Don’t let a guy intimidate you into not speaking

Posted: July 31, 2011 by Jender in Uncategorized

In my last year as an undergrad in philosophy I was in 2 classes with this guy, let’s call him Tom, and we would talk occasionally in an amicable way, though we didn’t hang out outside of class. Well, some of the material from the two classes crossed over, and one time another student made a (false) remark about motivational internalism, and me and Tom just looked at each other like, ‘oh no he didn’t’, and Tom whispers to me something like ‘shut your mouth, don’t say anything.’ (I am normally fairly outspoken in class) Then, when the guy was done, Tom raised his hand and proceeded to correct the student on this point. I was a little surprised, but this was nothing compared to what happened a week or so later.

In our morning class together, Tom comes over to chat about a short paper/presentation that we both had due later that day (individually, on different, though related, topics). He told me what he had written in his paper, but that he was going to work on it some more before class that afternoon, because he wasn’t really happy with it. Then asked me what I had written on. I had prepared well and had a kick-ass (if I do say so myself) presentation planned. I was proud of it so I told him what I was going to argue in moderate detail. Bad move.

That afternoon, I ask him just as class is starting, ‘so, how did your paper go?’ He says ‘oh, I completely re-wrote it.’ So, I ask him what he wrote, and he says, no joke ‘oh, just basically along the lines of what you said’. I had a moment of shock, and then class started. Luckily, I was presenting before him, so I didn’t have to worry about him stealing my presentation also, but when he got up to present after, he says – again, I’m not joking – “well, I’m just going to go over the expository part of my paper (explaining the arguments made in the reading) because M stole all my arguments.” He said this in a good natured way, as if it were a joke, but I almost stood up right there and then to call him out. I considered going to talk with the teacher, but decided against it because I didn’t want to come across as whiny, and because it didn’t seem worth it. I seethed with the injustice of it all for weeks, though I didn’t say anything to Tom.

I’m not sure if any of this would have happened had I been a guy, but it was a learning experience – never share your ideas before the paper’s due, and don’t let a guy intimidate you into not speaking when you have something to say!

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