Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Social Stereotypes ... Just for fun ...

Not sure where this came from ... was just messing about, having a bit of a talk to myself; finish this, edit that - and five hundred words later ...

Social Stereotypes: The Mature Student

Pleased with her recent assignment and bibliography intact, Joanne relinquished it almost a week early, accepting the slip of flimsy pink paper which would confirm its whereabouts for the following six weeks. Postcolonial readings of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness managed to uncover more than a sufficient understanding of European nineteenth Century colonialism that Joanne had never, ever considered thinking about. A mature student, Joanne’s many commitments bargaining for her time, the hours and hours required for reading around subjects took the place of her friendships, an occasional night in the pub, even the ironing. Evaluating her efforts constantly, expecting to achieve only decent results, she promised she wouldn’t be dissatisfied with them.

Wanting to be as inconspicuous as visually possible, she adjusted her attire, choosing denims, flat pumps and chose from an assortment of plain tops from the high street. Her outerwear would have to be tamed too, nothing too ostentatious. Joanne blended with her colleagues, although she drew the line at riding a bike to the Uni campus. No, the people carrier would have to do. Besides, driving her three children to school before lectures was just part of her day.

Joanne was looking forward to her next module; Myth & Legend. An introduction to relentless debates on male oppression, dating back to … the beginning, she supposed. She began to over-indulge in the subject matter. She wondered, fingers poised at the keys, what exactly was myth? Images of an unwanted truths reverberated through time? Yes, that would be a start. Greek myth; poor Philomele, having been raped by her brother-in-law, the mighty King Tereus, physically silenced by having her tongue cut out. Joanne took some time to get her head around this one. Was she about to become a feminist? But the woman survived. Told the tale through dance. How innovative. Joanne hit the keys and as usual, didn’t stop till after midnight.

And what did she hope to achieve from all of this? Joanne had to admit, she was sick and tired of family, friends, acquaintances and people she’d just met in the pub on a Friday night, asking her the same question. She considered telling them she was going to be a teacher, just so everyone would leave her alone. But she didn’t. And the questions continued. What made you want to do a degree? At your age? What did you say you were studying? ‘English Literature’, she would say, watching their eyes roll to the back of their heads. ‘Linguistics’, she would add with rising intonation, hoping to gain a little interest. ‘Oh I see, French? German?’ This was the point where Joanne would wonder whether she was in the wrong pub with the wrong people. Then, maybe she was the one who was in the wrong place. ‘It’s the study of the nature, structure and variation of language’, she would reply, to a place where the lights were on but no-one was in.

Joanne seems to have found herself at last. She not only achieved a more than adequate honours degree in literature (not forgetting the linguistics) but an improved capacity to understand other human beings. She is looking forward to empowering other women. Opening one of her many charity luncheons, ‘Women need to become more certain of their identities and begin to take charge of their own destinies’, she began. ‘As the famous French philosopher, Helene Cixous states, Woman must write about women and bring women to writing from which they have been driven away … woman must put herself into the text – as into the world and into history.’

Right, now back to my real job!


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