In my practice group this past week, we worked on status (which was like, whoa, coach, have you been reading my blog? No, it’s a common improv skill to work on, and he probably noticed the same fuckups in last week’s practice that led to me introspecting and writing a bunch of blog posts).
So that was useful.
Unfortunately, I’ve been equating high status with masculinity, and low status with femininity. Shit.
But I can’t be a misogynist because I’m a woman, right? Yeah I wish.
I struggled with gender identity for years before it finally dawned on me that women are not stereotypes. (i.e. “Women are weak – overemotional – catty – expect special treatment for being female – dress impractically – etc.” / “Oh! You can still be 100% female and NOT BE ANY OF THOSE THINGS, who knew.”) Sadly, those anti-female roots go pretty deep, and my past disdain for women unconsciously bubbles to the surface more often than I’d like.
I’m really lucky to have groupmates— mostly men— who are less sexist than I am. I may think I’m playing a shy, nervous, high-voiced, low-status woman, but then someone will call me “Mark.” Or the other way ’round— I’m a confident, wide-stanced, low-voiced man, but I’ll get named “Sylvia.” It’s a great reminder to get my head out of my ass, and I’m hopeful that someday I’ll learn not to stick it there in the first place.
So thank you, feminist men of improv. You rock.
P.S. Credit where credit is due: I saw the title of this post in my feed reader last week, so it may have sort of inspired this post, but didn’t totally read it until I finished writing. Turns out it’s related and a good read.