Yesterday’s post seems to need a little clarification. I hope you will forgive my vegetal beginnings of what I hope can be turned into something good. I’ve written several essays that have been very well received, but yesterday may have been a little two dark. Maybe this beginning would have been better written in my private journal.
Recent political rhetoric has stirred passions about how women are treated, and how women are valued. As one who grew up with the Women’s Lib Movement during the 60’s, I was almost convinced that the discrimination and marginalization of women in the United States had come to an end. The tolerance of sexist language and attitudes during our recent election shows that woman are not on an equal footing with men, even though one of the candidates was a woman.
In the story I tried to write yesterday, Appearances, I think I missed the mark. Yes, it contained a collection of real events. There were girls in the high school restroom every morning, monopolizing the mirror, but my personnel feeling about the situation were not so harsh. I thought they didn’t need it. However, make no mistake, we girls were judged and if you were willing to play the boys games, they were all over you.
I was painfully shy as the new girl in town. I held back, they didn’t snub me. Did they notice and try to make me feel included? Come on! This was high school. We were all immature. I was the shortest girl in the school, but not the only one with short hair, but the boys do love that long hair.
Only in retrospect do I realize the girls who monopolized the bathrooms, where doing what they couldn’t at home. They also rolled up their skirts to make them shorter. It is my understanding that even those in all girl schools did the same. Why did we do it? To be stylish. Plus, we liked attention from the boys. Our self-image was strongly influenced by boys.
Yes, there was some touching. These were boys and girls who had known each other since kindergarten. I was a total unknown. Only one day, and I don’t know why, a boy put something, including his hand down a girls bra. It started a free-for-all. I would have decked any boy who touched me, but to be truthful, they knew I wouldn’t like it, and neither would my boyfriend, nor my male friends.
The teacher, was in chemistry, and was every bit at bad as described. I should have told my parents, but I never did. I was 17, I thought I should be able to handle things on my own. My mistake. That teacher was a bully to all the girls. He absolutely said those things, day after day. Going to the administration never occurred to any of us. I didn’t need the credit to graduate, but it did affect my GPA, and I wasn’t allowed to go away to college and went to x-ray school instead, because my grades were not high enough. My parents feared a lack of commitment to my education.
There were many nice boys in my high school. Both boys and girls thought I was attractive, nice, kind, honest, and intelligent.
Now you may think my experience with high school is unique. I assure you these things still go on in high schools. I volunteered at the local high school when our boy, our youngest, was in high school. What I saw were boys and girls groping each other in and around the school, behavior that in the late 60’s would have gotten us detention, and possibly a paddling. Teachers walked by without a word.
I asked about the proper response to the public displays of affection, and very physical reactions to each other these young people were engaging in. It was not considered a problem. So why was I there? I lasted about three weeks. Maybe my experience is still unique.
Maybe it was only that school? I think the teenage pregnancy rate illuminates the issue. For several years the teenage pregnancy rate has declined, but 7 percent to 12 percent pregnancy rates still exist depending on ethnicity, for a total of 249,078 babies (2014).
So I am asking for some feedback that can turn this embryonic story into something worth reading. Maybe a story can change attitudes where demonstrations can’t.