Posted by Amanda
Money and Sex (well Sexism, but it sounds better the other way)
We've had our longest stretch at sea so far with eight days. It has been interesting. Many people are starting to feel the strain of being on the ship this long and with the same people for so long. I've noticed groups that had been formed before are starting to break apart and new groups are forming. People have just reached that point where they need a break from each other.
We had two April 15ths and have had to advance our clocks forward by an hour on many nights. Having two April 15ths was very weird. We did this because we crossed the international date line. We had been moving farther and farther ahead of the East Coast as we traveled but then suddenly we needed to go behind. So, we lived through tax day once, went to bed and woke up at the beginning of tax day. It was our own little version of Groundhog's Day. The weirder thing was that at that point we were in a fake time zone. This is a bit hard to explain so read carefully. We actually set our clocks back a day or two too soon. We didn't actually cross the date line until April 17th. So for some time there we were 11 hours behind East Coast. There is actually no time zone that is 11 hours behind the East Coast because if you move that far, you cross the date line and are suddenly ahead of the East Coast. It made the conversion a bit difficult. We also had to make sure that anything scheduled for either of those days specified if it was the first April 15th or the second April 15th.
On the second April 15th my programming board put on a Dork Dance. It was pretty amazing how far some of these students went to make themselves look like dorks. Retainers came out, pimples were drawn on, pants were pulled way up, it was all quite fun. A number of them even danced especially dorky the entire time. For both of our dances, we've had people spend the entire length of the dance in their costume standing in line at pub night. That is always unfortunate that they need alcohol to have a fun dance, but the folks who did come without their drinks seemed to have fun anyway.
One of the biggest events on the voyage was this stretch too. The Students of Service auction raises money for specific charities that the Students of Service pick out along the way. They usually pick up to 6 charities. For the last few weeks they've been asking for donation items for the auction. I decided to auction off 6 months of tea of the month. I had a year of tea of the month from Alice's Tea Cup and loved it. I figured I'd renew and send half of my first six teas to the winner. I estimated this would cost $55 as Alice's charges $110 for an entire year. The item sold for $160! I was totally shocked. I had been worried no one would bid on it. Noah offered to name a character in a script after someone (with no promise that the script would be published) and it sold for $55. In fact there was a bit of a bidding war and he ended up giving it to both people if they both agreed to pay $55. Other big items were the navigational carts of the ship's route (basically two maps) that went for $600. Raising the American flag in Miami went for $1000. Even three cans of Brazilian soda went for $50. Many of us left the auction proud that it had raised over $20,000, but also astonished at the wealth in the room. Noah and I had agreed we were not buying anything as we are so poor on this trip.
Now the sexism part. This ship is 70% female yet you would never know it. The administrative team is made up of many men and one woman. At our preport meetings 9 out of 10 times it is men that speak to us with the occasional woman getting into the mix. I've contributed to this as well by having Mr. Semester at Sea. What I didn't know was that those guys would then be called upon to emcee the Crew Talent Show, perform in many of the skits done as part of preport, and pretty much be utility players for countless other things. It is as if there are only about 10 men on the ship and everyone else is just a set of ears to listen to them.
This also plays out in the classroom or at least Global Studies. Today, the presentation was on great men in power. Students presented on about 5-6 leaders all of which were men. Of the students presenting, only one was a woman. A few days ago there was another panel of students and faculty to discuss war in the 20th century. Of the 5-6 people on the panel, only one was a woman. There is a committee of students, faculty, staff, and lifelong learners who have been working to improve Global Studies. That is also a majority male. Plus, one of the female students on the committee volunteered to take notes for everyone during Global Studies.
And, the worst part of it all is that we women are letting it happen. I've not met one other person who is nearly as troubled by this as I am. Noah tries to be sympathetic like a good feminist. Plus, I've been struggling to think of a female student to host the next coffee house with no luck. But, come hell or high water, I'm putting a woman up there. I could ask the student who cohosted Mr. SAS but I'd like to let someone else have the spotlight.
There was even a play during this part of the voyage. A spouse of a professor did When Shakespeare's Ladies Meet. This is a short play based on 5 Shakespearean women coming to Juliet to give her advice on love. There are actually a lot of problems with this play. For example in the end Juliet gives each of the other women advice, you know, because her romance ended so well. The director decided to cast 8 people for the 6 roles and of that 8, 4 were men. She decided that she'd double cast some of the roles and to illustrate theatre traditionally from England, Japan, and China some of the female roles should be played by men in drag. Again, a women is doing this to other women. On a ship of 70% women why can't one of the two plays performed be only for women? Particularly when that play is all female parts? And, to make matters worse, she cast one of the more visible men as Juliet. This meant that he got to give advice to all the other female characters. Yes, he was playing a woman, but for me it just came off as a patronizing man giving advice to silly women.
I've been working hard to figure out what female students I can nominate to speak at convocation as just one student speaks. Even though I love the guys on the voyage, it is time the women start reclaiming our majority.
Okay, that is my little rant for the voyage. Maybe I just need to consider working at a women's college again.