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Is a woman's sex appeal a curse or blessing?

08 September 2016, 07:38Bernard Lugagah

At University, I remember this lecturer who was fixated on a certain female classmate to the point of mania. Throughout a two-hour lecture he referred to her about ten times, we counted. She had access to all the precious and obscure articles with which she afterwards tried to bribe us. Of course, rumors flew left and right, and we made them as spiteful as we possibly could. It did not help that she got a perfect score in his coursework. Eventually, the poor girl had to call the lecturer out on his conduct on a particularly entertaining and emotion ridden mid-week afternoon lecture, that I was so glad not to have missed.

Before that afternoon we hated that girl with a passion, and made her the subject of some very unsavory examples of the unfairness of affirmative action during our Constitutional law class. Affirmative action had by then evolved into a practice that clearly disadvantaged males. That year for instance, well over half of our class was female. The rule has had to be loosely applied since.

Her gender had earned her an entry into the program and now her looks were giving her an unfair advantage. It was a skewed playing field that left us in the cold and very worried. From scoring perfect marks, it was easy to picture her going on to intern for a multiple partner firm that operated off an entire floor. And then employment, promotions, invaluable networks…the career leg-up we could only dream about. Basically, here was a girl who had it made before she had even lifted a finger. Or maybe we painted the picture too rosy.

We were strangers to the agony she lived through, that drove her to that afternoon. The attentions were unwelcome, and put her in a vulnerable spot. We ostracized her and made her the butt of some bad ‘sexually transmitted marks’ jokes. We were too wrapped up in our grievances to see it. We had no idea the outright fear a woman has of confronting the man who held her academic fate in his hands. It may have been one course unit, but it applies across board. Neither did we see that was dispossessed, of control over her capability, getting marks she did not earn and denied credit for her merit. If she did well it was because she was doing the lecturer. She was being forced to bring her sexual appeal into play.

We had only one more compulsory course unit by that lecturer the following year. He would come and deliver his lectures mechanically and leave. Though that girl scored nowhere near what she had gotten the previous year, but it was still pretty decent.

On the other hand was this old friend of mine who was unapologetic about the fact that her sex appeal was her clearest advantage. There was no way she was not going to use it, not when everybody else was using either their brains or their voices or their strength to get ahead. I look her up occasionally on Facebook and she is now the single mother of one who seems to be doing quite well.

- MyNews24


Intersex explained

26 October 2016, 08:38

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