husband and wife significant?

    * Would they have no qualms if their mothers were raped repeatedly and humiliated by their fathers?

    *Do these assholes have a single, fucking CLUE?

  •  {{{moviemeister}}} (9+ / 0-)

    Hey. You did just fine. This is the beginning, not the end.

  •  Be proud! (9+ / 0-)

    You got your ass kicked.  You lost, but you fought.  That makes you a winner.
    Those men ganged up on you and won that particular argument by sheer aggression. Which means they lost!
    The women behind you let you fight it yourself, but they were left with the experience of seeing how men shout down a woman, polite professors included.  But they also witnessed a fighter. That is a win.
    Every burn is a hardening. It makes you better.
    Your tears of sorrow were really tears of anger.  Tears of unfairness.

    Like steel, our strenghth is forged in the hotest of flames.

    First Nations people say:
    Your pain is your gift

  •  Perhaps it might be useful ... (13+ / 0-)

    ... to define terms like "love" before embarking on a such a discussion.

    You have nothing to be ashamed of, but your professor does.


    "The fears of one class of men are not the measure of the rights of another." ~ George Bancroft (1800-1891)

    by JBL55 on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 05:51:00 AM PDT

    •  This. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JayRaye, JBL55, frostieb, moviemeister76

      You're in a history class, not a fiction class. People are supposed to present reasoned arguments buttressed with evidence.

      Before you even start the argument on the facts, you need to agree on what it would mean to say that these women loved these men-- that is, what would have to be true about these women for us, if we knew all the facts, to agree that a particular woman loved a particular man. Would her saying she loved him be enough-- maybe we might think that she was so constrained in her life choices that she couldn't possibly say anything else. Could we look at the choices women made in those situations, when they had choices? What evidence could possibly give us information?

      I suspect you and the bullies wouldn't even agree on what it means to say she loved him. Which means the whole argument was just a pointless shouting match.

      The professor might well think he could have managed the situation better. I suggest going to talk to him, in person, with the attitude that he is a person of good will who doesn't want his students to feel bullied. He may have hamhandedly shut down the discussion just because he felt it was getting out of hand, but later realized he didn't handle it right.

      •  Agree. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        moviemeister76, JayRaye
        The professor might well think he could have managed the situation better. I suggest going to talk to him, in person, with the attitude that he is a person of good will who doesn't want his students to feel bullied. He may have hamhandedly shut down the discussion just because he felt it was getting out of hand, but later realized he didn't handle it right.
        Most people are extremely uncomfortable with conflict, and they usually try to shut it down just as it's reached the point where it's gotten out of hand; i.e. when it's become unbalanced.  At least one person will walk away feeling the worse for it, having suffered from the imbalance and the lack of redress.

        The professor was clearly more attuned to his lack of ability to handle the conflict than he was to the students against whom the imbalance was tilted.

        I hope the diarist is able to have the conversation you suggest.

        "The fears of one class of men are not the measure of the rights of another." ~ George Bancroft (1800-1891)

        by JBL55 on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 11:58:47 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Interestingly enough, I was the only to define it (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        WheninRome, JayRaye

        I was the only one to define love in the conversation. I explicitly stated that genuine love required consent from both sides, and must be without abuse. Anything else resulted in a very sick kind of affection, but not true love. Neither the other students or the professor gave a definition of their own. They just kept saying that, surely, some of those women loved their husbands.

        Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

        by moviemeister76 on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 12:57:11 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Thank you for speaking up...domestic violence, (14+ / 0-)

    child abuse, rape, child sexual all happens but won't stop unless we speak up.

    Republished to Tree Climbers...those of us that have been victims are grateful every single time someone speaks the trith.

    Stand strong and proud, you should never be ashamed of speaking the truth. Blessed be for standing up for truth.

    Nothing astonishes men so much as common sense and plain dealing.Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1841

    by SallyCat on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 05:54:27 AM PDT

    •  Thank you kindly (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SallyCat, JayRaye

      I do think that the abuse I suffered as a girl from my mother and as a woman from a man I assumed was my friend really affected how I see this particular situation. Not just because I know what abuse is like, but because I know how I view it now that I have had years to recover from it, and to reflect how I would feel if I was still in that situation. It was so difficult to hear men say that it was possible for a woman to genuinely love her abuser, when I know what that actually means.

      Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

      by moviemeister76 on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 11:01:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  There's hope (6+ / 0-)

    Perhaps you could share this with your classmates.

    Others have simply gotten old. I prefer to think I've been tempered by time.

    by Just Bob on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 06:02:29 AM PDT

  •  Southern attitudes (19+ / 0-)

    Here's my take on this. I grew up in the South in the 1950s and 1960s. I learned pretty early that there are two categories of institutional bigotry in the South -- one against blacks and the other against women.

    In the South I grew up in men viewed women as possessions, acquisitions that have no real value outside their role in the lives of men. This was true whether a woman was rich or poor. As a female child, I was led to believe that my goal in life should be to find a successful husband to support and obey. This view was pervasive and I couldn't escape it even though my family pushed me to be independent.

    After four years at a Southern women's college where I witnessed the most massive waste of female talent you can imagine, I decided that I simply didn't fit into that Southern culture. As soon as I got out of graduate school, I took off for a city in the North.

    It may appear on the surface that a lot of attitudes have changed in the South, but your story is a good example of how ingrained some views still are. The South's institutionalized view of women is alive and well. You are a brave person to stand up to this kind of monolithic depersonalization. You might not feel like you won this argument but understand that you were fighting against some powerful, long-standing prejudices.

    " a society governed passively by free markets and free elections, organized greed always defeats disorganized democracy." Matt Taibbi

    by Getreal1246 on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 06:11:52 AM PDT

    •  It is institutionalized (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JayRaye, Getreal1246, WheninRome

      Both among the men and women down here. All the classes I am in, pretty much across the board, the girls are meek and the boys are loud. I have endured subtle sneers from young males (always, always white) whenever I have gotten excited by anything or said something they didn't like.

      Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

      by moviemeister76 on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 11:06:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  So telling (7+ / 0-)

    It amazes me that men, when they are supporting a very sexist view of something, try to tell women how they are only speaking "emotionally" when they disagree.

    I have run into men in liberal online forums that will support the most sexist, horrific treatment of women under some guize of "culture" or "religious freedom", then tell me that I'm just "emotional" for pointing out that abuse is abuse and being raised and trapped in hell doesn't make a woman deserve it or like it.

    On another note, I had no clue southern men were so viscious to their wives.  What monsters!  No wonder the south has yet to recover from the civil war.  To be honest, I think the whole Tea Party crap is a way to keep on fighting it.

    I agree with you that it was not love, as we know it, that those women had.  It was more like Stolkholm syndrome.  They had absolutely no way out, no where to go, nothing to do with their children.  

  •  You didn't lose anything (10+ / 0-)

    You won. You stood up to 4 angry young men- who probably aren't really sure why they are angry. You displayed the courage of your knowledge and convictions.
    You have inserted an alien idea into the minds of 4 young men who never considered how depersonalized their view of women is.
    You showed that a woman is strong, knowledgable and willing  to engage where others may bow to the traditional thinking that they aren't aware of.
    You proved that we are not property. We are not weak. We are not what those young men assume we are.
    We win!

    Intolerance betrays want of faith in one's cause. Mohandas Gandhi

    by onceasgt on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 06:22:36 AM PDT

  •  I suppose you could feel (8+ / 0-)

    some anger at the situation - the four men insisting they know what women think or feel either then or now.
    Or you could feel some anger because you don't think you found the right words needed for the smackdown that was sorely deserved.
    But NEVER feel angry at the situation when you at least tried.  If you think you're in turmoil, imagine what women who sit and take that crap even when they have opportunity to speak - like you described - feel every day.  
    I used to let this stuff go like the women you describe, but I don't anymore.  I might not think of the very best words until it's too late, but I never feel bad for having stood my ground no matter what the blowback is.  How else can one live with oneself?

    "If you go all day without hitting or biting anyone, it was a good day." Patrick, age 4

    by Meggie on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 06:33:22 AM PDT

  •  No shame in informing students or the prof (13+ / 0-)

    that violence is not love. Incredible that you even needed to point this out. And there should not be raised voices- yelling in a classroom.  That is not a discussion. Ironically (or not) it is an example of using one's "might" to intimidate and control. The shame lies with the male students in that class and the professor that allowed the discussion to devolve into yelling and "power" trip directed to silence you. Yes, shame on the prof as well.

    I am sorry that not one of the female students in your class had the confidence to speak up. Sad.
    Many layers of repression and depression to explore in the dynamics of the class you so eloquently describe.

    I think an important "take away" for you in this experience is that you need feel safe to express your point of view without being attacked or shut down.  I encourage you to share this with the prof in this class.

    And for the record- I agree with you. You are right. Women don't love their abusers. You have an important point of view that should be heard and considered. That is education.

    Watch out for the UnderToad ~ The World According To Garp

    by donaurora on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 06:33:24 AM PDT

    •  Abuse never equals love (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JayRaye, trumpeter, WakeUpNeo

      To be honest, I was absolutely shocked last week when the professor said that it was possible. I thought this had been decided over a decade ago.

      Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

      by moviemeister76 on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 11:09:56 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Prof needs to rethink (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        moviemeister76, JayRaye

        his views based on  facts. I can imagine how stunning it was for you to hear him state something so absurd.  Will you let him know how upset you were by the tone and tenure of the outbursts directed your way? His role is to ensure that there is respectful dialogue in his class.
        I can't think of any literature off the top of my head to offer as a counter to the book he sprung on you. But I know there out there. Maybe do a literature search?
        There is a ton of  information on domestic violence, assault, rape. Perhaps a field trip to a women's shelter or rape crisis center is in order!
        Good luck with this class, stay strong, and keep speaking out. Silence will not change minds or hearts.

        Watch out for the UnderToad ~ The World According To Garp

        by donaurora on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 11:26:55 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I kept hearing, "oh but I love you I love you" (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I finally got fed up and said, "well if THAT is love then I would hate to see hate."

        Fighting for our freedom while walking on eggshells is hard to do. -JayRaye

        by JayRaye on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 11:35:02 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I just noticed your sig (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          That is so damn true. It is almost stifling sitting in a classroom hearing a young white male constantly complain about how poorly slaveowners are being portrayed (in books which are famous for handling slaveowners with kid gloves at times) and not have anyone tell him what he actually means. His ego is so clearly fragile, and yet I am supposed to, apparently, be above it all and handle him gently.

          Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

          by moviemeister76 on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 11:59:03 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Oh honey you don't have to feel ashamed (11+ / 0-)

    The thing is it's impossible to win an argument with people like that.  When they won't crack their minds open even half an inch to accept the idea that just maybe someone who shares the same identity as the subjects under discussion might understand those subjects better than they do, there's no hope.  They would not ever yield and accept modification of their beliefs even if they had to twist themselves up into arguing the sky is green to do so.  You make your points, you keep your dignity and your moral certainty and that's about you can ever do.

    (((((( hugs )))))))

    As for the diary in general, it was very well presented and I hope it opens a few eyes as to how women's voices are so little valued, and why that has to change.

    •  Thank you so much (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JayRaye, FourthOfJulyAsburyPark

      While I was writing this diary, I started remembering all the other times I have endured far more subtle condemnation from white males in all my classes whenever I spoke my mind in a forthright manner. I am so different from all the women down here who speak their minds when only women are around, but stay fairly quiet when men are talking. The nonverbal criticisms and mutterings I have endured for four years now from young white men coalesced in my mind, and I realized that this has genuinely been stressing me out for years.

      I was surprised to realize that. And horrified to realize that if I have been enduring this, no wonder so many women are quiet down here. They have been dealing with it from childhood, whereas I had the advantage of not growing up in the South and my voice was heard in many schools across the country.

      Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

      by moviemeister76 on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 11:15:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'm a day late to the discussion, but... (30+ / 0-)

    here goes:

    I've been in your shoes before.  The comments above, including the insights into the male students' characters and maturity, as well as the professor's failure to bring an objective steadying force to the classroom--are all spot on.  But there are a few other areas where your professor has fallen down.

    If he's a scholar with 40+ years of teaching about the ante- and postbellum eras, he would know a few things that he hasn't brought to the table:

    He would know that plantation-class white women in the South were property as much as slaves were property.  He would know a woman's marriage was often still arranged, or at least her beaux would be drawn from a small circle of "appropriate" young men, many of whom, by the 1850's, were her cousins.  He would know that the force of family pressure, as well as the need to keep property intact and passed down in the  family, as well as her responsibility to see her elderly parents maintained, would join with religious exhortation to make sure the young woman married the "right" man.  Love was not a consideration in marriage among the landed class.

    Things were not much better for women in the lesser classes: they were still property, although they had a wider pool of beaux from which to choose a husband.  Still, social opinion was the same--love was a mushy-minded concept, and it was far more important to marry a man who could take care of her and her parents than it was that she love her husband.

    He would also know that life for freed slaves was scarcely better than it had been before Emancipation, and women had even less power and fewer life choices than men did.  If, in a "lower class" family, a son wanted to marry his slave mistress (and imo, these examples are extremely rare.  In fact, I know of just one, and the man was older, infirm, widowed but lacking legitimate heirs, and married his mistress because she was the only woman available to him.)  

    For a black woman, her choice fell between staying with the man, maintaining relative safety and keeping her children close to her, and striking out on her own. Before the Civil War, the South had developed strong incentives for free women of color to not strike out on their own.  For one thing, no protection of the law extended to them--they could be raped, murdered, etc., and no one turned a hair.  That did not change with Emancipation.  A woman who went out on her own could, if she was lucky, become a maid (which made her prey to the men of the house) or a field hand (which made her prey to the men of the house).  And if she could not prove she could provide for her minor children they would be taken from her and farmed out--that was the job of the Overseers of the Poor.

    So: when this comes up, as it will next class, if I were you I'd challenge the professor to provide stats about the actual number of mixed marriages there were in the later 19th century.  I'd also ask him when love became a factor in considering a husband, and why bring it up now?  And if he doesn't know, tell him it didn't until late in the 19th century and, for the upper classes, north and south, not until the early 20th.  (nb: pardon the pop culture reference, but the relationship between Rose and her lousy fiance in The Titanic is historically accurate.)

    And good luck.  You have right on your side, and this experience has exposed your professor's bias against women in academia.  I just hope that his bias doesn't spoil your love of learning or interest in the subject.  

    "I speak the truth, not as much as I would, but as much as I dare, and I dare a little the more, as I grow older." --Montaigne

    by DrLori on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 06:38:44 AM PDT

    •  Yeah, arranged marriages (6+ / 0-)

      No one brought the arranged marriages among the plantation owners up, though the professor did dance around it by saying those folks essentially married their cousins to keep the power in the family, so to speak. I really don't think a lot of Americans understand that love was not a factor in those marriages, and often never developed after marriage.

      Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

      by moviemeister76 on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 11:19:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You're right (12+ / 0-)

        With money, land, power and class involved, marriages were business arrangements.

        Children of the merchant and farming classes had it easier, but we cannot imagine ourselves into an antebellum society without knowing the cultural parameters.

        Keep up the fight!  I had a Shakespeare professor who told me, in class (a graduate seminar with me the lone woman) that women lacked the "background" and "temperament" to challenge men in academia.  I got so mad that, when the time came later that class to announce our paper topics, I told him I would write about Lady MacBeth's menstrual cycle.  I did it just to see the look on his face and make him write "menstrual cycle" on the board.  One of the best papers I ever wrote.

        "I speak the truth, not as much as I would, but as much as I dare, and I dare a little the more, as I grow older." --Montaigne

        by DrLori on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 11:29:10 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Just saw this diary (21+ / 0-)

    I am hoping and guessing that, right now, you are getting some well-deserved rest.  I made a point of reading all of the comments, and am sure that I may have little to say which has not already been said.

    Let me start by adding some context.  A recent study sponsored by Liz Claiborne claims that abuse toward college women is even more prevalent than previously thought:

    According to the findings, a significant number of college women are victims of dating violence.

    •43% of dating college women report experiencing abusive dating behaviors including physical, sexual, tech, verbal or controlling abuse.
    •Nearly 1 in 3 (29%) college women say they have been in an abusive dating relationship.
    •More than half (57%) of college students who report experiencing dating violence said it occurred in college.

    So, it may not be just that you are threatening their view of their ancestors; you are unwittingly calling them out.  That may also provide context as to why the other women did not back you up.  Statistically, at least one, and possibly two of those women have been abused.  The way you were attacked occurred in the context of a life lived, and self-respect regained.  For some of those women, it is likely that the context is less benign.

    Let's get to the professor now.  Remember, he didn't just disagree with your point about the white wives, he disagreed with your point about the slave women.  And he assigned the  book in the first place.  Based upon what you have written, I would hazard that he did not assign the book just to promote discussion.  He assigned it because he essentially agrees with Genovese.  And by arguing, however politely, with you and the other female student on the latter point, he signalled to the male students an alliance on the former point, even before it was discussed.

     I have to wonder whether your having been abused earlier has tempered your ability to recognize that the professor has not been reasonable when disagreeing with you, but, rather, condescending.  I have known women from abusive backgrounds who don't always recognize more subtle abuse, because the abuse they have suffered was so much more direct and obvious.  I may be wrong about that, but it is worth thinking about.  If the professor has been signalling condescension, then the male students would have felt more comfort in lashing out at you.

    And your husband?  God bless him.  I am so happy that you have found a man worthy of you.  Not only did he support you, but he was willing to talk it through with you, which I am certain helped to more positively contexualize the experience for you.  And he is at least as lucky as you.

    Stand your ground.  You are right.  And now that the immediate event is over, consider whether you might want to say something at the beginning of the next class.  Something along the lines of how you felt the men stepped over the line, and you felt intimidated by the way they behaved.  Put it out in the open.  It might give the men pause, and empower the women.  Not to mention the two men who did not participate in the abuse (you said there were six men, but only four attacked you).

    Whatever you decide to do with what happened, know that, here, you are loved and supported.

    Ancora Impara--Michelangelo

    by aravir on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 06:41:25 AM PDT

    •  Thank you so very much (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      WheninRome, JayRaye, linkage, aravir

      I really appreciate your words. This community has been so wonderful to me today.

      I rarely recognize condescending attitudes until after the fact, for the reason you mentioned: I was trained growing up to watch out for far more violent actions. It did not occur to me how condescending the professor was being until I woke up. And, again, it was because he was not aggressive with his statements the way the four men were.

      Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

      by moviemeister76 on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 11:24:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Those numbers may well be worse. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      aravir, moviemeister76

      It only hit me while reading the comments to this diary that my college boyfriend was verbally abusive. Whenever we had an intellectual argument which he couldn't win, at the point that he ran out of things to say, he would stand up and wag his finger in my face and shout, "You're a whore. You're a whore. You're a whore," until I started crying. That was nearly thirty years ago and it was only when I read one of the comments here that I realized that that could be considered an abusive relationship.

      The school we went to had a reputation for being highly progressive and many people witnessed it and no one ever said anything.

      •  I'm so sorry (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        FourthOfJulyAsburyPark, aravir

        That's so terrible that no one stepped in. Emotional abuse, imho, is always worse. And that's coming from someone who's in pain every day. The words are always more painful. They have a way of sticking with you years after the physical pain is completely gone.

        Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

        by moviemeister76 on Wed Mar 28, 2012 at 09:23:34 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  It takes a breathtaking amount (14+ / 0-)

    of denial combined with chutzpah to assume that a modern man could understand the life circumstances of women a century and a half ago.  The only real opportunity that women had back then was to make a good marriage.  If the marriage was lousy, she was stuck.  If she attempted to leave, she would be bereft of resources and her reputation would be worthless.  Such women were forced to stay and endure their situations.

    Of course, despite the fact that modern women have better choices than back in those days, these situations still do occur.  I think your assertions hit just a little too close to home for both the men and the women in that class.

    -5.13,-5.64; If you gave [Jerry Falwell] an enema, you could bury him in a matchbox. -- Christopher Hitchens

    by gizmo59 on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 06:44:28 AM PDT

  •  There's no need to feel ashamed. There's no (16+ / 0-)

    need to feel you let women everywhere down.  We're seeing the shining example of how little men think of us (not all men, of course) from the state legislatures up to Congress.  Just look at the things that have been said about Nancy Pelosi (one of the best Speakers we've ever had), and Hillary Clinton who has given her life to public service.  

    We do not love our abusers.  We accept our lot until we're willing to fight back.  I was married to an abser a long time ago, and can confirm this from first han experience.  I was too ashamed to share with my family.  I would talk about leaving him and got responses like you have to try harder and you were married in the church.  All the usual responses.  One day I admitted he hit me.  Then all bets were off.  The women in my family were supportive, the men wanted to go over there and beat my husband up - were literally on their way out the door before I reminded them he wasn't worth it.  

    No, we do not love our abusers.  We find ourrselves stuck in a pattern until we can see the way out clearly.  For me it was a moment on the local news.  A young woman had been beaten to death and they showed a picture of her dead body on the evening news in the hopes of identifying her.  I thought "if I don't get out of this situation that's going to be me."  You were right.  They were wrong, and just reaffirmed my belief that we have a long way to go and a  lot of work to do to get there.

    "They love the founding fathers so much they will destroy everything they created and remake it in Rush Limbaughs image." MinistryofTruth, 9/29/11

    by AnnieR on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 06:46:06 AM PDT

  •  So, let's see... (15+ / 0-)

    Women, enslaved or free, are supposed to learn to love their abuser.

    And when you disagree, the men in the room begin to yell and holler at you. And this takes place in a college classroom. Amazing. The prof agrees with the "love your abusive husband/master" thesis.  And the prof allows all of this yelling to continue. Double amazing.

    My bet is on you, mm, you probably did better than you realize. Wipe your tears & get back in the fight. You'll be glad you did.

    I worked in construction 77-84. Had to swallow the sexist & racist crap of my union brothers every single day while working a dirty, dangerous, & physically demanding job. Also supporting 2 children at the time.  The experience was so hard at the time that I cried almost every single day. At home. Not in front of them. But all of that made me the tough old broad that I am today, so it was worth it.

    I'm glad your husband was there for you. Blessings to you both.

    Fighting for our freedom while walking on eggshells is hard to do. -JayRaye

    by JayRaye on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 06:51:12 AM PDT

    •  Thank you very much for your words (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JayRaye, frostieb, linkage

      I can't even imagine what kind of hell that must have been, especially since men were much more open with their sexism back then. That you made it through that is amazing.

      Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

      by moviemeister76 on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 11:28:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Hazel Dickens, 1982 (3+ / 0-)

        Coal Mining Women

        I've got the woman coal miner blues
        Just like you, I've got the right to choose
        A job with decent pay, a better chance to make my way
        And if you can't stand by me, don't stand in my way.

        Your fellow students can work with you in the quest for knowledge, or else they can get the fuck out of your way. But don't ever let them stop you.

        Go over, under, around, or thru them. Whatever it takes.

        Fighting for our freedom while walking on eggshells is hard to do. -JayRaye

        by JayRaye on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 12:15:22 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  It seems that what was missing (12+ / 0-)

    is the definition of love.  It would have been interesting to hear how those men defined love and how they resolve the disparity between love and abuse.  

    Can love coexist with need?  The need for security, the need to provide for your children, the need for a standing in the community.  How many women sacrificed their own needs and tolerated great emotional and physical abuse to ensure that their children have food, clothing, and to secure their future in their community?  How many still do?  

    Can love coexist with disrespect?  Not only the lack of respect from the abuser but also the lack of self-respect from the abused.

    •  I actually did define it (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JayRaye, TheMeansAreTheEnd

      That's the weird part. I did define it. I said it had to be consensual and without abuse. None of the other students or even the professor offered a definitive definition like I did. They just kept saying that some of the women must have loved their husbands.

      Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

      by moviemeister76 on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 02:33:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Jeffersons and married life in Virginia (7+ / 0-)
    After practicing as a circuit lawyer for several years,[19] Jefferson married the 23-year-old widow Martha Wayles Skelton. The wedding was celebrated on January 1, 1772 at Martha's home, an estate called 'The Forest' near Williamsburg, Virginia.[20] Martha Jefferson was described as attractive, gracious and popular with their friends; she was a frequent hostess for Jefferson and managed the large household. They were said to have a happy marriage. She read widely, did fine needle work and was an amateur musician. Jefferson played the violin and Martha was an accomplished piano player. It is said that she was attracted to Thomas largely because of their mutual love of music.[20][21] One of the wedding gifts he gave to Martha was a "forte-piano".[22] During the ten years of their marriage, she had six children: Martha Washington, called Patsy, (1772–1836); Jane (1774–1775); a stillborn or unnamed son in 1777; Mary Wayles (1778–1804), called Polly; Lucy Elizabeth (1780–1781); and Lucy Elizabeth (1782–1785). Two survived to adulthood.[22]

    After her father John Wayles died in 1773, Martha and her husband Jefferson inherited his 135 slaves, 11,000 acres and the debts of his estate. These took Jefferson and other co-executors of the estate years to pay off, which contributed to his financial problems. Among the slaves were Betty Hemings and her 10 children; the six youngest were half-siblings of Martha Wayles Jefferson, as they are believed to have been children of her father,[Note 2] and they were three-quarters European in ancestry. The youngest, an infant, was Sally Hemings. As they grew and were trained, all the Hemings family members were assigned to privileged positions among the slaves at Monticello, as domestic servants, chefs, and highly skilled artisans.[23]

    Later in life, Martha Jefferson suffered from diabetes and ill health, and frequent childbirth further weakened her. A few months after the birth of her last child, Martha died on September 6, 1782. Jefferson was at his wife's bedside and was distraught after her death. In the following three weeks, Jefferson shut himself in his room, where he paced back and forth until he was nearly exhausted. Later he would often take long rides on secluded roads to mourn for his wife.[21][22] As he had promised his wife, Jefferson never remarried.

    Jefferson's oldest daughter Martha (called Patsy) married Thomas Mann Randolph, Jr. in 1790. They had 12 children, eleven of whom survived to adulthood. She suffered severe problems as Randolph became alcoholic and was abusive. When they separated for several years, Martha and her many children lived at Monticello with her father, adding to his financial burdens.
  •  What is the... (15+ / 0-)

    "final assignment" for the class? A project? Paper? Presentation?

    If the opportunity is present, perhaps you could channel aspects of this into a knock-out paper and/or presentation, having had some time to step back, assess and prepare to fight the good fight.

    Real stupidity beats artificial intelligence every time. (Terry Pratchett)

    by angry marmot on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 07:00:46 AM PDT

  •  OK, I can see why you're acing the class. (11+ / 0-)

    This is wonderfully written and really conveys your situation and your feelings, with a lot of good history thrown in. Or bad history, actually. Ugly.

    Have you thought of sending the Prof a link to this diary? He sounds like an individual who would have the sense to see he was wrong and the integrity to admit it and learn from you.

    "Maybe this is how empires die - their citizens just don't deserve to be world leaders anymore." -Kossack Puddytat, In a Comment 18 Sept 2011

    by pixxer on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 07:01:43 AM PDT

  •  It probably was more a case (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GreyHawk, moviemeister76

    of unmarried sons of the master and overseers rocking and rolling in the slave cabins.

    Masters who lost their wives and were still young may have often visited a slave cabin under various circumstances ranging from rape to lust to true mutual affection.

    Genetic science tells a tale too.

  •  Turn it around... (13+ / 0-)

    If you have an opening at your next class ask the men:

    1.  Do you now, or would you be likely in the future to, love wholeheartedly a woman who ridicules you in front of others?  If not, why not.

    2.  If you were married to a woman you loved dearly and she started to become physically violent with you, on a regular basis, hitting you with, say, a hammer or other heavy objects, would you stay with her?  If not, why not?

    3.  If your significant other began mocking you and belittling you, would your love for her be enough that you would simply dismiss her behavior as insignificant?  If not, why not.

    Try to get them on the receiving end and see how much they are willing to admit that love would see them through.  

    4. If you were (are) in a loving relationship, is there any behavior your wife might engage in that would cause you to fall out of love with her?   If so, what?

  •  Moviemeister, I'm proud of you. (16+ / 0-)

    That's right. You have absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. You may have felt overwhelmed and backed into a corner, but you didn't back off, you didn't give in and agree with them to get them to stop yelling. You handled this much better than I would have. Even hearing about it has me shaking.

    I was a woman in an abusive relationship, and you're right, it isn't love, even if it started as love it doesn't stay there. It turns into fear, and dependency, and guilt and sometimes hate, but not love. I have love now, have for the past 13 years and still sometimes we run into problems because of that first very abusive marriage of mine. He's talked me out of closets I was hiding in due to a flash back several times. He's dealt with and helped me through situations where I thought he was doing or saying something he wasn't because my mind jumped back in time. That happens less frequently now. But women back then were more trapped in those relationships than we are now. It was harder to get out, because the attitudes of the young men you dealt with were the prevailing ones.

    So yes, I'm proud of you. You kept your head, you didn't end up running away, despite the urge to, and you didn't yield and agree with them, despite their opinion that you were somehow wrong.
    I would suggest you may wish to have a private conversation with your professor about how you feel about that outburst on your classmate's part. He should have stepped in when it got out of control and became a shout down. He allowed it to be made into an intimidating and bullying environment, and that can't be allowed to stand, for your sake and for the sake of the other women in that class.

    "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

    by FloridaSNMOM on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 07:11:40 AM PDT

    •  By the way (12+ / 0-)

      If further conversation on this turns into another yelling match, here's a suggestion:

      Look at them calmly and say "Thank you, you've just proven my point." and then excuse yourself to the rest room to calm down. Let them stew over that a few minutes. You may want to even talk to the other women and make it a mass exodus at that point, kind of a walk out in protest.

      "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

      by FloridaSNMOM on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 07:26:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Thank you so much for your comment (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SallyCat, JayRaye

      I have been lucky to never be in a long-term abusive relationship with a man, so that was the one thing I was not sure of. I know what it's like to be abused for decades by someone you are supposed to love, and I know what it's like to be raped by a man I used to genuinely love and how that made me feel, but I have never endured your nightmare. I just assumed that, like other abusive relationships I have experienced, women did not actually love their abusers.

      Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

      by moviemeister76 on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 11:34:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thank you for writing this. (9+ / 0-)

    Do not be ashamed. You spoke truth to abuse, and you were martyred for it.

    That verbal abuse was absolutely assault-minus the battery. They beat you down for being free, and honest.


    You were assaulted by four men and your teacher, and no one stood up for you.  That is nothing to be ashamed of. Nijas in movies withstand that. People in a classroom that should be able to expect a certain amount of social protection do not even see it coming. Why should you? I am so glad it want worse.

    I wish I could go to that class and just sit there with you, silently.

    I can't even right anymore, right now. I can't think beyond seeing red. Any emotional bruises you are feeling are very real, but try not to be permanently damage by this, because you won. If any greater proof was needed that Asshole abusive men are not lovable, ever, those little fuckers provided it five times over, didn't they?

    You are perfect, lady. God Bless you and your husband.
    We are with you.

  •  Good for you! About Genovese, etc. (13+ / 0-)

    You did a brave thing when you sat out the rest of the class after being bullied by four Johnny Rebs. You have my sympathy and admiration for all you have done and are trying to do.

    About Gene Genovese's Roll, Jordan, Roll: Genovese was a Marxist (of a sort ) in the 1970s. He saw himself as a Gramscian Marxist historian (Antonio Gramsci, in brief, rejected crude dialectical materialism and emphasized the role of culture in creating the forces of domination and of resistance to domination) Genovese, however, never came to terms with his own will to dominate others by the power of culture, nor with his very biased use of sources, which his doctrinaire agenda and his predilection to be overbearing selected in favor of. Genovese accepted at face falue many statements and opinions of slaveholders and other observers of slavery--for example, the Civil War Union officer Thomas Wentworth Higginson's opinion that his black recruits in the Second Carolina Volunteers were "childlike," and so forth. So rigid is  Genovese's determination to cram all the data he assembles in RJR into the framework of his theory, that he really comes off like a Marxist-leninist commissar (to me) rather than a Gramscian.

    I think Roll Jordan Roll is a monumental, but monumentally flawed book, and one that should neither be taken seriously as a portal into the slave experience NOR the experience of the slave master--because Genovese accepted uncritically so many of his self-serving sources. I have a copy of RJR, which I was obliged to buy for a seminar some years ago, but afterwards I used it to support a corner of my bed-frame when the leg broke.  

    •  Here is an alternative look at slavery: (7+ / 0-)

      American Negro Slave Revolts by Herbert Aptheker
      International Pub's, written abt 1943

      Documents 250 slave revolts over a period of about 200 years. The enslaved people were not passive in their captivity.

      Fighting for our freedom while walking on eggshells is hard to do. -JayRaye

      by JayRaye on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 08:22:56 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Wait a minute (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JayRaye, revbludge

        250??? Holy crap I had no idea. Genovese and other sources we've read make it sound like there were three or four at best. OMG

        Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

        by moviemeister76 on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 01:58:17 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  30 minutes later... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JayRaye, revbludge

          I am seriously upset about this. What kind of irresponsible professor do I have? Everything I have read has stated that the slaves hardly ever revolted and accepted their lives best as they could.

          Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

          by moviemeister76 on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 02:35:59 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Yes, & well documented also. And these are just (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          moviemeister76, revbludge

          the revolts that the author found from searching old news accounts, etc, there were many many more. And these revolts took place in spite of the terrible punishments meted out: whipping, burning, "broke on the wheel" (whatever that is), gibbeted, body parts cut off, stretched on the floor for days.

          Every type of terror the masters could dream up, and yet the revolts continued right up to emancipation.

          Fighting for our freedom while walking on eggshells is hard to do. -JayRaye

          by JayRaye on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 02:40:03 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Pretty much what I have said all semester (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      revbludge, JayRaye

      I thought he had some interesting things in it, particularly the diary excerpts, but the fact that he used those obviously biased excerpts to prove points that can only be made if you take the diaries at face value proves that it's just traditional patriarchal denial and bs.

      Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

      by moviemeister76 on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 11:38:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  This is a great diary and I am glad you posted it. (3+ / 0-)

        I applaud what you stand up for in class and what you are doing for history.

        "traditional patriarchal denial and bs," yes, that's about right for RJR. It's important that you called people's attention to this in seminar. The fact that it gets people riled up shows the huge investment these other scholars have in bs.

        I am a historian myself, in grad school since 2003. I took several years off to have cancer, but now I'm back and am going to defend my dissertation on 20 April and receive my doctorate in May. After that, God only knows what.

        I wish you every good thing, sister! Keep fighting the good fight.

        •  Oh wow (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          revbludge, JayRaye

          Good luck with your defense!

          Yeah, Genovese has become the darling of the right wing nuts because he complains a lot about how American historians focus so much on American slavery but do not talk about the conditions of the poor who were not slaves. He converted to Catholicism with his wife in the 90s, I believe, and became rabidly anti-abortion.

          Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

          by moviemeister76 on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 01:07:11 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  I grew up thinking the "engagement talk" was (7+ / 0-)

    universal--at least in the South. But apparently it was just my family (or maybe just some families, including mine.)

    Upon family acknowledgment of an engagement, the father of the bride-to-be spoke to the groom-to-be. The gist of the talk was this:

    "Now, son, you know women can sometimes be difficult. They can get moody, or unreasonable. That's just the way it is. I want you to know that no matter what Betty-Lou (the bride) ever says or does, you are not to raise a hand to her."

    At this point, the groom-to-be nods.

    "Because," continues the father, "if I ever hear that you have touched a hair on her head, I will have to kill you."

    The groom-to-be then responds, "You don't have to worry none about that, Sir."  And the groom-to-be appears proud because he is marrying into a good family.

    As a child I was an accomplished eavesdropper.

    "'s difficult to imagine what else Republicans can do to drive women away in 2012, unless they decide to bring back witch-hanging. And I wouldn't put it past them." James Wolcott

    by Mayfly on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 07:27:51 AM PDT

  •  Be PROUD. You are the one who spoke up! (8+ / 0-)

    And that takes a lot.

    Thanks for sharing this so honestly.

  •  Congratulations! (9+ / 0-)

    With their words and their behavior, they validated every opinion or statement you made and some I'm sure you wished you had been allowed to make.  Next time, just laugh and say "Thank you for the validation, at least you guys don't have to pretend anymore.".  And then turn to the Prof. and smile.  Have courage and conviction.....  

  •  You are opening their eyes. (8+ / 0-)

    And it is a bitter medicine, this tonic of truth.

    No matter how they act out in public, each and every one of them is privately wrestling with this truth.

    They are but sprites, who know not the your waters. A mature, confident and articulate woman has a much better grasp of the world - and they know it. Hell, you served your country, while they were just pups. They are intimidated.

    The real revelation is that their great, great gran-daddy was probably as viewed with he same, albeit silenced, scorn as their own mother mothers secretly hold for their own fathers. And what that means about them all, as men.

    Yeah, you stung them hard. That's why they got ugly.

    Disclaimer: Weapons of Mass Destruction and terrorists may vary according to region, definition, and purpose. Belief systems pandered separately.

    by BlackBandFedora on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 07:30:59 AM PDT

  •  You might remind them too (9+ / 0-)

    that women could not VOTE until the 1920s. Almost 50 years after African Americans were (ostensibly) given the right to vote.

    Inconceivable! You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

    by hopeful on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 07:37:37 AM PDT

  •  I suspect that this was very uncommon (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JayRaye, Anti Em, moviemeister76
    Women...held down by their husband's friends so their husbands can whip them, tied to chairs and forced to watch their husbands have sex with prostitutes, did NOT love their husbands
    There was a code of chivalry.

    A man may have gotten drunk far more often and beat his wife, but he did it alone and she suffered without witnesses.

    If the husband was into prostitutes, he would have gone to a brothel.

    As for marital sex, women were generally informed about the beastly habits of men before the wedding.

    •  That wasn't the point, though (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JayRaye, LSophia

      I can agree that those extremes might have been uncommon, though diaries now prove that most Southern men did not actually hold to the code of honor, they just demanded that everyone think they did. But the point was that the professor read these excerpts from the court proceedings to frame the question about love. He directly tied abuse to love.

      Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

      by moviemeister76 on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 11:42:56 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I don't believe "You failed because you are a (10+ / 0-)

    woman."  I don't even think you failed.  You evaluated a thesis, called it into question, outlined its failings, and were prepared for discussion.  And you maintained your objective footing throughout the ensuing calamity.
       THEY failed, all of them, your classmates who yelled, your classmates who stayed silent, and especially your teacher.
        It's a classroom, so there is hope, because you're all there to learn, and you learn by making mistakes.
        I hope you find a way to give a strong follow-up to your class.  Your conclusions from investigating the class materials are open to debate in class, (but they sound right to me,) but your methods are beyond reproach.  And a angry, sustained, aggressive repudiation of the kind you endured is unsupportable and unconscionable.
       BTW, there are other possible reasons why slave-owners might have wanted to free the black women they were sexually active with.  How did property and contract law affect their dispensation?  I. e.: could they be desiring to free a woman to ensure they could not be claimed away in a lawsuit or purchased out from under them?  I can imagine an estate entering into a contract to sell a group of slaves to be mutually agreed upon by the buyer and seller.  How would one object to letting go of the woman you were 'fond of?'  Best to take that chance off the table.  Would freedom under such guise be a gift, or an obligation to become a 'kept woman' of the former owner?  And were they really going to "Marry" once she was freed?  Would they even have been able to legally?  Would they be lynched if they tried?  Are there any actual examples of such marriages, and did they prosper?
       How could higher education students so clearly mistake physical intimidation and control with a whip for love?  Does this historical misogyny extend to the lower classes consistently, or was it primarily the norm for slave and land owners?  And what does it gain the discussion to demonstrate that raped slaves might be 'liberated' to the status of beaten free women?  It seems much more like an indictment of the entire culture, so I understand why they jump to an unreasoned defense of 'their' history, but I can't imagine why they view it so rosily, or want to give it another go.
       Good for you for holding your ground, even though it was obviously difficult.  I hope you find a way to assert the footings of rational discourse again in your class.
       One last thought:

    A champion is afraid of losing. Everyone else is afraid of winning. Billie Jean King
  •  Growing up in the South I swallowed some of the (9+ / 0-)

    soothing syrup about happy slaves, plantations being like big extended families, etc., although there was always that logical persistent thought, "I wouldn't want to be a slave."

    Then I came across a book that was made up entirely of reproductions of Wanted Posters for runaway slaves. The posters included identifying marks, and they were horrific.

    Certainly some slave owners were humane within that system, but the system itself was contrary to the empathy that is an essential part of love.

    "'s difficult to imagine what else Republicans can do to drive women away in 2012, unless they decide to bring back witch-hanging. And I wouldn't put it past them." James Wolcott

    by Mayfly on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 07:44:31 AM PDT

  •  ((((((((moviemeister76)))))))) You did not fail. (9+ / 0-)

    Being outnumbered & shouted down by men who are suddenly terrified of you in a way they cannot explain or process emphatically Does Not mean you failed.

    You were honest, courageous, and touched a nerve.  It's true that you did not succeed in getting them to be quiet, listen, and convert in their hearts within minutes, but virtually no one could succeed in so doing.

    Without making this about just the South, what you dealt with is the core of patriarchy, which is stronger in more traditionally structured/conservative communities.  Given the demographics of this university, it doesn't seem irresponsible to speculate that these attitudes are likely to be more prevalent & less challenged in your classmates.  With such a small class size it's actually less surprising that no male stood up in your defense.

    I'm so sorry for how they mistreated you & scared you.  I hope you can find the ability to tell them to ther faces that they bullied you, that they treated in in an unacceptable manner, & that it is their obligation to remain courteous no matter how threatened they feel by your or anyone's ideas.  When multiple men shout down one woman with a disability, the name for them is bullies/cowards.  Even if you don't feel up to telling them that, I hope the understanding of their fear of your words can give you inner strength to remain calm in the face of their terrified defense against your truth.   Be their mom; let 'em yell, remind them of their (Southern) manners, depersonalize the attack, and set 'em straight.

    You might not get all the way there in the next class, but I know you can do it.

    Before elections have their consequences, Activism has consequences for elections.

    by Leftcandid on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 07:45:53 AM PDT

  •  You need to have a serious convo w/ your prof (23+ / 0-)

    First, let me say that I am male and have taught at the collegiate level as an adjunct teacher, Lecturer and teaching assistant.  I have also taught in other  circumstances for more than 14 years, and have been in situations where other students started to attack another student in my class.

    It is the professor/teachers responsibility to create a safe environment for all students.  Whether he agreed with their point or not, the fact that all of the women were eerily silent and the men were very angry means he screwed up and should have halted the discussion immediately.

    He's also showing his own prejudiced behavior, because he did not act as a dispassionate moderator in a circumstance that left many of the students uncomfortable.

    First, I feel you should talk to the other female students to determine how they felt during this verbal attack.  Though you may suspect that they felt similarly, it is important to confirm that is the case. I feel you should then talk to your professor about this situation in private.  For your own protection, do not blame him for what happened, but let him know how you and the other women in the room felt when you were verbally attacked by the other male students.  It is likely he does not even realize what has happened.  

    Do not try to argue whether men can truly understand how women feel about love, b/c he clearly agrees with the male students attitudes.  The biggest problem here is not whether these men disagree with you, but how they used intimidation, intended or not, to silence you and the other women in class.

    Recognize, that many of the male student acted defensively and are only projecting their own inadequacies as men regarding their attitudes about women.

    As a modern male I can comfortably point backwards at men and say they were wrong to treat women in this way, and that I agree with your point of view.  But I am comfortable in my masculinity.  Furthermore, I don''t allow men's behavior in the past define me as man today.  These young men--boys if you will--however, do feel defined by the men of the past and may feel defensive b/c they feel you are attacking men today for the behavior of men in the past.  

    Men also sometimes forget that when they respond strongly and aggressively that they intimidate just on the basis of of size and strength alone, and often do not realize the emotional impact they have on women in these circumstances.

    Regardless of whether their behavior is explainable or not, they were inappropriately aggressive, and the prof, if he really cares about creating a safe environment for discussion, should correct this problem.

    Obviously take action in a way that makes you feel comfortable.  I mostly wanted to express my opinion as a male teacher who knows how such in class behavior can stifle discussion in the future.

    The only thing we have to fear is fear itself - FDR. Obama Nation. -6.13 -6.15

    by ecostar on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 07:50:56 AM PDT

  •  The men might have a different perspective... (9+ / 0-)

    ...if they were asked to honestly--honestly--make an attempt to put themselves in the place of the women who were abused by the men.  

    That is, for the men to actually take the time to imagine that they were that they were being repeatedly abused and dehumanized by a "loved" one.  Imagine that they were trapped in that situation, with no possibility of escape, because if they attempted to leave, they would have nowhere to go.  If they attempted to leave, they would have no money to support themselves for the rest of their lives.  If they had children, they would have to leave them behind, because they could not support the themselves and their children.  

    If they attempted to leave, no one in society outside their home would support them.  They would be ostracized.  The law was on the men's side.  What choice did these women have?  Little to none. They had to stay where they were and do the best they could to survive.

    Then the men in that class could try to imagine how they would feel about their abuser.  Would they pretend to love that person for reasons of self-preservation, and to protect their children?  Would they pretend to love that person in order to lessen the abuse?  Even if they at times felt an emotion akin to love, would that love be inextricably mixed with feelings of hate as well?  

  •  Talk to the professor (18+ / 0-)

    I would talk to the professor during his office hours.  If you are suffering emotional turmoil because of the discussion, and particular if you are being put in this position by men while discussing rape (of any kind, whether of slaves or wives), he needs to be more in tune with what is going on.

    If you can't do it in person, use this diary as a basis for an email to him.  If you know anyone in the Women's Studies department, talk to them (and if you don't, go a couple hours early and wander over there; talk to someone about what is going on).

    The fact is that this setup is bordering on being abusive, and the fact that no women in the class are speaking up is indicative of that.  When you talk to the professor, note to him that while several men were very vocal in defending abuse of women, all the women simply shut down.  All of them!  (It sounds like you did too, mostly, for the rest of the class).  That's a problem he needs to address.  I strongly think you should bring that to his attention before the next class, at whatever level of interaction you can stand.  (This may include meeting with an ombudsman if you feel really nervous about it, or simply face to face or via email if not).

    Minority rights should never be subject to majority vote.

    by lostboyjim on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 08:02:58 AM PDT

  •  please try to schedule an appt with the professor (14+ / 0-)

    try to have a reasonable discussion as to why the class was allowed to degenerate into shouting matches.  

    if the prof isn't receptive, then his department head should be and that's the next step.  

    no one should be bulllied and the nominal "leader of the class" silently participated in the bullying by his silence.  that's frowned on in academic circles, at least it was when i taught seminars at med schools.  

    you didn't lose, you stood up for what you believe.  you're a hero because you didn't back off.  

    i like that in a fellow traveller.

    Republicans ARE cooties!

    by labwitchy on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 08:05:59 AM PDT

  •  I think they might have been scared. (6+ / 0-)

    It is scary to have your world view challenged and the class might be doing that. I am surprised that there were any takers for a class about slavery in the antebellum period.  This means either they needed some hours and nothing else fit into their schedule or they have a genuine curiosity about what they have been spoonfed. What you said was even more personal and leads directly into their very present lives. We are not talking about great grandma here.

    They sound like cornered animals ... that does not make them less dangerous.  Maybe they will grow from this.  Yesterday there was a post about an opinion piece by Frank Bruni in the NY Times that somewhat speaks to this.

    Anyway, you obviously think and analyze well, have the courage of your convictins and have lots to contribute.
    Hang in there.

  •  Why are YOU ashamed? (13+ / 0-)

    THEY are the ones who should be ashamed because they refused to listen.  So should the other women in the class for letting the men run roughshod over you.  

    As for the whole "slaves loved their rapists," ask the professor why he isn't using Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, by Harriett Jacobs in this class.  

    •  OMG Thank you! (5+ / 0-)

      The professor lamented that there were no black people in the class, yet Every. Single. Source. we are reading from was written by white men. That's outrageous!

      Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

      by moviemeister76 on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 11:54:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm sure he's read this book (5+ / 0-)

        Then again, it pretty much explodes his claim about slave women coming to love their rapists, since Harriett Jacobs quite literally spent several years hiding in an attic to avoid her master's "loving" embraces.

        Seriously.  Just very casually ask him if he's planning to have the class read this book.  It's a well known slave narrative so it's not as if it's not relevant.

        And as for slaves loving their masters and's a hard, painful read, but try Thavolia Glymph's Out of the House of Bondage.  It's a searing look at slave women and their mistresses, by a top rank historian at Duke.

        •  The thing that gets me (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JayRaye, LSophia, Angie in WA State

          He has literally been teaching this course almost every spring for forty years. How on earth is he still only using resources written by white people?

          Oh, he is showing the Spike Lee mockumentary about what life would have been like if the South won the Civil War. I guess that's supposed to represent the "black" voice. Ugh.

          Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

          by moviemeister76 on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 02:02:43 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  What? He doesn't even bring in Douglass? (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            JayRaye, moviemeister76, LSophia

            Frederick Douglass's autobiography is a classic.  The hell - ?

            •  Also, in the 30s an oral project was done. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              moviemeister76, LSophia

              The voices of very elderly people remembering slave days. So hard to listen to, could only listen in bits. Forget the name. I'll try to find it.

              These are all first hand accounts.

              If enslaved people simply accepted their captivity, then why all the money, time, and instruments of torture and terror to keep them enslaved?

              Fighting for our freedom while walking on eggshells is hard to do. -JayRaye

              by JayRaye on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 03:23:11 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Biased sometimes, though (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                JayRaye, linkage

                The books we've been reading did use those oral histories, but the problem which was discovered a couple decades ago is that some of those former slaves were actually telling, perhaps, a softer story of what happened. Apparently some of those former slaves believed the WPA interviewers were actually government employees who had control of whether or not those men and women would receive government assistance.

                There was an instance where one woman told a white WPA worker one story, which was fairly kind to her master, and told a black worker a much different perspective, a much harsher perspective of what happened.

                One of the big criticisms this semester has been that Genovese tended to take those interviews, especially when they said good things about white folks, as gospel.

                Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

                by moviemeister76 on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 03:35:20 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  What I'm speaking of is (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  a DVD called: Unchained Memories. Slave narratives read by prominent black actors. Nothing soft about it. Netflix has it.

                  I'm not qualified to comment on Genovese since I never heard about that author before, and probably just as well.

                  Fighting for our freedom while walking on eggshells is hard to do. -JayRaye

                  by JayRaye on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 03:45:49 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  A question for your prof: (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    moviemeister76, LucyandByron

                    If slavery was such a benevolent institution, then why the need for all the torture and terror and

                                      Slave Punishments

                    Fighting for our freedom while walking on eggshells is hard to do. -JayRaye

                    by JayRaye on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 04:37:17 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  lol That was my main criticism (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:

                      In fact, I was so upset because in Genovese's book, he uses a journal entry that detailed an example of what happened to slaves who tried to stop their masters from beating another slave. It was incredibly detailed, horrific and actually traumatic for me just to read it in its coldness. Genovese left out those details and put that part into his own words: "they were killed." He completely cut out the details which are seared into my memory. The entire book is like that.

                      Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

                      by moviemeister76 on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 04:59:57 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  This professor isn't the only one who's upset (3+ / 0-)

                      A favorite book of mine is a fantasy set in a world where one country has slaves and the rest don't.  One of the characters from a non-slaving holding country is kidnapped and sold, and the punishments he undergoes for trying to escape and find his lover are awful, but fairly mild in comparison to what American slaves underwent...

                      And a reader on slammed the book for making the slavery too graphic even though the author toned things down!

                      All too many Americans simply do not want to admit that slavery took place, that it was a terrible thing, and that we are still shaped by it, even today.  

                      •  And yet... (0+ / 0-)

                        They want to read books like "Game of Thrones" which features a freaking rape society, but when you try and point it out, they argue it's totally acceptable because that was reality back then. That and dragons, of course.

                        Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

                        by moviemeister76 on Wed Mar 28, 2012 at 09:18:07 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

            •  Not at all (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              linkage, Ellid

              No autobiographies. Nothing but books written by white southern men. I cannot believe it didn't dawn on me until today what exactly that meant.

              Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

              by moviemeister76 on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 03:31:05 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  A few points if I may (7+ / 0-)

    I would ask in the next class if those young men would love someone who beat them, raped them and emotionally abused them?  Love in marriage or as a prerequisite to marriage is mostly a 20th century idea.  Marriages were arrangements, contracts rather than for love especially for the upper classes.  It was mostly about preserving wealth and making sure that a daughter was not left in poverty or that a man who did not have enough wealthy would be supplemented by his wife's family's money.  Married women were totally dependent on their husbands for support.  They lost the right to their own property once married.  They would not have custody of their children in a divorce.  Divorce was difficult if not impossible even discounting the social stigma.  If they wanted to leave an abusive relationship, there was no where to go.  

    Finally, it sound like a set up from the professor.  He had an agenda which was not based on historical fact and did not enable a true exchange of ideas.  Even if you were wrong (which you were not), that was not a safe free exchange of ideas.  It was a shouting match of a gang against one.  Not fair, pointless and not conducive to learning.  Jut sayin'.

  •  {{{{{moviemeister76}}}}} (7+ / 0-)

    I will bet that your display of courage and tenacity stirred some deep waters, and most if not all of your classmates had unbidden dreams. Good for you.

    And I wonder if some of the shame you feel is not your own, but is split-off shame from your female classmates and the professor, for their cowardice.

    Be good to yourself -- take time for a thorough psychic cleansing, and be proud of yourself.

  •  Obviously they learned nothing (7+ / 0-)

    As a young white male, I believe that the answer to the questions that you asked is obvious and you were completely in the right.

    Who can truly believe that women and slave women in particular could ever have a loving relationship with men who raped, abused, and took advantage of their precarious position?

    Are your male classmates actually arguing that an abusive relationship can be a loving one?

    Who could those women turn to if they objected? The authorities would certainly not side with them. There was little hope of fighting back.

    Infatuation and desire are not the same thing as love, and are not the basis of a relationship.

    Did the men who wanted to marry their slaves leave the decision up to the slave? Somehow I doubt it. Fighting to marry your sex object is not noble in any way, and is probably closer to the real truth of the situation than the altered history your professor and the males in your class want to sell.

    Anyone who believes otherwise is only fooling themselves.

    Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please. Mark Twain

    by deviant24x on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 08:43:04 AM PDT

  •  I have read all the comments... (15+ / 0-)

    ...and there is a lot of wisdom here to add to your own.  I would quibble, however, with any characterization of this as solely a Southern (or even strictly conservative) "thing."  My daughter attended a small liberal arts college in Ohio and suffered similar events in her classes (although never with the silent acceptance of the prof).  I remember numerous calls from her, crying in rage at the bullying tactics of too many of the men and dismay at the silence of her female classmates.  But I see the responses as clear evidence of unexamined privilege and patriarchy, rather than specific to any geographical or political failing.

    My daughter's approach to the bullying was multi-pronged, and on the one or two occasions where the prof was slow to step in, she demanded his/her intervention.  If ganging up and shouting was not corrected immediately, she turned to the prof and asked, "How can we have a respectful conversation and even disagreement if my responses are being drowned out through sheer volume and intimidation tactics?"

    She also learned to avoid qualifiers in presenting her viewpoint.  Women have a tendency to say things like, "In my opinion..." or "In my experience..." or "You may not agree, but..."  She realized quickly that while that may be useful in interpersonal communication, it did nothing but diminish her argument (and her) in the eyes of the boys; it was viewed as an apology for being a woman with an opinion.

    The silence of the women in your class tracks with what my daughter experienced.  She learned that she had to go into class expecting to be unsupported; boys are not the only ones who have not examined their privilege or recognized patriarchy.  Some women would pull her aside after class to thank her for saying what they were thinking, but for the most part, my daughter knew that she would never be voted "most popular"!

    Finally, she learned to choose her battles.  Although she could have debated on an almost daily basis, she knew that the after-effects of anger sapped her so much that she had to pick and choose.  Taking this approach also punctured any attempts to characterize her as "emotional"...when that was tried, she could readily point out that if she was just about emotion, there had been numerous other times when she could have had an "outburst."

  •  The quintessential point is that women then (11+ / 0-)

    stayed with their husbands because they had to. Women were chattel and had few if any rights. Today, women stay with their husbands because they want to. The idea that women can choose their relationships is still a new and frightening concept to many men.

    If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never has and never will be. Thomas Jefferson

    by JDWolverton on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 08:53:39 AM PDT

  •  If you conflate Stockholm Syndrome with love (10+ / 0-)

    then yes, those women loved their husbands.

    But really, what do you expect? You told those men that they were the product of 10 generations of loveless marriages enforced by a brutally patriarchal society.

    Now it may be that not all Southern men in any particular time and place acted as badly as the book read by the professor describes. That is, in fact, likely, given that any large population will show significant variations. So of course those men will believe that their daddy / granddaddy / great-granddaddy were each one of the noble few who were different.

    I'm sorry you got shouted down. I'm sorry the professor didn't calm the situation. I'm especially sorry that none of the other women took your side.

    I'm not at all surprised.

    In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice; but in practice, there always is a difference. - Yogi Berra En théorie, il n'y a aucune différence entre théorie et pratique, mais en pratique, il y a toujours une différence. - Yogi Berra

    by blue aardvark on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 08:55:17 AM PDT

  •  I haven't read all the comments.... (11+ / 0-)

    ... but I would not say that you were silenced because you didn't make a convincing argument. Rather, you were silenced because the men couldn't stand to hear an argument that so fully challenged their assumptions about men and women. They didn't even give you a chance.

    I am struggling with your sense of shame. Perhaps it comes up because of your history of abuse? This situation was in a different way yet another experience of being told that your point of view is irrelevant -- that the discussion, like having sex, is their choice and they can use their power to get what they want even over your objections.

    I would be pissed, as a college  professor, to hear that another professor proclaimed as truth the broad overgeneralization that these women must have loved their husbands. What evidence is there of that? What choice did they have, besides remaining in their marriage? The only reason you were reading about these women in the first place (if I understand your summary of the book correctly) is that they petitioned for divorces and the courts ruled that they did not have any grounds. I think your professor, especially, was out of line.

  •  I am a gay, disabled Vietnam veteran (12+ / 0-)

    and I honor you for your service.  You are my sister for many reasons.

    During my service in the USAF, the late '60's & the '70's, there was a mandated "Race Relations" training for all Airmen and women, everyone from General to Airman Basic wa required to attend.  If I recall correctly, it was lengthy - a week or two, and it was a product of the times - the years when the Civil Rights movement came to fruition and society felt the impact of that in many ways.  President Truman had ordered full integration of the US military in the '50's but the ranks had some racists who were causing issues for the whole military system.  The training worked.  I saw southern and northern racists being forced to face their racism and change or leave the Air Force.  This was a zero tolerance thing.  The training was great.  Racial tensions were lessened in the US military.

    A similar training program was recently used to deal with prejudice and bigotry against gays and their integration into the USAF.  My understanding is the training has been a complete success.

    Please know that I have struggled over the years with many of the same types of bigots and haters you are dealing with now.  You are a strong and intelligent person and I have great respect for you.  Be safe.

    •  Thank you for your wonderful view point (4+ / 0-)

      It's weird because I grew up a military brat, and went to 19 schools, some of them civilian. I experienced such an amazing multi-cultural experience because of this and learned to expect that my voice would be respected just like everyone else. Living in the South, which I actually did not do for the first two decades of my life, has been extremely interesting. I came down here because of the Army, but that experience was completely different than what it has been like since.

      As you wrote, the Army often faces up to the fact that different groups might not like each other, and tries to fix it through exposure. I was surrounded by white and black folks who worked and played together fairly freely. There were still racists, of course, but it was so different from what I experience at this university, which is incredibly de facto segregated.

      I find it amazing that you made it through the hell of Vietnam and are still fighting on.

      Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

      by moviemeister76 on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 12:04:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  You were not entirely silenced (9+ / 0-)

    You were heard by the women, and the men who didn't participate in the bullying behavior.

    Some things need to be said, even if they're shouted down.  Some of those women or men who were silent may avoid an abusive relationship because of what you said.

    Heck, even some of those jerks might someday go home, think about what you said, and behave better to the women in their life.

    You can't always know the ripples you create and the kind of stand you made is very powerful, even when you appear to "lose" on the surface.

    Indeed, a lot of people can't be swayed by a "won" logical argument.  That conservative guy didn't learn a thing from all the times your professor cut up his arguments.

    Some of those people though, can be won over by a show of moral force.    Imagine what that scene looked like to the people observing, not the people shouting.

    Five men, including the local authority figure, your professor, ganging up on a brave woman and shouting her into silence, interrupting her whenever she tried to speak.   Hell...they practically proved your point with their actions.

    I sympathize with the fact that you wish you could have weathered the storm, found the words and expressed it better, turned their arguments on their head and broken through.   We all have moments like that in our lives.   In the end though, you were brave enough to speak up, strong enough to make your basic point and stood up long enough to likely make at least the silent observers think.

    Perhaps not a flawless victory, but certainly not the kind of defeat, say, being one of the silent people would have been.

    Keep speaking up.  People need to hear this stuff.  Nothing changes without people being shaken out of their little bubbles of assumption.

  •  I have so many thoughts about this (8+ / 0-)

    First of all, the fastest way to anger someone is to falsely accuse them of something. But the second fastest is to silence them, to shout them down, to deny them the chance to speak. It essentially denies your humanity, your personhood, your right to even have an opinion. It comes from a fundamental place of disrespect, which is completely different from mere disagreement.

    Anyone with a pulse, male or female, will have the same kind of reaction you did to that. (I had something similar happen once, long ago. I'm a guy. I cried.)

    Second, I think you were pretty much dead on right about everything, and the reason they shouted you down was because the only other option was to face truths that they just can't handle. They had to shout you down. You say you're surprised that not a single one of them realized what was going on, but how could they realize anything when they were so busy shouting and trying with all their might not to think about what you were saying? Realizing requires mental quietude and reflection.

    Third, you say you feel bad because you should have won the argument. Should have won? You cannot win an argument against someone who is shouting until they're blue in the face. It doesn't matter if you had the right of it, if you had facts, logic, and reason on your side. They weren't using fact, logic, or reason, they were using lungs. You cannot win a rigged game.

    A few small asides. Don't neglect the possibility that the silent women behind you might secretly agree with you, in whole or in part. Or that, even if they don't today, they may think twice about it at some later date. Now, this might sound crazy, but don't even neglect the possibility the men might think twice about it, someday.

    I know that right now they are so condescending and disrespectful it may seem ludicrous. But they won't soon forget what was said. Who can say what the seed you planted will grow into?

    Finally, this impulse to fix it. Well, men/Mars, women/Venus, and all that. But if you'll bear with me for a little personal story: When I was in sixth grade, a teacher decided to set up a debate in class. It was about a lawsuit. Some kids took one side, some the other. This one girl and I ended up being the main speakers for each point. It was kind of a "12 Angry Men" situation. I had most of the kids on my side at first.

    Gradually, she won them all over to her side. It was me against the whole class. But they started just shouting me down. Every time I would even start to open my mouth. And the whole time, the teacher just sat on the edge of her desk, swinging her legs. While they shouted me down, and told me I was not just wrong, but mean and bad and cruel and unfair. At the end of the class, the teacher told us that the court had found the same way I was arguing, and sent us on our way without a word. She never reproached the kids who were shouting at me. Never even tried to make them let me have a say.

    All my classmates, all my friends, shouting at me telling me I was wrong and mean. My peers saying I was a bad person. I felt lower than an ant's belly. And guess what? It still pisses me off now when I think about it. What the hell was wrong with her? She sat there calmly watching while her sixth-grade classroom turned into Lord of the Flies. (Sorry, I got a bit carried away.)

    So no chance of fixing anything, even if that was what was wanted. I still feel crappy about it over three decades later. I just virtually never think of it any more. And in my case it was about something rather trivial.

    But remember this. The problem was them. They were behaving badly, not you. It was their inability to come to grips with what you were telling them. To engage with it intellectually. It was them refusing to carry on a calm, rational discussion. It was their beastly behavior.

    It won't make you feel any better, but it might keep you from making yourself feel any worse.

    It isn't what we don't know that gives us trouble, it's what we know that ain't so. — Will Rogers

    by dconrad on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 09:27:20 AM PDT

    •  What that teacher did was horrible! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JayRaye, FourthOfJulyAsburyPark

      You did not get carried away. When you are in that situation, that is exactly what it feels like. Sure the teacher may have trying to make a point, but to let you suffer that abuse. Oh my God. I completely understand how you felt.

      I spent all of seventh grade being made fun of by pretty much everyone in the school I went to, and at one point, it was in gym class and the entire class sneered at me and moved away from me en masse. And the teacher stood there and did nothing. This happened more than two decades ago, but I still think about it sometimes. Peer criticism like that can be very powerful.

      Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

      by moviemeister76 on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 12:12:44 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I haven't read the comments yet, (4+ / 0-)

    so if I am responding as someone else has, my apologies.

    Beyond the brutal conversation with the men in the class and your professor, why is it that in any meeting with men who are bent on controlling a conversation, there is always one woman willing to stand her ground while the other women stand back and become weak-kneed to help?   I've seen this happen in many situations, especially in a work situation at staff meetings.  Then the women all gather in a bathroom or elsewhere to discuss how great it was that the one woman was fighting for the rest of them, or they don't dare talk about it at all.  It infuriates me.  I've often been in the situation where I was the lone voice for women, and later got back pats when what I needed was their support in the meeting OR the other women pretended the situation didn't happen at all.  

    Women need to stand up for each other when they understand in their core that they are right.  Allowing one woman to fight alone without support and lose an important argument to men only reinforces why women lose their power.  Every. Single. Time.

    Yeah, the women anger me as much as the men.  They crumble when they are needed most, when they need to establish that their voice must be heard.  Why is that?

    I appreciate this diary because I know many women have been "put in their place" like you were with the men in your class.  It sucks.  

    I would rather spend my life searching for truth than live a single day within the comfort of a lie. ~ John Victor Ramses

    by KayCeSF on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 09:35:28 AM PDT

    •  This is why patriarchy is so insidious... (5+ / 0-)

      The socialization of women to be nurturers and conciliators, even to the point of subservience, is rarely recognized, even though it shapes the interactions between women and women, as well as men and women.

      This is one of the reason I don't buy into the whole Mars/Venus construct; it's too often used as a "nice" way to keep women in their [appropriate] place [in a patriarchal system].

      •  Can't agree more, DoReMI (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        DoReMI, moviemeister76, JayRaye

        I wonder how we turn this around, when so many women still fight "with their men" against feminism?  And other women who know in their soul they have the right to speak up, still don't when the opportunity arises?  Or the Michelle Bachmanns who use their voice to argue for the men.  I don't get it.

        More reason to teach our daughters to use their voice to fight for their rights!  That's a college course all women [and men] need to take.  We had many courses like this in the 60s and 70s at universities and even then there were few taking them.  It's disconcerting, to say the least.

        I would rather spend my life searching for truth than live a single day within the comfort of a lie. ~ John Victor Ramses

        by KayCeSF on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 12:03:22 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  So very true (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      KayCeSF, DoReMI, JayRaye, schnecke21, LSophia

      I get the feeling a lot of female students just don't want to fight today because they feel like it doesn't actually affect their life outside the classroom so they would rather just keep their head down. We are fighting centuries worth of instinct.

      Women, for centuries, had no choice but to endure quietly. The thing is, by staying silent, they are setting an example for all those male students. Those same male students who will go on and get a job, and likely become the boss to women like them. So, in the end, it actually does affect women outside the classroom. A lot of women just don't realize that.

      Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

      by moviemeister76 on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 12:16:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I imagine I'm going to be flamed for this comment (4+ / 0-)

        but, I have observed that the women who won't speak up are also the very women who become mothers of sons who allow them to bully on the playground, then in middle school and on into high school, and on and on it goes.  "Boys will be boys."  

        I would rather spend my life searching for truth than live a single day within the comfort of a lie. ~ John Victor Ramses

        by KayCeSF on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 12:25:27 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  By and large... (4+ / 0-)

          ...women ask for permission to be respected; men demand respect.  Until we get to the point where the common understanding is that respect is earned and not a result of the configuration of ones chromosomes, this fight will continue.

          Although the War on Women infuriates and frightens me, in one way, at least, I welcome it.  I see this as a way to enlighten and educate a whole generation of young people who may have thought all the battles were done, the war was won, and feminism was much ado about nothing.

        •  The men standing silent don't help either (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          moviemeister76, home solar, KayCeSF

          One reason "rape culture" exists is the men who don't engage in the bad behaviors don't smack down the men who do.

          Women should not have to fight this battle by themselves.

          There were a couple other guys in the room.  They were quiet too.   Hopefully it was because they were listening and thinking, not because they agreed with the bullies.

          But it probably would have taken only one speaking up saying "Hey, let her speak!" to back them down.

          She shouldn't need a male ally, but that  doesn't mean in that situation it might not have helped.

        •  Sorry if it's off topic, but, similarly, (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          moviemeister76, KayCeSF

          I've noticed that men who are suspicious of their daughters boyfriends often don't treat women well.

          A gross generalization to be sure, but I've seen it a few times and it makes me wonder.

          •  Property (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            FourthOfJulyAsburyPark, KayCeSF

            We are fighting against centuries of ingrained cultural norms which said that the daughter and the wife represented the moral purity of the household, not to mention the fact that their supposed weakness and the way they were forced to depend on men validated the husband's and father's masculinity. This is why fathers don't often care as much about whether or not their sons are promiscuous. It is no reflection on them.

            One of my professors told me that where he comes from, in the Middle East, before the mid-19th century, men often referred to their wives as "house." There are still southern men around, we call them "old-fashioned," who refer to their wives by their last name. Of course, they say it is a sign of respect, since they start it off with "Mrs.," but the whole point is that the name is the man's. Southern women accommodated by pushing culture into believing it was a sign of respect, especially since slaves referred to them as "Missus," but it was not intended to be respectful from the get go. Property

            Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

            by moviemeister76 on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 11:53:34 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Is it men v. women or (0+ / 0-)

      any oppressed group vs. the oppressors?

      Maybe some people—for whatever reason—are the George McFlys of the world.

      Q. Why is Obama like a stalagmite?
      A. One is always in a cave and the other always caves in.

      by Simolean on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 12:39:36 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Like a lot of people here, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I've been in this situation myself.

      The women who are silent, I suspect, are happy the anger isn't being turned on them.

  •  In 2003 a college classmate (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JayRaye, moviemeister76

    thought that Frederick Douglass (sp?) was only trying to write his autobiography, not convince folks that slavery was bad/should be abolished. And the classmate was planning to be a teacher.

    People with hatred in their hearts never live up to their full potential. It's very sad.

    by Nelsons on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 09:43:31 AM PDT

  •  Women love differently from men. (4+ / 0-)

    I don't think a woman really loves a man who is abusive or who has raped her...not by her definition. Society was so different...that men probably felt that sex was what a woman wanted....cultural bias, religious bias(original sin), and sexual bias all dictated that the man was supreme. Marriages were arranged and women had no status, their money was not their own and decisions had to be made by the male of the family... which is why "Little Women" as a book was often criticized...the women in the family were too "strong" and independent....
    We still must deal with these biases.... ie. Rush L. and his rant about women "wanting sex" all the time! Sheesh.
    Very disturbing but indicative of a bias that will never, truly, be resolved. It just proves to me that men who think this way are products of a cultural/religious indoctrination that they have bought in to and. as a result have to/ must believe that they are superior and that women "want" them just because they are men.
    Sounds like it could have been an interesting class.

    Character is what you are in the dark. Emilio Lizardo in Buckaroo Bonzai

    by Temmoku on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 09:47:07 AM PDT

    •  This is key (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JayRaye, Temmoku

      The more I think about it, the more this seems obvious to me. Women love differently from men. How could we have possibly agreed on the subject of love, especially when its tied to abuse?

      Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

      by moviemeister76 on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 02:40:28 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  crying is a sign of weakness BS (4+ / 0-)

    Your Diary and the above comments are amazing and insightful.

    I would like to add that "crying is a sign of weakness" is another old tool for discrimination. Women easily cry = infantile or manipulative behavior. Crying is a healthy reaction. Better than reacting with aggressive behavior imo.

    It took me 30+ years to be able to cry in front of someone else. I have learned to recognize that it is a human reaction and NOT a feminine weakness.

    Contrary to how I used to feel about it, I find that is a blessing that during certain times in my hormonal cycle I'm more emotional. Otherwise, since I normally avoid conflict, I would rarely express how I feel until it is a huge problem. I now embrace the times that I feel an "overly emotional reaction". I tell those around me that they are in for it now because they picked the wrong time of month the to cross me and they are going to see/hear my usually repressed feelings about the situation. It has been soooooo liberating. Also, helpful in that it defuses problems when they are in the infant stage rather than allowing it to build into in a irreparable one.

    HUGS for you during this challenging moment. I stand strong behind you.

  •  Wow. These guys are delusional. (5+ / 0-)

    And probably will never change.

    But you should be proud of yourself rather than ashamed!

    I am proud of you because you spoke up, knowing there would be negative feedback. You explained and held to your beliefs all through this course. That is very admirable. It took a lot of courage, and no one could fault you for not tearing into them, especially since the teacher did not tame them nor stand up for your right to be heard without these invectives!

    That was very bad on the professor's part.

    I'm just so amazed by the things you have said here and what it reveals about current attitudes by young people. I think that your comments must have really rocked their worlds and that is an important step in their becoming enlightened, if they ever are.

    Never knew that some southern men were like that with their wives. I wonder how prevalent such brutality was? Probably no way to know, but was it common? Judging from the reaction by the guys I suppose it must be something they knew about before the class.

    You are a good writer and I hope to read more diaries. I have also suffered from fibro, though it is much better now. As I read this I was worried about you because stress is a huge trigger. Great that you have a caring and understanding husband to share all this with, that must help a lot. Keep up the great writing and speaking up, but don't do so to endanger your health or well-being. You can fight in other forums if need be.

    "extreme concentration of income is incompatible with real democracy.... the truth is that the whole nature of our society is at stake." Paul Krugman

    by Gorette on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 10:06:38 AM PDT

  •  I love your diary but I do think you are (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    saluda, cris0000, moviemeister76

    slightly wrong. :-)

    I am very sorry for how you were treated which is inexcusable.

    I think you are wrong to flatly say that none of them could love.  But I think your criticism of the original author is spot on.  I suspect you are right that most of them did not and that the author's reasoning was extraordinarily weak.  Love isn't only love when it's healthy.

    •  I actually respect this (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I am willing to admit that folks can disagree with what love is, within limits. It's an emotion. I also think men and women view love differently a lot of times.

      Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

      by moviemeister76 on Wed Mar 28, 2012 at 06:14:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Anyone in an "unfree" environment (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JayRaye, moviemeister76, schnecke21

    ..where the power differential is terribly imbalanced, or there is the implicit threat of violence or imposed suffering if the person doesn't comply, makes attachments formed very complicated, and have many layers of conflict and pain. But they are real attachments.

    I don't know if I'm qualified to say what "real" love is.

    Do abused children love their parents? I think oftentimes they do, but it's because children need to love.  I think we all need to love, and I don't think people in an unfree environment should be shamed for "loving" in what context they can. But as you say, for it to be a healed love, there must be a power balance and justice and reconciliation in the relationship, and it must be free of violence. That means a social reckoning and a personal one.

    Bless you for writing this, and for standing up for your truth. The reason you did not "win" that argument is because there is still a massive power imbalance between men and women.

    If you can find money to kill people, you can find money to help people. --Tony Benn

    by rhetoricus on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 10:53:24 AM PDT

    •  A "healed love" (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rhetoricus, JayRaye

      That comes very close to what my husband said last night. We talked about abuse, and he said the only way a healthy love could be in a relationship after abuse is if the man deliberately evened out the power dynamic by deliberately giving up some of his power, and they both healed together. Since that was highly unlikely due to social and cultural norms, it was highly unlikely those abused women loved their men in a healthy manner.

      Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

      by moviemeister76 on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 01:19:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Right.. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        moviemeister76, JayRaye

        ..the dynamic prevented it from being a healthy love in most cases, though obviously it was not the fault of those who did the loving. In that era, the power imbalance was very exaggerated, but there are still systemic power imbalances that make heterosexual love complicated. Hence the political decision of (otherwise straight) radical-lesbians to love only women.

        If you can find money to kill people, you can find money to help people. --Tony Benn

        by rhetoricus on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 01:54:47 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Uses & abuses of the bell curve. (3+ / 0-)

    Uses: everything plots on a bell curve--what the statisticians call the "normal distribution." This means that if the question is, "Did raped slaves and subjugated wives love the men who abused them?", the answer is not "yes," nor is the answer "no." The answer is, "Some of them did and some of them didn't, and love isn't a yes-no on-off phenomenon, it's a continuum." Or a bell curve. That still leaves unanswered the question of what point on the love-apathy-hate scale lines up with the middle of the bell curve, where most of the abused women fell.

    I'm guessing most of the abused women loved their abusers little or none, or hated them significantly.

    Abuses: The fact that some small % of statistical-outlier abused women probably did love their abusers does not mean that most of them did; it doesn't justify or excuse the abuse; it's not important. The white men in your class are in denial about this, and are trying to snooker you and themselves into confusing statistical outliers with the main phenomenon. Don't fall into their trap. There will always be some nuts who behave in unexpected, nonsensical ways; don't let their existence be waved around as proof of the norm.

    OTOH, there are also people who are perceived as nuts who actually may be more advanced than the rest of us. MLK, Gandhi, and Jesus stressed loving your oppressor and your enemy, and stressed that such unconditional love is redemptive for both people involved. Here's a story about a mother who forgave the man who killed her son, and how that forgiveness has made life better for her, as well as for him:

    I am not saying that abuse should be accepted, by anyone. Abuse is never justified and should not be excused. But the line between enabling doormat and knowing saint is a fine one, and rarely visible to outsiders.

    Coming back to your class: "When abused, women should be suffering saints" is what your classmates are saying. And anyone who can't draw a better lesson than that from history isn't giving it a good-faith effort.

    "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

    by HeyMikey on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 11:02:56 AM PDT

  •  Not about love - it's about power. What Digby said (4+ / 0-)

    These men were all defending their right to have power over women, to consign them to inferior status. Love has nothing to do with it. It's an 'entitlement' and they'll fight for it just as their ancestors fought to maintain slavery.

    Digby had an excellent post about this the other day.

    Update: Elias Isquith riffed on the same article today and makes this important observation:
    [T]here was one quote in particular in the piece that caught my eye. It reminded me of Corey Robin’s oft-repeated claim that conservatism has historically been about power struggles in the private rather than public sphere, and it’s opposition to the loss of dominion in the former rather than the latter that truly animates — defines, even — the Anglo-American Right. Check out how one of the two songstresses above describes Santorum’s manifest superiority:

    When the Harris sisters’ song, “Game On,” got wide attention on the Internet this month, it made them minor celebrities in conservative circles. People sing along to the words, “We’ve finally got a man who will stand for what is right.”

    “If he can run his household, he can run the country. Amen!” Haley Harris, 18, told the Mandeville crowd.

    Robin wrote about John Adams' famous exchange with his wife, who asked that he "remember the ladies":

    He leavened his response with playful banter—he prayed that George Washington would shield him from the “despotism of the petticoat” Adams was clearly rattled by this appearance of democracy in the private sphere. In a letter to James Sullivan, he worried that the Revolution would “confound and destroy all distinctions,” unleashing throughout society a spirit of insubordination so intense that all order would be dissolved. “There will be no end of it.” No matter how democratic the state, it was imperative that society remain a federation of private dominions, where husbands ruled over wives, masters governed apprentices, and each “should know his place and be made to keep it.”

    This is where the religious fundamentalist and the ideological conservative make their common cause.

    I think if you read the whole thing, it will give you more enlightenment about what's happening in your class on this.

    "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

    by xaxnar on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 11:09:08 AM PDT

  •  I wouldn't be surprised to learn (5+ / 0-)

    that some of these young men treat their girlfriends much the same way--date rape is very common.  In attacking the notion that  wives can be raped, you  put them on the defensive, and that makes a lot of people very angry, because it means they shouldn't behave that way and know that deep down but don't want to face it.  

    When I was in college and grad school, I was frequently the only woman who'd dare to take on the guys--and my schools were int he NE. I'd gone to girls schools from 7th grade on, which meant i never learned not to argue with men, such a common notion in the 60s.  Needless to say, I wasn't popular and didn't date a lot.

    You were right to be angry and you told them unpleasant truths they didn't want to hear. I suspect those wives who weren't married off by their parents for financial reasons, were in love when they married. But love cannot survive in a situation in which the woman is treated like dirt or a sex toy to be used. That was a very common problem in England and America in the 19th century (not everywhere--anyone who reads the letters between John and Abigail Adams knows this couple had a deep-rooted love that grew out of mutual respect and  desire) because women in ENgland couldn't divorce even if he gave them syphilis--and if they did divorce over his adultery, he got the kids. Many women stayed for that reason. Women couldn't own property in their own names till nearly mid century in England, so their husbands had all the power. SOem women, liek right-wing Christian women today, a cepted this as just the way things were, the role God assigned women, and didn't fight but submitted.Other women, often better-educated women and more stubborn,   grew to hate their society and their husbands.

    For info on what one Southern woman felt, get hold f the diary of Mary Chesnut. Her hsuband was a Carolina pol who worked with Jefferson Davis. SHe was highly educated, despised most poorly educated Southern women who were more concerned about their looks than books , and hated the pretense and hypocrisy. SHe had a section in which she rants about the women who speculate about the father of "little yellow yard children"--her term, not mine--while pretending not to notice the ones int heir own yards.  She points out that slavery allowed men free access to to slave woman who had no choice but to do what they were told, which made men adulterers with their wives as willing participants in pretending it wasn't happening. SHe had the insight to realize that rape of slaves was harmful to all women, slaves as rape victims and white women as participants int he sordid cover-up, and damaged marriages.

    There's also a bio of Verena Davis, Jefferson's wife, a brilliant, well-educated woman (a rarity in the SOuth where women were taught enough to runt he plantation in husband's absence, but concentrated on feminine talents like painting china and embroidery) whose husband amrried her for her brilliance and then proceeded to turn her into a Stepford WIfe. after hsi death, she moved to NYC and earned her living as  columnist for a newspaper!

    The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

    by irishwitch on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 11:11:16 AM PDT

    •  We've actually read excerpts (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JayRaye, linkage

      Chesnut's words have been in every single reading we've done this week, including the one about the slave children. Yet, because she is handled as exceptional in the resources, and this is echoed by the professor, I think the students do not take her diary as encompassing the experiences and thoughts of a lot of Southern women.

      And I had never heard that about Davis's wife! Holy cow!

      Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

      by moviemeister76 on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 01:27:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I know about the book because (2+ / 0-)

        I heard the women speak about it on CSPAN on one of their bookchat programs. I wonder if my library has it--we are in the South, after all, and anything Southern or  Christian, they buy.  She made Davis sound much more interesting than the usual novels I'd read about her (Mom LOVED the Civil War and GWTW, odd for a Conn. Yankee--I think she liekd the aprts of Scarlett  that were Irish--the caring for the land and the need to care even for family members you don't like --rather than the SOuthern Belle bitchiness) when I was very young.

        I read Chesnut's dairy excerpts for a script I wrote for an independent study for my M.S. in TV/Radio. I had reincarnation storyline in which the heroine in a pst life had been murdered by her  confederate husband after she ran away with  a Yankee reporter based on Frederick Law Olmstead.   She had loved  him in the beginning (she was educated like Chesnut, her parents' only child)  and he used her to spy on other rich  men  and flirt with them and on at lest one occasion sleep with them to further his ambitions. By the time her part of the back story opens, she pretty much loathes him, and they only have a sexyual bond left--and when she meets a man who actually admires her brain--she runs away, My prof wante dme to turn into Zelda FItzgerald because he thought sexy crazy women wer einteresting. I preferred a woman with a brain and a soul over crazy. I got a B for te script instead of an A--of course, he'd been making not-too-subtle passes and I had been trying to keep him away so.....

        The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

        by irishwitch on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 08:57:15 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Ewwww (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Men like that are just sick. So are women. I know there are female profs who do that.

          I so agree about your ideal woman. I always prefer a woman who is smart. Always. Your script sounds cool.

          I find it scary that women think GWTW is so romantic. Scarlet O'Hara was a moron and cruel. She went through the film hurting everyone deliberately just because she was spoiled. And the way it completely whitewashes the Civil War is just foul.

          Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

          by moviemeister76 on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 11:29:38 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  FINALLY! Oh I thought she was a twit! (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            But the women in my family would gush over that dumb ass movie.

            •  OMG I know!!! (0+ / 0-)

              My mom refused to watch it when I was growing up because she felt it was insipid, so I never even saw it until I was about 30. I can't imagine any female over about 15 loving it, as that is about how old she acts through the entire thing.

              The only thing I can think of is that the women love Rhett, who actually wasn't as bad, especially compared to her.

              Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

              by moviemeister76 on Wed Mar 28, 2012 at 06:27:26 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Well, Mom was born (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            in 1923 so it's generational.

            Actually, Scarlett did some of her nastiest things--like marrying Frank Kennedy, her sister's beau--because she desperately needed the money.  after she married him, she set out  to get his store actually making a profit so she could support her family. I can understand that--Suellen is a whiny, horrid brat --but she is just awful in the way she uses men (though the men aren't too bright if they can't see through her act;). I have a niece who is Scarlett Reborn, without the sense of responsibility for caring for family, and she has always had men chasing her. I gotta wonder if Southern men are just brainwashed or actually dim-witted.

            At least Scarlett did take care of Suellen and Melanie, her only redeeming characteristic. ANd that devotion to the land is very Irish. When you've lived ina  country where you're a second class citizen and not allowed to own land ( there were laws in Ireland against Catholics owning property), you desperately want a piece of land of her own. Her father Gerald passed that onto her.

            The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

            by irishwitch on Wed Mar 28, 2012 at 01:00:55 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  The land thing I actually get (0+ / 0-)

              On both sides of my family, there was land in the family for generations, but it's all gone now.

              I have noticed that many Southern men, the white men at least, seem to go for women who are submissive out in public, but domineering in the home.

              Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

              by moviemeister76 on Wed Mar 28, 2012 at 03:15:31 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  My niece is just a B****. (0+ / 0-)

                She married a guy who's known her since she was 15, and has let her push him around.  But then she pushes everyone around--think Scarlett with the other women at the barbeque.  She's just mean.  

                The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

                by irishwitch on Wed Mar 28, 2012 at 06:14:29 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

  •  Multi-layered diary! (4+ / 0-)

    And a very good one.

    I dread considering the girlfriends of those guys in your class.  Are they also suffering from the same form of Helsinki Syndrome those Antebellum wives were, I wonder?

    But, as a male, I agree with you.  Not that that means much, but ... there it is.

    I am not religious, and did NOT say I enjoyed sects.

    by trumpeter on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 11:21:22 AM PDT

  •  Not just the South. Colorado and Midwestern states (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    moviemeister76, JayRaye

    … had laws against miscegenation too. Cousin of high school classmate of mine (Chinese-American) and African-American partner had to drive from Colorado all the way to Illinois to find a state where they could marry legally.

    The Dutch kids' chorus Kinderen voor Kinderen wishes all the world's children freedom from hunger, ignorance, and war.

    by lotlizard on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 11:25:59 AM PDT

  •  As many have said, (5+ / 0-)

    ...don't let them get away with flipping the script. In that situation, they were the weak, and you were the strong. That, to me, was why they tried so very hard to make you feel like you were the weak and they were the strong.

    It is of course very natural to feel an aversion to future conflict. It was natural to feel fear and anger, and to feel an aversion to the conflict even while you were in it. But you did it anyway, and that's what makes you the stronger.

    Denial of truth is weakness. Shouting down an uncomfortable truth is weakness. Your prof not putting a stop to a wrong he had the power to stop was weakness.

    The object was to silence you, humiliate you, make you cry, and call it weakness. Horseshit. You did the hard thing, the right thing, and that is strength. You had the power, there, which again is why they tried so hard to make you think that they did. Again, horseshit. Scared boys attacking you instead of facing their fear. Weak, little "men" too afraid to face a truth that made them feel bad.

    Strong, strong, woman who withstood their abuse and told it like it was. You rock.

    The problem with going with your gut as opposed to your head is that the former is so often full of shit. - Randy Chestnut

    by lotusmaglite on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 11:27:01 AM PDT

    •  Wow thank you (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lotusmaglite, JayRaye

      Reading comments this afternoon has really restored my faith in humanity.

      Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

      by moviemeister76 on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 01:30:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  why is the search for insight (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      ... and thats what university is about - why is that now suddenly a question of weak and strong, of ruling and being ruled?

      •  I reject the characterization (3+ / 0-)

        It's not "suddenly about" weak and strong. Those are just elements in the overall picture. In this case, it takes strength of character for MM76 to do what she did. Many people, right or wrong, couldn't have.

        It took an incredible weakness of character for those boys to try to browbeat her into submission and even more for her professor to not only stand by and let it happen when he could have stopped it, but also endorse it.

        There is much more to it, but I wanted to specifically address the part that concerned me: that MM76 was made to feel afraid, and in fearing, perhaps doubt her own strength in returning to that class with her head held high and/or specifically addressing the prof who acted badly.

        The problem with going with your gut as opposed to your head is that the former is so often full of shit. - Randy Chestnut

        by lotusmaglite on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 02:18:36 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Times are a changin' (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I think that, in some aspects, university has been like that since the late 1960s, when more women and other minorities began to be allowed in universities. Up until that decade in history, the best universities had primarily been designated "ruling class only." This is centuries of historical and cultural norms that were tossed aside in a single decade. It's only natural that a power struggle would begin.

        After all, these minorities and women started not only demanding that their histories be told, they started researching and telling their histories on their own. This is why professor Edward Said was able to publish his book Orientalism back in 1971. The power had shifted, and suddenly, other people started pointing out that the dominant view of, not just history, but everything was not necessarily accurate. That creates these power dichotomies that get played out in nearly every college class across the country in some form or another.

        Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

        by moviemeister76 on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 02:50:44 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  The legal status of married woman (2+ / 0-)

    was "femme covert".  Meaning the woman was property, and had no other status outside the connection with a male. Sure, a man may love his car, but no one ever thinks to ask if the car returns the feelings. We know it can not, but the owner will assert vehemently that it does.

    I know my analogy only goes so far, but i am a car chick and could not resist. Obviously woman are not cars, no matter who might prefer it.

    "I transcend your puny categorization. ~Ben Masel"

    by kjoftherock on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 11:33:42 AM PDT

  •  the other women (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    moviemeister76, JayRaye

    I am very disappointed that the other women in your class remained silent. In my opinion, they took the easy way out. I bet they are ashamed that they didn't speak up to support you. My daughter-in-law is Native American and the only female in one of her environmental classes. She has to fight these types of battles all the time. The men do not treat her with respect. She has to demand their respect. Please don't let these men intimidate you again. They can't presume to know what women think.

  •  History class? (3+ / 0-)

    "He (the professor) then asked, could these women have loved their husbands despite this horrific treatment?"

    Maybe a peek at the professor's preferences in porn would shed some light on his question about abuse and "love." Just kidding (kind of).

    The sexual undertones of male dominance displayed by the professor and the male students is disturbing. How many of these guys went home horny after class...

    Apologies for the cynicism, but, at least from the description of the class discussion, there was way too much testosterone floating around that classroom.

  •  What's love got to do with it? (6+ / 0-)

    At that time, marriage was a professionfor most women.  As the men were raised to do something to earn money, the women were raised to make the best (financial) marriage possible.  Love didn't necessarily figure into the arrangement at all.  Arrangement is a key word here, since many marriages were arranged by the families of these women.

    It wasn't unknown at the time for a woman to marry for love (whether she later regretted her choice is a different story), but it was necessary for a woman to marry well, sometimes not just to ensure her own financial stability, but that of her family as well.

    It sounds like the people in your class didn't even understand that love wasn't necessarily a part of marriage in those days anyway, and to think that a woman who didn't marry for love in the first place could be treated so poorly and yet love her husband is ridiculous.

  •  I hate those (4+ / 0-)

    condescending attitudes.

    For many men---condescending translates as a form of "care-taking" and they believe that that's  their role as men.

    Poor things: women.

    They just can't think for themselves: let men do it for them.

    And when they think the way men want them to think--when they feel the way men want them to feel--which is always an ego boost for men---then they are being "reasonable."

    Not so "emotional"--and "difficult" to "deal" with.

    Slave-owners got to feel good about themselves by seeing themselves the same exact way.

    Condescending--insulting---pretentious----and egotistical---and there's a lot of denial going on---as well.

    "Power is a fleeting thing. One day your souls will be required of you." Bishop Peter Storey---Central Methodist Mission, Johannesburg, June 1981

    by lyvwyr101 on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 12:09:14 PM PDT

  •  Although... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JayRaye, moviemeister76

    It suddenly occurs to me  to wonder, to what extent EVERYONE's life sucked back then? While I think most of us would expect their suffering to be nowhere near what the rest of their contemporaries experienced, maybe there were some ways in which they had it pretty bad too (at least compared to today.)  Maybe your professor's next class will be to talk about the challenges white guys faced, and it will be your turn to feel like "this doesn't matter."

    •  Ha! (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JayRaye, linkage, home solar

      That reminds me. I made the statement that slavery emasculated the white slaveowners because the slaves, as well as white wives, often resisted in a very passive manner, and the slaveowners knew it!. There are diaries full of white men complaining about the fact that they couldn't control their slaves or, sometimes, their wives and children. When their wives and slaves accepted their hypocrisy, they acted like a mirror which reflected that hypocrisy back at them. The diaries show that many slaveowners felt the anxiety as a result of this. That is why they had such hair trigger tempers with each other. Honor became a big freaking deal among white men in the South, and duels were serious. It was their way to reclaim their masculinity.

      My professor's eyes got huge when I said that.

      Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

      by moviemeister76 on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 01:35:42 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  This was a very interesting diary. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    moviemeister76, JayRaye

    I've been in this situation many times myself. I've always felt that there was something wrong with me that I find it so upsetting. I'm glad to know I'm not the only one.

    •  Shame is a tough thing to get over (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Thinking about it today, the reason we all feel like there is something wrong with us when we get so upset is because everyone else acts like it was no big deal. That is an incredibly powerful form of social control. Because, surely, if what they did was bad, someone would have stopped it or commented on it. Right?

      And thank you for your kind words. :)

      Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

      by moviemeister76 on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 02:10:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  shrug (0+ / 0-)

    well, you should have expected some disagreement.

    You advanced the radical-feminist point of view that a relationship is only at all possible between peers; at least peers in power.

    Basically, you declare all love before the success of the Women's rights movement non-existent and/or abusive.

    Which, to me, seems ... daring. To put i politely.

    Women have, to some degree or another, been chattel of men for millennia.  And now you tell the world that all the love that occured back then was - what? Unworthy? Nonexistant? False?

    If you can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen. Controversial thesis will be met with controversial debate.

    •  There is a huge difference (0+ / 0-)

      There is a major difference between debate and someone ganging up on one person. I have no problem debating one person at a time. But when they all talk at once, that is different. Then it's a mob. And they clearly were not interested in debate, otherwise they would have answered the professor's question of just what love is.

      Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

      by moviemeister76 on Wed Mar 28, 2012 at 07:01:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  And now you know better. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JayRaye, moviemeister76, home solar

    The next time some man wants to tell you how women feel or love, talk to him about the idea that there was very little of what we would consider real love pre-pill.

    Until women were free from the slavery of unplanned childbirth, free to support ourselves, free to leave, how could any relationship be based on what we consider true love, a love based on mutual respect and equal opportunity to make our way in the world? As long as the relationship is based on inequality and contains the threat of loss of financial support, let alone physical and/or mental abuse, how can that be love?

    But how can these young men know better? They don't have to go back as far as great-great-great-great grandparents to have lived with inequality between the sexes. How were they raised? How do they treat the women they are involved with?

  •  I have experienced similar conversations (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    moviemeister76, JayRaye, home solar

    In college. You are not alone.

    The silent women behind you are freaked out. The men yelling at you are freaked out.

    These are the truly difficult life lessons, your younger or more sheltered classmates have yet to learn.

    They don't know what it is like to have to submit for survival at first, and then submit to stay within the family unit so you can see your children.

    The only women who are really going to understand this at all, are survivors of domestic abuse or those who witnessed it directly in the household.

    Your diary is very moving and well worded. I cannot wait to see what great things you will accomplish with your amazing voice.

    I hope you find a way to live around or let go of that shame. You cannot be ashamed for other's failings.  You not only survived, but by this diary, it appears you are spinning gold from dross.

    •  Thank you so much for your comment (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      linkage, WakeUpNeo

      Writing this diary was not only cathartic, it and the many wonderful comments have really opened my eyes to some issues I had not thought about concerning the more subtle issues at play in classrooms as well as how warped a person's point of view can get when given access to one kind of source. I can't believe it didn't occur to me today that every single source we are reading in this class is written by a southern white man. How can that still be possible in 2012?

      Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

      by moviemeister76 on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 03:04:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That's easy, you are witnessing the dying (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        thrashings of Southern Male Culture.

        That is what is driving the baggers, and all the other insanity with the GOP, that is what is inflamming the War on Women.

        It's a backlash as well against anything that is not White, Male, or Christian.

        Sorry to say , but there it is.

        It's like watching the re-animated corpse of Strom Thurmond tear his way through a UU Church congregation.

        BRAINS! More BRAINS!

  •  MovieM: (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JayRaye, moviemeister76

    I have to ask if this 'Science and Engineering-centric' state university would be NC State University?

    We have no desire to offend you -- unless you are a twit!

    by ScrewySquirrel on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 02:19:53 PM PDT

  •  "I failed" (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    moviemeister76, JayRaye, WakeUpNeo

    I hope that is the last time you ever type those words.

    I hope that next week before your class that there are one or two female classmates who approach you with "You were right" comments.

    I hope that the professor has laid a trap for the young conservative men in the class.

    I hope the professor has set them up for a mighty fall.

    I hope that you take advantage of the situation to allow those who spoke too loudly or didn't speak at all to see the error of their ways.

    I hope you have a good day.

    I hope I don't hope too much.

    "The first duty of a revolutionist is to get away with it.". Abbie Hoffman

    by Joes Steven on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 02:29:03 PM PDT

  •  oh, sweetheart, I wish I could have been with you! (3+ / 0-)

    I am so sorry I was not the professor of that class, who could have tried to restore the equilibrium of that horrible few minutes and talked it out with you without having to "solve" it.  I am so sorry that this is still happening.  Today.  Now.  More than 40 years after it began to happen to me in Alabama and Georgia, after narrowly escaping 2 rape attempts in Atlanta that I could not possibly have prosecuted; raised in the deep South of the 1950s, inculcated with attitudes against blacks and women that made me ill and finally made me leave the South for good.  Thank you for writing about the experience with so much care and insight.  Thank you for exposing yourself to the DKommunity in order to share what happened and to teach us what it is like.  Oh, child, how I wish I could have been there, too!  Take care of yourself and hold on to what you know to be right.

    •  From the bottom of my heart... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Thank you. To know that I am not alone. To know that there are women and even (perhaps especially) men out there that get it has meant more to me than anything today.

      Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

      by moviemeister76 on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 03:07:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  My dear, those tears were tears of rage, not (6+ / 0-)

    shame.  You did not let anyone down. You fought well and long and the men, including the teacher, are ashamed of their side, believe me.

    In the olden days we had a button and a car sticker that read "Real Men Support Women's Rights!"

    So far the men in your story are little boys throwing tantrums.  They cannot count themselves men until they understand and support women's rights.  

    BTW, your husband sounds like a real man. Good.

  •  Very powerful (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    moviemeister76, home solar

    ... and so is your re-telling in your diary.
    Just a suggestion, but when the class is over and your grade has been assigned, please consider printing out this diary *and* the comment section and handing it to your passive-aggressive professor, who allowed you to be verbally assaulted and personally attacked in his classroom.

    "Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction." - Blaise Pascal (1623-1662), Pensées, #894.

    by maf1029 on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 03:17:22 PM PDT

  •  Not much comfort, I'm afraid, but (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    moviemeister76, linkage

    until Americans, especially American males, come to terms with their heritage -- genocide of Native Americans and the practice of slavery -- they (we) will collectively suffer low self-esteem and the axiomatic ego-based and ego-driven behavior in extreme resulting therefrom.  (This is a prime reason behind America's on-going love afair with "John Wayne behavior"... the fact that John Wayne was nothing more than an actor who ONLY PORTRAYED (so-called) strong heroic men notwithstanding...)  Racism is at root nothing more than the ego's need to believe one's superiority over another.  Mysogeny is the same thing.

    Re: definitions: Self-esteem is not ego.  Self-esteem is the polar opposite of ego.  Low self-esteem results in large ego.  High self-esteem results in humility, and relatively non-problematic ego driven behavior.

    Americans suffer from collective psycho-neurotic guilt.  Southern men are especially prone to this syndrome, but by no means do they have a monopoly on it.  All American men are affected.  Protesters who say "I wasn't there" are in denial.  It's your (and my) heritage -- own it.

    There is voluminous proof of the foregoing, but one of the most telling and simplest examples is this: In 1959, the U.S. Senate would not pass a federal law outlawing lynching.

    America needs to make amends, including REPARATIONS, to American Indians and Afro-Americans.
     Until that happens, American "John Wayne" idolatry and all down-ticket behaviors, including continued worship of hard-line political conservatism and libertarianism and all the other "he-man"-based dysfunction, will continue.

    I for one am not holding my breath.

    Thanks for a wonderful diary, btw.

    Kick apart the structures - Seth

    by ceebee7 on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 03:27:28 PM PDT

    •  Oops -- s/b "affair" and "misogyny" (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Kick apart the structures - Seth

      by ceebee7 on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 03:32:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Oh man this is hard (0+ / 0-)

      I grew up loving John Wayne films because my dad always watched them on the weekends. I still fondly remember most of them, though I can no longer watch a couple of his films because of how absolutely demeaning they are to women. I do remember my mom kind of complaining about some of them when I was growing up, but I did not understand until I was an adult how demeaning it is for a man to throw his wife over his lap and spank her. Publicly.

      What you say about him makes sense. He is comforting in a way to both white men and white women, both because of his size and because of the fact that he was shown to easily command control, while being "kind" to those Indians and sometimes even women. In his movies, everyone is A-OK, except that evil bad guy who gets his in the end. Yet his movies completely distort history and reality. No one ever actually questions his authority or his view of reality. Life just doesn't work that way. Man, no wonder our country is so screwed up.

      Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

      by moviemeister76 on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 04:19:42 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Wayne successfullly avoided service in WWII (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      unlike most of his fellow actors.  Yes, he was too old to be drafted, but others in his age group enlisted.  All hat, no cattle.

  •  In 1702 my 7x great grandmother was enslaved (8+ / 0-)

    at the age of 16 by an English trading ship that had stopped off at Ireland. This was far from unprecedented--tens of thousands of Irish had been sent to Barbados as slaves in the preceding century. She was sold to my 7x great grandfather (then in his mid to late 40s) for two hogsheads of tobacco. He had that because he was the owner of a Maryland tobacco plantation named "Brotherly Love", making him the only known slaveowner in my tree. Looking back across the centuries, that scared young Irish girl has every bit of my sympathy. I've got none left to spare for him.

    My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right.
    --Carl Schurz, remarks in the Senate, February 29, 1872

    by leftist vegetarian patriot on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 03:46:33 PM PDT

  •  These kids have apparently never thought about (3+ / 0-)

    the fact that women in the antebellum South had no property rights apart from what their husbands allowed them.  Read this book, The Great Divorce: A Nineteenth-Century Mother's Extraordinary Fight against Her Husband, the Shakers, and Her Times [Paperback] for an informative look at what property rights were allowed to women in the North during the early Republic.  It should be mandatory reading in every history class in the country.  These kids are very familiar of the standard Conservative Republican style of argumentative discourse; stand, make yourself large and hostile, and attempt to shout down your weaker opponent and grind them into the dust.  They act just like antebellum slave masters who had absolute dominion over their households.

    And it feels like I'm livin'in the wasteland of the free ~ Iris DeMent, 1996

    by MrJersey on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 04:09:26 PM PDT

  •  I could have written this post (2+ / 0-)

    there are so many times living in the South when a situation like this has happened.

    Rather than fight on their terms, I usually revert to using persuasive sarcasm and humor to make my points. If they are laughing, it feels less threatening and hopefully they can understand my points without hostility towards me.

    But I realize that much of my identity and the way I conduct myself in public, is completely based around protecting myself. I learned at a young age to not trust men, not because they don't deserve trust, but because so often it is just dangerous to extend that trust.

    Have I ever been physically threatened, yeah more than a few times. But worse is the attacks on my point of view. I have to sacrifice my beliefs and emotions and feeling everyday. Why? Will I die if I don't? No, but I will face consequences and punishment for not behaving in just such a way. It isn't about the actually threat but the fear. Just as all the women were silent behind you, it isn't because they disagree but because they would rather not challenge the professor and males who have "decided" how women feel. They have learned that standing up for themselves is a good way to garner more attention and attacks.

    I will do anything, say anything to avoid confrontation. I use to be a very confident person, but the older I get, the more powerless I feel to protect my own interests.

    I have always felt I should not have to live like this. But I will lie and evade pointed/heated discussion if I feel there is no benefit and only risk.

    Talk about a conductive learning environment rolls eyes

    We have now sunk to a depth at which restatement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men. George Orwell

    by Fracturedchaos on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 04:48:50 PM PDT

    •  :( (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      linkage, home solar

      I could not have understood you before last night, I think. Having your point of view attacked by a group of people is, as you implied, the ultimate abuse. It is a denial of your very being.

      And the consequences. I honestly never realized that I was feeling the consequences of what I was doing every day until last night. I assumed there was something wrong with me. Some days, it is just a relief to get through a class and not have a single male student silently mock me or snort at what I say. That kind of social control has severe effects, both psychologically and physiologically.

      Have you heard about microaggression? It's a field of study that pretty much lays out what the actual result of a lifetime of consequences does to minorities and women. It is extremely ugly.

      Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

      by moviemeister76 on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 05:15:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  From one history major to another, well written. (3+ / 0-)

    You did the right thing by standing up for what you believed in. If anyone should be ashamed, it should be the other women in the class who agree with you but are too afraid to say so.

    As this sounds like an upper level seminar course there is no reason why the rest of the class remained silent. People can get away with these things only because too many are afraid to  speak their mind.

    You demonstrated courage while those men exposed themselves as cowards. When they immediately raised their voices at you, they lost. Your professor, IMO, should have recognized the situation and intervened by calling for decorum.

    Kudos to you.

    BTW, if you don't mind, which university are you attending? We live in Winston-Salem, so hello from here :)

    A Victory Garden documents our experience transitioning from suburban lawn to edible food forest based on permaculture principles.

    by FinchJ on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 06:00:02 PM PDT

    •  Thank you kindly (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FinchJ, home solar, LSophia

      I attend NC State. Really conservative folks here, both men and women. I love hearing that Santorum complains about kids going to college and getting brainwashed. I would say a huge portion of NC State does not believe global warming is an issue. And we are a science university! I've had professors tell me all sorts of weird stuff about women. Had one poli sci professor try and explain the benefits of clitoridectomy in class. That one even shocked the males.

      I have had several humanities professors chastise me for even complaining how ridiculously ignorant they let the students remain, and told me that if I had wanted a more enriching experience, I should have gone to one of those expensive private colleges.

      As for the silence, sigh. It is one of the defining features of history classes here, almost all of them, which is really depressing. So far, I have had one professor who seems to be really good at getting students to talk, but even he had one class a couple of years ago I ended up dropping after a month and a half because I was literally the only person to talk most of the time. And it was a 3-hour class. He told me privately, though, that it was the worst class he ever taught in over 15 years.

      Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

      by moviemeister76 on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 06:10:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Tell you what, that sounds just like my (5+ / 0-)

        experience at USF.

        I left NC for my home state of FL one week after high school graduation. I had FL prepaid, so I would pay instate tuition. I chose USF because of Tampa- but I regretted it after a couple of years.

        Absolutely silent classes. Just like high school. Loud mouthed conservatives relying upon anachronistic feelings rather than grounding their arguments with factual information. Somehow, students who could not write found their way to our senior seminar courses. One of them turned in a five page rough draft that was, and this is not a joke, a series of direct citations in quotes strung together with conjunctions.

        My family had saved thousands for us to go to college. What I got was remedial high school for two years and almost higher level education the last two. Literally tens of thousands of students and their families are being robbed every year in this country. Absolutely shameful that our higher education system has largely been turned into a diploma mill for middle management. The humanities are a shell of their former selves- as planned. TPTB want nothing more than the destruction of our subject. They did, after all, declare it dead...

        Thats not to say that my time was entirely wasted at USF. I became who I am today because of those four years. The propaganda we are taught in public schools was torn away for good. I met my first real friends there, students and faculty alike.

        You are not alone in your struggle against mediocrity. There is still plenty of learning to be done, but it is hard when your one of only a handful of students who dare to grapple with reality.

        Now you have me sorely missing my college days (and they weren't long ago mind you!). Nothing like a half dozen source materials spread in front of you for days at a time, tweaking essays until they were just right... ah. Enjoy the time that you have left, despite the shortcomings of our system!

        A Victory Garden documents our experience transitioning from suburban lawn to edible food forest based on permaculture principles.

        by FinchJ on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 06:47:48 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Ha! Oh the stories I could tell (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          FinchJ, home solar, LSophia

          After my first semester here, I deliberately started refusing to participate when it came time for group paper critiquing. These people don't know how to write anything. It's sad.

          Even worse, they often don't even understand things like irony and sarcasm. I wrote a paper in my English class about how chocolate was my best friend for the assignment of who was our best friend, and the student who reviewed it just stared blankly at me afterwards and asked why I chose something like chocolate. And this was a female!!!

          Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

          by moviemeister76 on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 07:36:46 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Pardon my sad hearted laugh... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            moviemeister76, LSophia

            A great chance to share a light moment ruined (when  Family Guy can actually be funny).

            One of the worst parts about it all is that after four years and tens of thousands of dollars, we turn out graduates who think the rest of the world is just as dysfunctional as we are!

            Anyway, thanks for sharing all this. I have to pick up mulch for our garden in the morning. Which reminds me, if you want to meet one awesome professor at NC State, look this guy up. Professor Hooker over in ag. He teaches permaculture. I was hoping to study with him, but my decision not to take bio and chem while working on my history degree while at USF made NC State decline my application.

            A Victory Garden documents our experience transitioning from suburban lawn to edible food forest based on permaculture principles.

            by FinchJ on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 07:52:26 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  I find this very sad... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        moviemeister76, home solar

        Your history classroom experiences sound deadening:

        As for the silence, sigh. It is one of the defining features of history classes here, almost all of them, which is really depressing. So far, I have had one professor who seems to be really good at getting students to talk, but even he had one class a couple of years ago I ended up dropping after a month and a half because I was literally the only person to talk most of the time
        I wish I could bring you to my campus for a week (or semester, or year) to see how great a history class can be. I'm teaching a seminar this semester with nine students; we are reading one monograph each week, so over a dozen books and twice that many articles on 20th c. US history this semester. Every single student participates in class each day; it is expected, part of the grade, and routine since it's also part of our culture.

        Even in our larger classes (most 25 or smaller) faculty seldom lecture more than 25-30% of the class period. The rest is dedicated to discussion in small groups, working with documents, holding debates, large group discussions, and other activities. A good history classroom comes alive and engages everyone (ideally; of course there are always a couple of people who didn't do the reading).

        Gender, sexual orientation, race, religion, politics, and pretty much every other controversial topic you can list are at the core of my classes. I've taught lesbian novels to freshmen, histories of abortion and birth control to upperclassmen (did I mention we're Catholic?), and critiques of war to veterans. In every case I've expected my students to remain respectful, argue from evidence (rather than from personal experience or emotion), and to act as historians in the classroom. Happily 95% of them do, all the time.

        I don't write this to boast, but to assure you that not all schools are like yours, not all history classrooms are like yours, and that there are lots of great places to study history with other passionate, excited, intelligent students. Should you someday choose to go on in the field, that's who will be waiting for you in a real graduate program somewhere.

        "Take it easy-- but take it!" --Woody Guthrie

        by Mr Green Jeans on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 07:10:37 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  OMG Dream school! n/t (0+ / 0-)

          Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

          by moviemeister76 on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 07:33:08 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Not really... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            Truth be told, ours is just a fairly typical liberal arts college. Much like dozens (or hundreds) of others around the country. But I had similar experiences in many classes I taught at a university with almost 40,000 students when I was in grad school. It was a public university with a top-ten history department, granted, but also had good teachers and students that (mostly) wanted to be in the classroom. I've even seen faculty run discussions in classes of 400+ that were every bit as good as the ones I do with 25.

            My sister-in-law did a BA and MA in history at what most people think of as a fairly marginal public university (known as a party school) on the west coast. Her experiences were much more like those I describe than yours. So it really can be a matter of where you end up.

            I feel your frustration and rage at the incidents you describe, and sympathize. But I'm also quite saddened to hear that someone with your obvious passion for history isn't able to explore it under better academic circumstances.  Some of the other comments here also made me realize just how good I have it (as a professor) in my current setting, and how much work we (as a profession) really have to do if we're to expect a basic level of quality across all of academe.

            "Take it easy-- but take it!" --Woody Guthrie

            by Mr Green Jeans on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 07:45:17 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Many professors love me (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Mr Green Jeans

              And I don't say that to brag, because I am often embarrassed by it and find it weird. Some of the praise they heap on me in emails is so profuse it makes me uncomfortable. But I bring it up because I think it shows that humanities professors down here seem to be very desperate for students to care.

              Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

              by moviemeister76 on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 08:03:18 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  I am shocked. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        But then I attended college in the late 70's.  I went to a state school - the University of Michigan.  Trust me, my classes, I have a B.A. in History, bore no resemblance to what you are describing.  Thank God.  There are state schools that are rigorous and worth the money.  Apparently, they are not in the south.  Of course the quality of public school education in the last thirty years has declined by design from the right.  So there is only so much a university can do with the students they enroll.  This is frightening.

  •  No shame (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    moviemeister76, LSophia

    You have nothing to be ashamed of.  You are an intelligent woman who spoke her mind and her truth.  The shame should run to the four men who tried to abuse and intimidate you.  That is what men like that try to do to us.

    I am in my 60s now and was one of the early feminists in the 70s.  I volunteered a few hours every evening after work in NOW Headquarters answering calls and helping women who needed referrals to doctors, lawyers and other sources of help.

    It was in an old furniture store which had glass windows running around the wall which NOW had been forced to board up because men who did not agree with our right to help ourselves and speak our had initially thrown rocks and other projectiles through the windows wherever they saw a woman sitting.  

    I realized their true opinion of women though when the president of my chapter cautioned me never to let in a man when I was there alone.  There was a mail slot they could write comments on.  She also told me that they liked to come and urinate on the doors.  She felt about then that it was the most sophisticated dialogue they were capable of.  I was always very careful to get paper towels to unlock and put them between my hands and the door when I left.  It was a unique experience, but then so is a head injury and I wasn't enthusiastic about that either.

    Sorry for the long comment.  I think you were right.  Abuse and violence invites fear and never produces love or trust.  Slaves were treated as chattels just like furniture.  The men in your class should try and contemplate getting true love from a sofa if they think that causing pain to someone you own or owning human beings forms deep and lasting bonds.  

    Please remember, more people than you realize have your back.  We have been there.  We have seen it and heard it.  The only thing I took away from the urine on the door was pity and contempt for those who left it there.  I wonder if men like that are ever capable of learning that there are people in the world who are smarter than they are?

    •  Oh My God (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Thank you so much. It is because of women like you that women like me are better off than our mothers and grandmothers. Yes, there are still problems, but I can't even imagine going through something so overtly vile.

      Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

      by moviemeister76 on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 07:28:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  As a history professor... (4+ / 0-)

    I am sorry you were put through this. It sounds like your professor is either burned out or simply lost control of his class. Among the very basic things faculty should know is to never put a student in a position of having to represent or defend a class of historical actors. You don't ask a black male to represent "blackness" in class, you don't ask a woman to represent "the woman's perspective," you don't single out a GLBT student to "tell us what gay people think about this" etc. And if a student does volunteer such a position, you gently remind her/him that s/he cannot possibly represent an historical class in any meaningful way.

    Instead, you steer the discussion to argument from evidence. Talk about the sources. What does the evidence support? If a student is pushing a line of reasoning that is not supported by the evidence, that line fails.

    You also, of course, never allow one student to talk over or past another. This is especially true in a seminar setting like you're describing. That level of disrespect for a classmate would probably get you thrown out of a classroom on my campus. It would certainly be cause for me to interrupt, remind people of their assumed commitment to academic decorum, and to push them to support their claims with evidence.

    I've not lived or taught in the South, nor in an institution that is terribly conservative, so I can't say how I'd respond to this incident. I'd like to hope, though, if something like it started to occur in my classroom I'd quickly shut it down and steer the discussion to what historians really do: argue from evidence or shut the hell up.  I fear your professor has done the entire class a grave disservice by allowing both this behavior and what appear to be ahistorical claims stand unchallenged in the classroom.

    "Take it easy-- but take it!" --Woody Guthrie

    by Mr Green Jeans on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 06:54:44 PM PDT

    •  Exactly! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I much prefer to argue with evidence, but the professor was the one who started this philosophical evidence. Last week, when it was respectful, we kept our arguments to Genovese's work, and just tore his argument down. This week, the professor himself introduced a completely new side, something which we had not read about at all, and then asked what we thought.

      Interestingly enough, you are making the main argument my husband made last night. He said that this was a history class, not a philosophy, psychology or sociology class. In fact, he made the same argument against Genovese's book, that he was making psychological arguments for which he was not trained to make. None of us are trained enough to have a rational, academic discussion about that by the shear fact it is not our field.

      In that situation, all it can be is an emotional discussion.

      Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

      by moviemeister76 on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 07:43:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I have to post this before I read any comments (3+ / 0-)

    You did fine and there is not one damn thing wrong about being emotional. I rally want to scram BEING EMOTIONAL DOES NOT MEAN WE ARE WEAK. We can be dead serious and very rational while crying. Screw them and I bet you threatened their pretty little perfect world.

  •  In 1972 Feminists kept men out of their meetings (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    moviemeister76, LSophia, GreenMother

    MovieM, just to prevent what happened to you. Don't feel ashamed of yourself; just realize you were outnumbered and at a disadvantage.

    Writing this diary was one of the best things you could have done.

    Conservation is green energy

    by peggy on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 07:16:12 PM PDT

    •  Ya know, I used to frown on that (0+ / 0-)

      I totally get why they did that now. If I had to go through this on a regular basis, I would likely quit. I don't know how the women before me managed to get through life.

      Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

      by moviemeister76 on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 10:44:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  They lost the argument (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    moviemeister76, LSophia

    as soon as they raised their voices.  By making their point through intimidation, they resorted to the very same tactics that their ancestors used to control their world. It probably got worse as they became aware of it.

    I realized a couple of hours ago that I am not really angry about this. I am ashamed. I was put into a situation where I should have won the argument, but I failed because I am a woman.
    •  Ha! This was my husband's favorite comment (0+ / 0-)

      Thank you. My husband is actually not a big fan of this site anymore, though mainly out of deep, deep residual disappointment from 2004. He's never recovered from that. But he actually sat down and read my diary and skimmed through the comments. He pointed to yours and said that your point was the main takeaway.

      It is an interesting perspective. Anxiety-fueled behavior is usually fairly easy to notice if you know what to look for, but the idea that they may have realized it while it was going on and that fact would have made it worse is something I never would have considered.

      Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

      by moviemeister76 on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 10:43:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I applaud you for sharing this (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    QDMacaw, moviemeister76, LSophia

    There's nothing I can say that hasn't been already said.
    I found your diary difficult to read because it's "close to home". I know exactly what you experienced, and personally I've reached the point where I don't voice my opinion anymore. I hate myself for it because it feels like every time I sit in silence I let them win. I feel that I can't spend so much energy on people who aren't interested in being convinced. These kind of people never change their opinion until something drastic happens in their personal lives. That's what it takes, not having empathy or even a distanced view of what another human could live through.

    It's emotionally exhausting to have to CONVINCE these folks that women are people too. It kills me, because at the core, that's what it's about: the concept that women are people too.

    I spend a lot of time wondering how to take on these folks. I admire your strength and the fearless way you expressed yourself. It makes me want to do the same.

    •  My husband asked me why I shared so much (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LSophia, bellyofthesun

      A lot of stuff I shared is stuff I don't often talk about because it is so difficult to deal with, but it makes up who I am, and how I view other people. I do not believe I could have conveyed why what happened to me was so incredibly painful without explaining as much as I did.

      We are all very complex people, and when it comes to power dynamics, those of us on the weaker end are profoundly affected every time it is rubbed in our face. It is exhausting, and we are often left questioning ourselves more than the people putting us down.

      Here's what I believe: the very fact that you can even say that you are giving up points to the fact that you have, indeed, voiced your opinion in the past. I don't believe in the idea that as women, we all have a responsibility to fight every day of our lives. We all have our threshold. Sometimes I feel like I am reaching mine. I do not regret what I did, but as you very well know, there are always consequences.

      Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

      by moviemeister76 on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 08:29:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thank You - N/T (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    moviemeister76, LSophia

    "Upward, not Northward" - Flatland, by EA Abbott

    by linkage on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 08:03:08 PM PDT

  •  Oh my God. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    moviemeister76, LSophia

    No, you did not let women down.  Thank you for this diary.  They heard you, and believed you, and that is why they had to shout you down.

    Let us all shout louder, with our lives and example.  For instance, the wonderful husband you chose, who is a walking refutation to all that those men are in this instance.

    ♥ Medicare For All. ♥
    "Our health care system is like a casino. The insurance industry is the House... The House always wins." -- UnaSpenser

    by Chi on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 08:31:49 PM PDT

  •  Thanks for sharing! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    moviemeister76, LSophia, GreenMother

    I don't mean to make any comparisons to your story.  It reminded me of something, though.  In 8th grade history class, our teacher asked, 'How many of you support passage of the Equal Rights Amendment for women?'

    I was the only person who raised their hand in a large class.  It seemed obvious to me.  Of course, women should have equal rights and responsibilities as men and those rights should be guaranteed by the constitution.  The debate did not go well for me.  I was shocked by two things. One, the guys got viscerally angry at me, and two, the silence of my female classmates.  My teacher didn't take sides during the debate.  After class, he pulled me aside, and said, "You're smart, and with a mind like yours, you should go to law school."  For a quiet, odd kid, like myself, it was one of the best compliments that I ever got.  ERA still hasn't passed, but, recently there have been efforts to revive it.

    Thanks again for your story.  It had meaning for a lot of people and was a good reminder for me.

    •  Isn't it weird how it always seems obvious? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I mean, sometimes I find it so very odd that some ideas which seem completely obvious to so many women are viewed as the scourge of our times by so many men.

      And, yeah, the blanket silence of women is always deafening. That they would not even participate speaks volumes. I do wish the professor had at least directly asked those women rather than just allowing them to remain silent, but at the same time, they almost can't. If they are staying silent out of fear, the last thing you want to do is put them on the spot.

      An amusing side note: Isn't it funny how (white) men suddenly care about equal rights for women when women finally step up and demand them? After all, the main argument, and of course underlying fear, is that it gives us more rights than women by the fact that it sets us apart. As if we are not already apart.

      Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

      by moviemeister76 on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 09:40:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  You did not fail (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    moviemeister76, LSophia

    and have nothing to be ashamed about.

    I'm surprised you didn't resort to yelling yourself, at the time.

    I've been there, being shouted down by a bunch of men who are CERTAIN that they know better than me, or any woman, for that matter. The subject at issue, for these guys, is never important. Only that they are RIGHT, by god.

    21st century America, unfortunately, still looks a lot like 18th century America, when it comes to how women and men look at the world.


    * * *
    I like paying taxes...with them, I buy Civilization
    -- SCOTUS Justice O.W. Holmes Jr.
    * * *
    "A Better World is Possible"
    -- #Occupy

    by Angie in WA State on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 08:53:34 PM PDT

  •  In the feminist internet-sphere, there is (5+ / 0-)

    a term for what those guys did to you in class:


    You were, of course, right. Your fellow female classmates are probably too young to have the confidence to confront verbally violent men like that. Can you blame them? Look at what those guys -- (and the teacher!) -- put you through.

    With everything that's been going on lately, I'm convinced that there's a vicious war against women and feminism in the U.S. This may turn out to be the issue of the 2012 election.

    •  OMG Never heard of that (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      What an appropriate word.

      After what I experienced, which seemed to encapsulate everything I've seen played out in the media in the past three months, I completely agree. This issue is pretty big. I mean, I haven't cried about gender discrimination in over a freaking decade. It shows how scared and anxious these men are.

      Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

      by moviemeister76 on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 09:56:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  MM, thank you for your good work... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I just want to "second" all the supportive comments made here and add on...

    ... that I, too, have fibromyalgia and knowing that you suffer from that and found the strength to do what you did only adds to the power of your actions.  You remind me of myself, just the way you write and think and reacted/acted in class.... don't let any tendencies towards perfectionism (if you feel you have that...) slow you down!  You did GREAT!!!!  

    It is all about healing.  The past is being healed in the present, and the future is, too (although, in a deeper sense, it is all happening in the multidimensional-present-moment). You are a healer.  Don't underestimate the power of what you are doing.  You are exposing so much.  I believe trauma is passed down generationally in invisible/energetic ways that we don't understand and can't see clearly.  But, healing occurs in ways we can't see or understand either.  So it will look messy and you won't see the results, perhaps, but trust that it is happening.  

    Good luck and keep us updated!

    •  Thank you so much (0+ / 0-)

      It is so rare that I come across someone who actually understand fibromyalgia, let alone has it.

      You will understand when I say that going to this class every week is exhausting enough as it is because I have to sit in an uncomfortable chair with my head turned at an angle so as to look at the professor for a 3 hour class, after I have been on campus for 5 hours already. I am always in pretty bad pain by the time the class starts. Thank goodness that class is only once a week. All my professors know that I have some kind of disability, but only one, who has severe physical issues now himself, seems to truly understand how all-encompassing something like this is in your life.

      And after standing out as kind of strange in college and often in life all the time, I cannot tell you what a relief it is for someone to tell me they think like I do.

      Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

      by moviemeister76 on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 10:07:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Brave and valiant (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    They didn't silence you.  They didn't win.  They bullied, they shouted, they harassed, but they still didn't win - and they never will.

    You are very, very brave.  On behalf of all women, silenced or not, thank you for taking this important stand.  

    Please try to find venues for your voice.  The world needs it now - more than ever.

  •  The arguments proffered by the Prof (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    and the men in the class say much and explain much about how southern men treat their women, and how southern women apparently put up with this treatment. Apparently the "stereotype" of the southern yahoo wearing a "wife beater" t-shirt is closer to the definition of a southern man than not.

  •  You have a powerful voice (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    and absolutely no reason to be ashamed. You didn't lose the argument-you were made to feel intimidated.

    When someone in a position of power tries to intimidate you for making an argument, it means that you have struck a nerve. It means that they know you are right-and the truth hits a little too close to home.

    I know, on a personal level, how scary it is to be overpowered like that-especially if you have a history of being raped or abused. But the fact that you were able to use that experience, put it into context and then write about it so eloquently is a sign of an inner strength and resilience that they could only dream of.

    I would say you won by a landslide.

    The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong in the broken places ~Ernest Hemingway
    Be kinder than necessary because everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle ~ Anonymous

    by SwedishJewfish on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 11:57:58 PM PDT

  •  Part of me thinks (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    that the reason those young men reacted so viscerally is that they are completely and totally afraid that they will be — or in some sense already are — abusive as were their ancestors. They clearly identify with some portion of what was described and they are horrified by it. As ever, anger and hatred is nearly always tied into deep-seated, gut-wrenching fear.

    The pity is that they are not able to recognize this for what it is (nor, apparently, can the professor). Here's hoping that one or more of them will be introspective enough to try to figure out what it was about what you said that made them so fearful and angry.

    Peace to you, ma'am. Bon courage & keep your chin up.

    •  I've been thinking about the one statement... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      ...that genuinely confused me. That I wasn't "giving these women enough credit." I had no clue what that even meant when he said it. Credit for what? The more I think about it, the more I think he meant credit, not for loving their husbands, but for believing that these women could forgive their husbands. That is a can of worms.

      Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

      by moviemeister76 on Wed Mar 28, 2012 at 03:39:42 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  You Need To Document This Public "Slut Shaming" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Sounds like this incident provided some context for the Rush Limbaugh/Sandra Fluke dustup doesn't it?

    Wilhelm Reich "Mass Psychology Of Fascism"  Which was written in 1945 and just before Reich lost his reputation for going New Age, but he made a lot of good points about sexually hysterical male politics and the fascist tendencies of patriarchal rural societies.

    Mind you, he wasn't writing feminist theory, he was talking specifically about the Nazis.

    Anyway, your prof needs to get a polite but stern email from you saying that you were very upset to have all the male students yelling at you in defense of the rape and torture of women, and this is not acceptable behavior in a university.  Print a paper copy for your files.

    That ought to do it, no need to make threats since you have established a paper trail.

    There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

    by bernardpliers on Wed Mar 28, 2012 at 08:36:57 AM PDT

  •  Some tactical considerations. . . (3+ / 0-)

    I don't know if you contacted your professor yet, but you might want to think about the result you would like to get out of talking to him. People who are backed into a corner with no options tend to not react well. He is still the professor and therefore the ultimate authority in the classroom. You should leave him at least one passably face-saving out, and that out should be what you would most like him to do.

    He may have thought that you were holding your own and didn't need any help. You probably appeared strong and he may not have known that you felt attacked.

    The main thing is to finish out the class without feeling silenced. If you just want to tell him how you feel beyond any more practical outcome, wait until you get your grade.

  •  There is no reason to feel ashamed (0+ / 0-)

    There was likely a feeling of physical threat hanging in the air.

    How could you buck that? Seriously, it's a pervading thing in society.

    That's why the other women were silent.

    In fact, that you spoke up at all shows your courage in the face of a huge amount of hostility, arrogance and condescension. I have run into it too, many times, and have to say it can be daunting to stand up to it. They are so sure they are right!

    Please sign the White House petition to Flush Rush from AFN (Armed Forces Network).

    by splashy on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 02:18:37 AM PDT

  •  Moviemeister, can you clarify? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Oh Mary Oh

    I want to ask about the ideas being discussed in the class (leaving aside the male students' REACTION to the ideas, which seems to have been extremely touchy, and the professor's reaction to the reaction, which seems to have been inadequate).
    I'm not sure I'm completely understanding what went on in the class. What argument do you think the professor was actually trying to make, before the guys went all brainstemmy? When he asked,

    could these women have loved their husbands despite this horrific treatment?
    do you think he meant the SPECIFIC women who were (raped/beaten/etc.)? Or when he said "these women" did he mean "white southern wives in general at a time when such abuse was tolerated"? If he was talking about white wives in general, it sounds like he was making an argument about how the concept of "love" was interpreted then vs. now. Do you think that's what he was getting at?
    •  I apologize for taking so long (0+ / 0-)

      I haven't been back to this diary for a few days, and so did not see this.

      To answer your question: I am not sure. He never gave a definition of what love was or is. He never brought up the idea that the idea of what love is has changed. He ended the discussion by stating that he believed that some exceptional women were able to love their husbands in this situation. And then switched topics.

      Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

      by moviemeister76 on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 01:19:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Marriage not about love? (0+ / 0-)

    You have a deeper and much more recent appreciation of the factual history. One perspective on the antebellum South is that then you have the majority of women's fiction stating that a woman should look for a job as "helpmeet" in a going family relationship (to be producer of the generation to come, to keep the "domestic economy" (home) running while the adult menfolk ran the 'outside' work. (read Mary Holmes's 40+ novels) Not until the, dunno, 1920's, say, do you have popular women's fiction, whole novels, in fact, where the choice of a life-partner is just that, not taking a job as 'help' for a going concern, the multi-generational family that has to see the young men to come set up in life and the young women creditably married off. Read ALL of Mary Chestnut--take her to any future discussion, not just the selections you were asked to read. Find out what has been added as evidence since Wilson wrote "Patriotic Gore" including it as the representative of Southern women's voice (it is the 50 year anniversary since the book was published) to the women's voice.

    •  Thanks for your comment (0+ / 0-)

      I knew very little about this, other than in very general terms which I've laid out elsewhere. It is a very male-centric class.

      I am definitely going to be reading all of Mary Chestnut's diary after the class is over. I am very curious.

      Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

      by moviemeister76 on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 01:23:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Be ashamed for those young men!!! Not your courage (0+ / 0-)

    Be ashamed for their ignorance.
    Their self-centered points of view.
    Their ignorance.

    Their lack of courage to look at the world any differently.

    Be especially ashamed that the prof, I dunno how old he is, be ashamed that he didn't know any better. And was arguing against you.

    Be VERY ashamed of the university, which hasn't stepped up to train the prejudice out of faculty.

    Be ashamed of the deep seated inequality which STILL pervades the roots of so many assumptions of our society.

    Be PROUD of your courage. To speak up in the first place, and to keep speaking up, even though the other women didn't back you up.

    Be PROUD of yourself for talking to your husband.

    Be PROUD of your husband, that he sees more, and is wiser than these other men.

    Be PROUD of all the women and men of good will, who see the same things you do.

    Together we ARE making this world a better place, even if we haven't won every corner yet. It is individuals like yourself, who continue to shine a light on the dark places, who are co-creating a better world with less prejudice.

    Please keep up what you are doing, it matters. And thank you. Thank you for speaking up.

    This health care system is a moral atrocity. Dr. Ralphdog

    by AllisonInSeattle on Sat Mar 31, 2012 at 08:42:06 AM PDT

    •  I needed this, thank you (0+ / 0-)

      I just sent an email to my professor a few hours ago, explaining how I felt about what happened almost a week ago. So right now, I am pretty nervous and scared, waiting for his response. Thank you so much for your words.

      Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

      by moviemeister76 on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 01:25:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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