GUEST POST: Feminism Essay by Narita

NOTE: This is a guest post, written by reader Narita, while I am away for the summer. To read more from Narita, visit her own blog at http://theteenidle.blogspot.nl/.

Hello, lovely readers of Ruby’s blog. I’m today’s guest writer. My name is Narita and I am fourteen years old. I’ll be a high school junior after this summer break… And, as a feminist, my few years high school have given me some pretty weird experiences.

I’ve been in dropout recovery during my sophomore year, because of bullying. For those unfamiliar with dropout recovery, I had two teachers, always the same ones, and they were always watching me and my peers. There was one woman- her name doesn’t matter- I thought she was horrible. One day she brought in ‘cupcakes’, and believe me, they were more a pile of cereal than a cupcake. It was an insult to cupcakes of the world to call that pile of cereal a cupcake. But, as she said, it was a ‘light cupcake, because I’ve got to think about my diet.’ I love food- I love cupcakes. I don’t ever diet because I care about health and I don’t think diets are healthy or necessary. She disagreed.

“Being skinny is one important goal of a woman’s life,” she said. YEAH RIGHT, I thought. SO, I’M NOT A WOMAN ANYMORE, I GUESS? I identify as a woman. I biologically am a woman. I feel like a woman, and I think any of those things is enough to ‘be a woman’. You don’t suddenly lose your once you decide to eat real cupcakes, instead of cereal piles in a paper foil because ‘It keeps you skinny.’ Oh, another quote: “Girls don’t fart.” I fart. So do you. Everyone farts, and I demand my right to do so.

My junior friends all told me about a teacher that proclaimed herself a feminist. This teacher also made everyone meditate during class, which likely didn’t help her popularity much, either.
“She’s way too into feminism,” they said. I never discuss feminism with friends who don’t identify as feminists, so I couldn’t say anything else than ‘why?’. She changed tests. Every ‘he’ became a ‘she’. So questions like ‘’John and her friends were riding a bike’’ and “Carl didn’t mind sharing her money” weren’t uncommon.

‘That’s not feminism,’ I said. “It’s the opposite; it’s sexism. It’s not equality at all.” They didn’t understand how I knew those things since I never discussed feminism with them, but this woman is one reason that a good part of my school hates feminists. Thank you very much, Ms. I Don’t Even Know Your Name But You’re Not A Feminist.

My classmates- most of them are fifteen, sixteen. I’m one of the younger ones, probably “the weird kid with the tear-print blouse”. They don’t get me, I guess. I’m used to questions like “Why are you wearing that? Guys don’t find that attractive at all.”

It’s not my goal in high school to be prom queen or something. I don’t need a boyfriend; I’d rather be friends with guys actually. I like how I dress. I don’t want a boyfriend if I have to change to get one. Personally, my goal in high school is to have fun and end up graduating, because the latter is kind of the point, anyway.
I have one friend who smokes at a regular basis. She’s fifteen and therefore not allowed to, but her school doesn’t really care about her health or the legal aspect. They care more about if she’ll be able to get pregnant. Who says she, an honor student with straight A’s and a university dream, wanted to get pregnant at all? She’s more like a career woman, but her counselor decided it was more important for her to have a baby. This is why it’s important that people recognize that feminism is still necessary, and that feminists are for equality alone.

I asked friends for examples of sexism they experienced in high school, or how people have reacted to feminism or feminists. A freshman friend replied: ‘Femiwhat?’ It isn’t spoken about. Feminism may as well not exist, as far as our school is concerned. Women may as well not exist. In history, we learn that “somewhere last century there was a women who gave us voting rights or something”. If this is what we get in high school, how do they expect us to grow into responsible and independent adults?

“But… you’re not goth, are you?”

I really didn’t mean to rip my tights. A loose thread got caught on my chair in science. I was wearing a pretty short mostly-black dress (this) and black Doc boots. I also happened to be wearing a Vietnamese navy headband. Someone asked me if I was goth now.

My webcam is really messed up and it took 2 pictures. Which do you prefer? I like the 2nd one. it kind of looks film-ish and vintage.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today I had the delightful experience of calling a boy who lives down the street to ask if he wanted to hang out. I was all alone on a Saturday, stuck at home, and I wanted some frozen yogurt but didn’t want to go alone. Besides, we sat together at lunch, and talked about Chuck Norris and string ensemble (he plays viola, I play upright bass), so I kind of assumed we were friends. He wasn’t home and later I got a message from the kid. He had that “uh-why-did-you-call-me-you-weirdo” tone to his voice and said “um” a lot in a very intentional way. Great. I’m getting kind of sick of how girls in the USA can’t be friends with guys. I try to be friendly and we always get along well at school, but if we hang out, suddenly it’s weird. Why can’t we all just be friends and make a cake of rainbows and smiles and then we can all eat it and be happy?

Is it my tights?

In other non-fashion-related news, I got the part of Lady Larken in the school play, “Once Upon a Mattress”. It was a lead in the original but in the middle school version I just have one song and my character is an idiot. I still get to sing, though (a duet with Sir Harry, my fiance) and so I guess that means they thought I didn’t suck at it too much. Yay me! (London Tipton, anyone?) (Oh god.) I’m pretty happy!

Wearing: Dad’s wrinkly shirt with rolled-up sleeves; thrifted denim shirt (tucked into back); Forever 21 green corduroy skirt; ripped Target tights; Docter Marten boots.

Armor

I took my ukulele out for a walk with a friend yesterday. Both being fashion bloggers, we liked to point out cool fashiony things on the way to Fro-Yo World and sing along to A Very Potter Musical songs with the uke. We were dressed, but we didn’t wear costumes or get dressed especially to please the public. Or even interest anyone. Or even look particularly good ourselves. (I can only speak for myself here, because it would be unfair to say that my friend shares my views. Maybe she does, maybe she doesn’t. The point is- we looked wonderful, but I myself care more about clothes than how they make my body look. I like things to fit, but my wardrobe is not based around me looking skinny and hlskdlkfnvlliowjfnzlsol…)We just wore what we liked, which lead to me being both flattered and unamused at the 20-year-olds that asked to take my picture with their iPhone. They walked off giggling. Very funny- let’s make a 14-year-old with a ukulele suddenly feel awkward about herself. At least the frozen yogurt was delicious, but I still was kind of mad. How dare they make fun of me like that? Yes, it was decided that they were making fun of me. They asked where I was from- “Mars”, they probably whispered to themselves, giggling stupidly.

Then I got home and shook it off and realized that nothing had actually happened. Someone thought I looked interesting and took a picture of me, and then walked away, while proceeding to laugh at something that could have been entirely irrelevant. Then I realized that even if they had been laughing at me, who cares? First of all, I didn’t even know them and would never see them again. Second of all, isn’t it one of my ultimate goals to achieve the nirvana of self-acceptance and confidence? Yes, I own a mirror. I am hygienic. I brush my hair. But I don’t inspect myself closely for blemishes every morning, then scold my body and feel upset at a minor flaw. I don’t wear makeup not because I’m cocky or overconfident, but because I feel no desire to look pretty. Yes, that’s right. I have moved onto the stage of utmost acceptance and I don’t even care if I am attractive or not. I try to be polite and kind and approachable, but I know I do not naturally look like a model and I’m not going to waste any time pretending to. I’m not trying to have you all comment, “BUT UR SOO PURDY OMG STOPP” or something. I think I’m around the average mark. I kind of like my eye color. But I don’t feel any desire to change how I look. I don’t know how to explain why. I just don’t, like you might not really care if your hair is brown or dirty blond, because it really doesn’t make a big difference in any way. This is almost directly linked to my attitude towards clothing. I don’t care if clothes look “flattering” on me- but I do care how my clothes look. They are my armor. They are sculpture. It’s wearing my heart on my sleeve in an *almost* literal sense. (Not my real heart, but my real sleeve, that is.) I can put on a character or a mood or an idea into clothes. I would feel more self-conscious in something that didn’t reflect me or something about me. The one thing I will never be ashamed of is my body. I’m stuck with it so I may as well get used to it and its scars and big feet.

What are your beauty standards for yourself?

Welcome to the frump fest (title written before post)

I’ve been feeling really strange about something and I thought I’d share it with people who will listen and now tell everyone at school about it. My mom told me that my teachers say I’m very popular.

I never really was noticeably popular before. I mean, I wasn’t always at the bottom, but nobody would say “that girl is popular”.And, really, that made me happy. I was the protagonist in the bad nineties movie that was my middle school experiences with being a self-proclaimed “unpopular kid”. My friends and I would hang out and play Mariocart and eat frosting and be in the drama club and it would be awesome to think that someday we would be  cool hipster college kids. I was never too hardcore about it… I wasn’t one of those girls who was so obsessed with being a loser she invented the ‘popular table’ and convinced herself girly-girls were weak and stupid.

Why was it so bad to have friends? Followers? “By this Christmas, every girl will have Doc Marten boots,” joked my mom. I didn’t know what to say. I don’t wear Docs because I want other people to. They’re not ‘my thing’, I don’t own them… and I don’t mind other people wearing them. But what kind of  a life is one where you decide what the trends are, until you are just part of a trend instead of being unique? Is it selfish to not want to share my personality completely?

Maybe I just feel like I’m different from Them. They are people, but a different species than anyone I knew in China. The girls are all nice enough (some are extra nice) except for the occasional Mean Girl. They all have to find subtle ways to draw attention to what makes them unique, because it seems illegal to shake everything up. I’m like Luna Lovegood and Stargirl all in one (sorry for the self-flattery). I feel like Igo from being the weird one to being the cool new unique one with everything I do- discover a new style to be inspired by, change schools, move houses, worship Daria more, hate Daria more, understand silent words better. If popularity is such a changing industry, it sounds like I wouldn’t last long in it. Maybe I don’t want to get involved. Maybe I’m making up excuses not to get involved because I don’t want to be sucked into being one of the girls who thinks thrift stores are for donating to alone.

Why am I being so condescending to Them? Why am I making it capital? Why is my tone in this post so superior when I don’t feel superior at all? I’m no better… just different. Yet, I don’t want to be like Them. Of course, every single one of Them is unique, but I’m more theatrical when I show everyone through fashion for example, which seems to be a horrifying idea.

I don’t even know what this post is about. I just needed to pour out a few thoughts that, in words, don’t match up at all. Can you make them work?

But before I get into this too much, I want to ask myself- am I even popular at all?

Wearing: Blazer: mom’s. I have claimed it and it shall be mine. Shirt: Salvation Army. Skirt: Random thrift store. Broach: My grandmother gave it to me when I was a little sparkle-lover. Fingerless gloves (fishnet with white lace): Made by me. Shoes: (not visible in these pictures): Doctor Martens

Sorry that this post is so dumb.

What are your thoughts about popularity? Is it good, bad, or neither?