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?