Tuesday, October 30, 2007

anti-sexism training: some thoughts

I helped out with an anti-sexism training today at a local college, which was great because i haven't been as involved in that sort of thing since leaving my position at the Diversity Education Program at UW-Madison. It was nice to dive back into "facilitator" mode, even if only briefly.

This training was different, however, from what i've done before. I'm used to going in and just having a big discussion-- getting people's voices heard, raising issues, etc. The thing we did today was skit-oriented. In the past, i'd had a kind of bias against this sort of training because personally, i'm not a visual learner-- people acting out scenarios always seemed to me a roundabout way of addressing issues. But that's just me-- i understand that for some people, skits and theatre stuff are the best way to learn.

I had just never done it MYSELF, and then had to jump in, with two days of rehearsal, and pretend to be an awful person. I've acted before, but not so much improv, which i pretty much hate. The interesting thing i came away from this with, however, was how DIFFICULT it was to even pretend to be overtly, over-the-top sexist. Luckily, i had two other men in the group who could say the *worst* lines and do the fake fondling and all that and i could just play a support role, but it was hard nonetheless. I just couldn't bring myself to embody some of these characters whole-heartedly, even when i knew that it was fake and i knew that the audience knew that it was fake.

Is that just from three or so years of social justice immersion? Is that a real example of "oversensitivity?" Were the roles just too close to home? How the hell do real actors play Nazis and rapists and murderers and all that? I can see how that could play crazy tricks on your brain.

Overall, though, the session went very well. People seemed to be engaged and we had some good conversations. Also, the food was incredible.

On a completely unrelated note, i finished my book. More news coming soon.

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