Sunday, February 14, 2016

Learning Feminism at School

My budding feminism was triggered all the way back in nursery school when my teacher always let the boys have first go at the blocks, and they never let the girls play.  It really used to fry my butt because I loved blocks and the ones at school were the awesome brick shaped ones that you could build really high towers with, while the ones I had at home were the small square baby kind. 
Of course, this nonsense doesn't happen todays because girls and boys aren't conditioned in the same ways they were when I was little - thank goodness!
So that was my first taste of gender discrimination at the age of four. Even then, I hated that unfairness - hated it.  I had three boy cousins and they always shared their matchbox cars, GI Joes, sandbox, trucks, dozers, blocks, whatever they had with me and it didn't matter that I was a girl.  I couldn't understand why it should matter to teachers! 
Answer?  It certainly should not have.  But that was the early sixties. 
It continued right on up through the early seventies when I was forced to take Home Economics class, because, you guessed it, I had a vagina.  The penises were allowed to take wood shop and auto mechanics, which later might have actually given me a chance to make a decent wage.  But no, I had to play Suzy Homemaker and make myself a demure little skirt and bake cakes from scratch.  There was that one time when some kid threw up on himself and us lucky girls got to practice using the washing machine and dryer to clean his clothes.  What an opportunity!
The school dress code allowed us to wear pants, but the Home Economics teacher, an uppity, keep-women-barefoot-and-in-the-kitchen-1950s-holdover required dresses be worn on Home Economics class days, and mini-skirts were out.  Because, femininity, to her, had nothing to do with feminism. 
Many women bought into all that crap in the 60s and 70s, and followed all the rules that had been set down by men and scrupulously followed by women for centuries.  We were our own worst enemies because we took so long to learn the word no – and mean it. 
There are still places all over the world that need a lot of work.  I'm just glad my granddaughter can play with blocks at school if she wants.  Right in there next to the boys. 

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