Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Cured Of Feminism

(This continues the series (of two, so far) translations of my contributions to the press at large.)

Belgrade political weekly Vreme has recently (19 November 2009) asked its readers to evoke their memories of primary school teachers. I duly complied, and sent in a rather bitter entry that you can now also enjoy here. It was published under the (good!) title "Cured Of Feminism" in the issue of 26 November 2009. If you notice any differences between the two (mine and the one on the Vreme web site) the copy below is what I have originally sent (Vreme should have kept the formatting, web space is cheap after all; they were right to remove the name of the person, which I did not do below).

Notes for English speakers: Serbian distinguishes between grammatical genders. Vreme phrased the question implying a male teacher, hence my opening rebuke. Feminism in Yugoslavia in the seventies was almost non-existent, hence my jibe around the middle of the comment.

Cured Of Feminism

I don't remember him. She was a woman.

And I remember her quite well, in fact, considering it's been more than three decades since I attended "
Žarko Zrenjanin" primary school in New Belgrade (I do not know, and could not care less, how it's been renamed in the "post-revolutionary" period). Her name was (is? I didn't check) Ljiljana Ćosić-Dragan. She was chubby and round, or at least that's what my memory "feels" like. And my memory of her is more of a "feeling" than a proper memory. A feeling of us boys being massively discriminated against in favour of girls. Proto-feminist in the seventies? I don't believe it. More likely she should have chosen a different profession. Luckily, and no thanks to her, I avoided becoming a misogynist. Quite to the contrary, even if I believe women are not as badly discriminated against as some of them would like us to think.

To conclude, the greatest influence of my teacher on my life: aged eleven I have been cured of feminism to last me a lifetime. And for those who now want to stick a male chauvinist label on me, see the very first sentence above...