What did you learn in school today?
To anyone who may ask,
In the fifth grade I learned that just because it's scorching outside doesn't mean I can wear spaghetti straps. Even though we're going to be outside all day and the sun will make my young self sweat like I imagined only men trudging their way through deserts could. Even though the 11 year boys comfortably wore muscle tanks that their mommys laid out for them without an inch of fear that they would get called out. I learned to spend a day outside with my peers nervous of administration because my innocent but female shoulders were showing.
In the seventh grade I learned that girls cannot do anything. Girls can't play football with the boys even when it's just touch. The girls have to split up from the boys so they can play a special made up game that's "just like soccer but you can use your hands". Who's to tell a 13 year old that they can't play football because they were born with a bit more estrogen than their peers. And my silly pre teen brain didn't even know how to complain because let's face it I can't play, right? Only now do I know it doesn't matter if I could or if I even wanted to because regardless I should've been given the exact same opportunity.
When I was a freshman I learned that my education was worth less than the men I sat in class with. My low cut t shirt that I threw on that morning because it was 5 am and I just needed something so that I could consider myself presentable or at least legally able to go out in public was cause enough for me to be called out of class. And because my Dean was male I didn't even speak with him. I was sent to a female Dean so no one was uncomfortable with the fact that I'm 15 and yes I have breasts. That's when she asked me "who I was trying to impress". As if every outfit I put on is only to please the wandering eye of another.
It was sophomore year when I learned that "who's the man in the relationship" is still a question young adults feel the need to ask. Like a relationship without a penis or a breadwinner or someone designated to hold the door open isn't a relationship at all. I didn't understand this because in my eyes the only reason two women would struggle to support themselves is because they're both still making 75 cents to every dollar a man would make. But people still asked.
In my junior year I learned that equality is too threatening of a word for some people. When I can't have posters for a club promoting nothing but acceptance and kindness in the halls of my school without someone crippling them up and throwing them away like last weekend's sale papers. And people still don't understand that feminism is not a dirty word, it's me pleading for an opportunity, for you to be fair regardless of the hormones coursing through me or the parts I do or don't possess.
So if you don't think life is any different for a women, don't ask me what I learned in school today.
Yours truly, offended
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