Whorifying Female Teachers

Horrifying or Whorifying? It’s all the same when it comes to teaching the Chinese as a female. Add being white on top of that, and you’ve got the deck stacked against you.

I’ve been teaching on and off for the last 21 years, alternating between gigs in research universities and government policy shops (as well as farming, beekeeping, baking, and hotel housekeeping). Teaching is something I do somewhat well, although it exhausts me more than any job in manual labour ever has. At least with farming, you get strong and healthy along with your fatigue. And you work with plants! Teaching makes you tired, flabby, and fat. And you constantly wonder whether laziness and stupidity have lower limits…

In China, there is a special nuther layer as a woman and as a non-Chinese. There is a special skill that I don’t have that apparently cancels out any skill or talent I might have as a teacher. And it is something that doesn’t apply to men. Of course.

I refuse to wear ‘lady-face’ or as I have come more and more frequently to call it – ‘whore-face’ – because that is, very basically, what women’s fashion signifies: whore status. I refuse to wear the trappings of femininity, all those things that mark me as a usable fuck-object there to be consumed by men (and as a white woman in China, to be consumed by Chinese men AND women). I don’t wear pretty dresses, or any dresses, for that matter. I don’t wear heels. I don’t wear make-up. I don’t wear pretty colours. I don’t wear cutesy shit. Everything is functional, isn’t fussy, and serves to make me feel less exposed or less easily rapeable. If I trip and fall, nobody gets a look at my crotch. No one can use a selfie stick and attached cell phone to take photos up my skirt. No one gets a special view through armholes or necklines as to what lies beneath my clothes. White women are seen as whores that love to be abused. People believe that and treat you accordingly. You can’t hurt the willing, right?

So basically, you know, I wear clothes that (mostly) could be found on any average male out there. I look respectable. My clothes are clean and simple. I dress more formally than many of my students, which makes sense given our roles. But apparently, that doesn’t fly here. My only ‘girly’ thing is that I have really long hair. But that is only because in the past I have donated my hair every few years to cancer wig charities. But I have been rethinking this lately, and will be cutting my hair blessedly short this summer. I don’t want to contribute to the sexist, racist notion that white women can’t be bald. Black women can be bald and accepted,  even without cancer, so I think white women shouldn’t have to suffer from public derision for not having hair on their heads. So that’s enough with the long-hair-for-donation bullshit. But I will pay for it socially here in reserved, misogynist China where you seldom see a non-old woman with short hair. (Cross into more progressive Hong Kong, and it is a different story.) In combination with my ‘man clothes’, short hair will make things considerably more ‘interesting’. I wish I could lose my considerable and distinctly non-Chinese tittage, the bane of my existence in this country, and have people mistake me for male at first. I’d be harassed A LOT less. And be given a little more respect, perhaps.

But back to lady-face. It is, as a white woman in a very racist, misogynist country, bad enough being in public wearing the no-nonsense shit that I do. I get shit for not being feminine enough, but being feminine would be a bad thing, too. It is difficult for me to imagine how much worse it would be if I exposed cleavage or bared my lightly hairy, unshaved, white legs. (Most Chinese don’t shave, but even many of the men don’t have much leg hair.) I think I would be sexually assaulted and harassed more than I am already. And I would be stared at even more than I am now. I’d be on the receiving end of more sexual behaviour from men and more derision/disgust from men AND women. And I would personally feel more uncomfortable and vulnerable. And that last bit is the difference between tolerating going out in public with PTSD under careful control, versus staying at home unless absolutely unavoidable.

Why do I bring this up? Well, I made an interesting discovery in my Business English class the other day. All female, except for a few males. I had planned to talk about giving ideas and making suggestions in the workplace, based on a chapter in their textbooks. But I opened it up by talking about personal suggestions, and I made the mistake of asking each student to give me a suggestion. I hadn’t anticipated all the misogyny and such a clear indication of where these silly assholes’ priorities were. Instead of interesting or creative ideas, several of the suggestions were:

  • I needed to change my clothing style
  • I needed to wear dresses
  • I needed to wear bright colours
  • I needed to wear things that would make me ‘look beautiful’
  • More suggestions about wearing ‘girl clothes’
  • I should wear different shoes

At one point, when I started to get annoyed by the implications that all anyone cared about was what I looked like and that my job performance clearly rested on this factor alone, I remarked that once boys started wearing dresses, I would too. You know, even if I wanted to dress like a cocksucker, I think about the following. My classroom is not air-conditioned. It went up to 37°C (99°F) last week. I usually spend 7 hours in that classroom, mostly on my feet, animated and interacting with students. I’m drenched in sweat within the first fifteen minutes. It is cooler (or less stifling, perhaps) when I step out of my classroom. I do tend to over-dress, but that is simply because I am uncomfortable with all the ogling I get in China. I also sweat like a pig. I don’t do well in the tropics. But I’m trying to imagine make-up running in rivulets down my face. I’m trying to imagine a typical lacy, polyester Chinese dress (think 1980’s in the West) sticking to my tits and legs, scratching and unbreathable, giving me a rash or hives. I’m trying to imagine my feet sweating and slipping inside high-heeled shoes. And then I imagine myself passing out in a disgusting mess on the floor with my skirt around my waist, my ankle broken, and all the kids making videos and posting it on the Chinese internet. (I would title it “Horrified or Whorified? White Teacher Fail!”)

Do men get any of this shit? No. Of course not. No one comments on what the black Muslim male teacher at my school wears. No one questions what any of the men wear or don’t wear. Anywhere in the world. No one measures a man’s teaching performance or talent by his shoes, fashion sense, or his looks. No one tells men about their bad B.O or the alcohol leaking from their pores when they sweat and breathe on students. Men show up. In whatever condition they wish. They get paid. They get respect. And they go home where their personal whores cook their food, clean their stinky clothes, and suck their dicks or spread their legs (or ass cheeks in the West!). A good life, and one men feel entitled to, but don’t deserve.

It’s bad enough dealing with my male students, but the Chinese lady-cocksuckers are a piece of work too, and they are racist and misogynist in their own special ways that feel like more of a betrayal than you get with men. You expect abuse from men. For me, I’m waiting for bullshit from men before they even open their mouths. But even when you know women will betray you because of your non-conformity, it hurts a lot when they do it. The women are part of the problem, even if they didn’t start it. I don’t let them off the hook as participants in women’s oppression. In their own oppression. In my oppression. There is never an excuse for keeping your brain turned off and reaping the meager benefits at other women’s expense.

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Feminism, atheism and other stuff

Posted on June 26, 2016, in Anti-Feminism, Education, Feminism, White Women and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Whorifying Female Teachers.

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