Chaos Attraction

An Entry About Improv

2015-08-25, 3:55 p.m.

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I keep meaning to add these sorts of remarks onto the ends of the Improv 201 notes, but I'm so damn busy this summer I barely get them typed up, much less add deeper thoughts in later.

Anyway: the last two weeks we've actually had enough people to do things in class, since the instructor has managed to recruit a few people to come to class and join in. We're half and half on the genders usually, both in the regular class and in the substitutes. However, I couldn't help but notice on week six that when the teacher says to get up on stage (or uh, "on stage" really, we're in a tiny classroom), all four dudes will be all bounding up enthusiastically and the girls are... stereotypically hanging back, me included. It's something I found myself noticing more. If I start heading out there to be a grounded person since I have no idea to go with (which is to say, I'm going in with the attitude of "eh, well, I might as well go up) and suddenly a dude lunges up, I'll back off. Oh well, it's okay, I say to myself, I didn't have a particular idea anyway, I'll go next time, whatever.

It's so stereotypically damn FEMALE of me to feel like I need to back down or back off when someone--let's face it, a dude--enthusiastically jumps in. But there it is. I mentioned this to Melinda on Sunday--I was hanging out at her house for awhile--and she said that stuff is happening even in kindergarten. Boys enthusiastically raise their hands without even thinking whether or not they know the answer, girls are being tentative about it just in case they aren't 100% right, because if you're a girl you'd better be 100% right. If you're not, you will hear about it.

You know how it goes. Same thing with applying for jobs: men apply if they barely hit 50% of the qualifications--and it ends up not mattering much because they're men; women have to have every qualification because they'll get ruled out for missing one percent. Men barge ahead, women wait to see if it's safe to proceed or not.

Then there was week seven, in which I didn't hop into one of the three scenes--which I'm fine with, I didn't have anything great in the way of ideas--and then felt obligated to come up with something for the games. And at least one of them was...half-assed and questionable. I pulled a guy move there, jumping in with not much clue as to what I'd be doing and then getting reasonably dinged for it. I was kinda wrong to do that.

However: it made me think, "If I don't come up with a 100% good idea, I need to just hang back and not do anything. Maybe I just need to not initiate stuff. I'm not having very good pattern ideas come up anyway right now." Which is totally something I need to figure out anyway. But it's more women's inhibition, more "I can't do it unless I'm perfect."

Is that bad because I don't jump in? Is that good because I really do need a perfectly formed idea before I do it? Honestly, I don't know.

I can't say I feel super ready for handling a full Harold at this point, but the class is almost over and it's about time to, one way or another.

We'll see how it goes in 301, I guess. Which isn't being offered until January now, so I think I'll take musical improv in the interim. Which has to be harder, so possibly I'm insane. I meant to take those in reverse order, but since that's how the scheduling is going, oh well. Also it frees me up to take one last (probably) sculpture class with Meg in fall instead.


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