Saturday, March 26, 2005

It is not easy being an "other"...

My org comm professor, Patricia Parker, just returned from presenting at a symposium called "Women and Others." The idea that women could also be responsible for "othering" ourselves (such as "you are a soccer mom" or "you are a working mom") is intriguing to me and helps me figure out how I have felt different as an older student. At first, I was not sure what to make of being older. Despite my semi-advanced age of 41, my entire life I have been told I was always 16 going on 40, or 25 going on 40. I'm not quite sure what that meant, but I never really felt as old as my age until now. One "other", I quickly discover, is that I am a mother and my colleagues are not. Despite the many topics we could discuss on a daily basis, for me, it quickly turns to, "how are your kids?" Now, I love my children dearly, but I do not necessarily feel defined by them. I have an MBA, I have taught marketing at the college level for 13 years while running my own consulting business, and I have even been the Board President of a homeless shelter. I feel that my identity is more than just a "soccer mom" (not that there is anything wrong with that), but that is where my colleagues seemed to peg me. But with the arrival of the new prospective colleagues, me as the "other" became even more pronounced. They didn't even have to say a thing...their distance said it all.


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