A Great Blog

I’m very, very tired, people, so I’m entertaining myself by rereading the old entries from my own blog. And I have to tell you, it’s a damn good blog. With all due respect to everybody, I think I’m my favorite blogger.

And What About Gender Stereotypes?

Do you make efforts not to perpetuate gender stereotypes? Like not wearing pink if you are a woman? Not lowering your voice closer to the end of a sentence, not ending every phrase with a question, not caring excessively about fashion and make-up, not being nurturing and an organizer of social occasions?

Or if you are a man, not interrupting, not having a very loud voice, not talking about sports all the time?

There must be other stereotypes of masculinity but I can’t come up with any more at this point. What are typical men supposed to be? Insensitive, disorganized, what else?

I stopped knitting and concealed my love of cooking to avoid being a total stereotype.

Battling Stereotypes

As you all know, I’m half Ukrainian and half Jewish. The stereotype of Jews is that we are all greedy. The stereotype of Ukrainians is that we are sly and also greedy. This is why these are two vices that I’m extra-careful not to indulge in. I can be lazy, angry, loud-mouthed and anything else because that will not feed into a cultural stereotype. But cheap and crafty? Never!

Do you feel the need to do this? If you are Hispanic, do you make efforts not to seem non-punctual and disorganized? If you are Russian, do you put extra care into not drinking alcohol in public? If you are German, do you strive to avoid being too anal? If you are Italian, do you try to mention your mother less often? If you are American, do you try to show respect of other cultures? If you are Canadian, do you manage to repress the urge to hunt squirrels and eat them raw wherever you go? (Come on, if you are Canadian, a sense of humor is a must). If you are Estonian, do you make a point of reacting fast and being more animated?

In short, do you feel responsible for creating a good impression as a representative of your culture?

A Psychological Insight

My very first psychologist said many years ago, “The people who come to me and say, ‘I have low self-esteem, I’m shy and self-conscious’ have no idea that they actually have a much better self-esteem* than anybody else. It’s those who have no idea that their self-esteem is in the toilet who are very hard to help. They bustle through life without even beginning to realize that all the noise they make is motivated by huge self-esteem issues. You think it’s the quiet kid reading alone in the corner who has the greatest psychological problems? You couldn’t be more mistaken. The loud kid who is the center of attention and seems the most confident is in so much pain inside that the quiet kid cannot even begin to imagine what the loud one is going through.”

This is why I always prefer shy, quiet people. They are the healthiest ones psychologically.

* Can we avoid doing yet another rounds of comments on how the word self-esteem is traumatizing people because American media something-something? This conversation didn’t take place in the US.

Personality Test

Look at the tree and choose the one that is immediately most appealing to you. Don’t think about it too long, just choose, and give me the number. I will reveal to you what the choice says about your personality under the fold.

Also check out these great quizzes:

What is your professional persona?

How much of a Soviet person are you?

Continue reading “Personality Test”

5 Questions Series

I got this exciting (for me) meme here.

1. How did you arrive at your most recent project of considerable scope?

 I’m starting a new big project right now and my most recent accepted article is my very first attempt to approach this issue. I make it my business to read everything that gets published in Spain by 15-20 authors of my choosing (which is a LOT of reading, by the way.) So as I was reading these novels, I started seeing one central issue that a huge number of them were addressing. How could I resist analyzing it in more depth?

2. If you could go back and teach your grad school self one important thing about reading/writing/teaching/etc. that you learned after grad school, what would it be?

 “Research is fun and publishing is easy.” (c) Also, that the Internet is a great place to search for brilliant academic advice. I wish I had discovered this while I was sitting there uselessly in almost complete intellectual loneliness back in grad school.
3. What aspect of being a professional scholar and teacher do you find most difficult?

I can’t say that I find any aspect of the job all that difficult. I work for a school that has wonderful hiring practices and a great work environment, so I’m lucky.
4. What do you like most about being a professional scholar and teacher?

That I have a lot of time and opportunities to develop intellectually.
5. What kinds of things do you do to maintain your intellectual curiosity?
I read like I’m getting paid to do it. Oh, wait, I am getting paid to do it. Yay!