A couple of weeks ago, I was visiting the school where my mother teaches, for the purpose of joining in her classroom’s year-end “holiday.”* Since this was the last day of school before winter break, it also happened to mark the end of both the month and the semester, and so there was lots of semester- and month-end celebrations and assemblies going on.
In addition to joining in the classroom celebrations, I ended up going to a school-wide assembly that was intended to celebrate various student achievements. One of the more interesting things to occur in this assembly was the student-of-the-month award. Each teacher was supposed to select a student from their classroom who they thought best exemplified the behavior of a good student** and present them with a certificate denoting that the student was indeed the student of the month for December, and also explain why they thought the selected student deserved the award.
Without fail, every female teacher—including my mom—managed to make the award about themselves. Every female teacher started off their award ceremony speech with the word “I.” From there, every last female teacher explained what their respective students meant to them, and why they thought that their respective students deserved the award.
In contrast most, but not all, of the male teachers’ speeches were focused on the students receiving the award. Most male teachers started their ceremony speeches “X deserves to be student of the month because…” and then would detail what the student had done to deserve the award. These speeches were not self-focused in any way.
Now, I’m not suggesting that all the female teachers were acting out of selfish ill-intent. I’m merely observing that solipsism is deeply engrained in the female nature, and that it presents itself so often and so naturally that one is forced to conclude that the solipsistic mindset is essentially inherent to females, and is likely ineradicable.
* Of course, this being a public school, we were not allowed to celebrate religious holidays anyways, but I’ll be damned if I’m not going to play “Away in a Manger” after I spent a week and half learning how to play it blues-style on my guitar. Anyhow, while there was technically no mention of Christmas, or Jesus for that matter, this was very much a holiday celebration in everything but name.
** Having been completely done with school and academia for about six months at that point, this entire endeavor seemed rather Orwellian to me. But I suppose those observations are for another post.