In a post over at The Happy Feminist, she describes a light bulb moment her father had, which reminded me of a discussion in my classroom some years ago.
We were talking about a chapter in a bell hooks' book, a discussion of cultural attitudes towards homosexuality. One student was analyzing historical reasons for homophobia in southern communities -- slave owners wanted their slaves to reproduce -- while another student was analyzing what she thought were the dynamics behind homophobia -- fear and anger.
SmallTownBoy, who seemed visibly disturbed by the discussion, kept interjecting phrases like, "it's just wrong." His reaction seemed so emotional that it made me curious. I wondered if he would have any sort of anecdote or reasoning to back up his vehement opinion.
Finally, SmallTownBoy told us that he had worked at a pizza place over the summer, and that one of the other workers was gay. He paused at that point, clearly ready to give us the important part of the story.
"And he hit on me," he said. He sounded shocked. "This guy wanted to date me. And even after I said no, he kept after me."
He looked at his classmates, clearly expecting sympathy and perhaps horror.
The women and a few of the men in the classroom looked at each other. Some rolled their eyes. Most of the men in the classroom were silent, shifting uncomfortably in their seats.
Finally, a woman sitting behind SmallTownBoy spoke up. "Congratulations," she said. "Now you know what it is like to be a woman."