Teachers are often unaware of the gender distribution of talk in their classrooms. They usually consider that they give equal amounts of attention to girls and boys, and it is only when they make a tape recording that they realize that boys are dominating the interactions. Dale Spender, an Australian feminist who has been a strong advocate of female rights in this area, noted that teachers who tried to restore the balance by deliberately ‘favouring’ the girls were astounded to find that despite their efforts they continued to devote more time to the boys in their classrooms. Another study reported that a male science teacher who managed to create an atmosphere in which girls and boys contributed more equally to discussion felt that he was devoting 90 per cent of his attention to the girls. And so did his male pupils. They complained vociferously that the girls were getting too much talking time.
In other public contexts, too, such as seminars and debates, when women and men are deliberately given an equal amount of the highly valued talking time, there is often a perception that they are getting more than their fair share. Dale Spender explains this as follows:
“The talkativeness of women has been gauged in comparison not with men but with silence. Women have not been judged on the grounds of whether they talk more than men, but of whether they talk more than silent women.”
In other words, if women talk at all, this may be perceived as ‘too much’ by men who expect them to provide a silent, decorative background in many social contexts.
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"We spend a lot of time judging women for the choices that they make, or even the choices thrust upon them. We nod when victims of domestic violence apologize for “the role” they played
in their assaults. We want celebrities whose private, revealing photographs have been stolen and distributed to be sorry for having taken private photographs in the first place
. We expect rape victims to be sorry for being raped—this is the crux of Sarah Silverman’s whole “rape jokes” bit
. Women who get catcalled should have walked somewhere else, women who attract unwanted attention should be sorry for being so attractive, and on and on and on. Women say sorry when there is literally nothing to be sorry about. And some of that, as has been discussed
, is a survival mechanism in a culture that punishes those who dare to not be sorry for any of the above. Women who do what they have to do to get by shouldn’t be sorry about it, even if what they have to do is say sorry all the time.
But what if we weren’t sorry, not for any of it? What if it were fine to be not sorry?"
"The whole culture is telling you to hurry, while the art tells you to take your time. Always listen to the art."
"Read not to contradict and confute; nor to believe and take for granted; nor to find talk and discourse; but to weigh and consider. Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested: that is, some books are to be read only in parts, others to be read, but not curiously, and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention."
"In the shop window you have promptly identified the cover with the title you were looking for. Following this visual trail, you have forced your way through the shop past the thick barricade of Books You Haven’t Read, which are frowning at you from the tables and shelves, trying to cow you…And thus you pass the outer girdle of ramparts, but then you are attacked by the infantry of Books That If You Had More Than One Life You Would Certainly Also Read But Unfortunately Your Days Are Numbered. With a rapid maneuver you bypass them and move into the phalanxes of the Books You Mean To Read But There Are Others You Must Read First, the Books Too Expensive Now And You’ll Wait Till They’re Remaindered, the Books ditto When They Come Out in Paperback, Books You Can Borrow From Somebody, Books That Everybody’s Read So It’s As If You Had Read Them, Too."