R., a female reader, writes:
I’m a long-term fan of your website, and visit every day to check for updates. I thought that you, and your readers, would find this interesting:
My younger sister is 17 years old. At her school (a private girl’s school, nonetheless) a mandatory class is ‘Modern Social Issues.’ Every term, students are given a topic which they discuss in full. They form debate teams to discuss the pros and cons of the topic, write essays or poems, research articles, and so on. This past term, the topic was, “Gender Oppression in the Modern Age: Is Feminism Still Viable in Modern Society?” Quite a mouthful, and quite an easy topic for feminist-raised young women to think about.
After extensive research on the subject (said ‘research’ being mostly whining about the poor, poor women), each student was to write an essay discussing in detail the subject, and what it means to her personally. As my sister has had a traditional upbringing (only soured by our mother’s struggle with cancer and inability to homeschool us), hers was by far the most interesting, most honest, and, of course, the lowest marked essay of the class. The teacher went so far to suggest that she have ‘catchup’ classes to better comprehend the topic.
My mother asked why, when it was an opinion piece, so any opinion is correct, and it is therefore unfair to judge each student based on how they match up to the teacher’s personal beliefs. That was not met with much amusement from the teacher or the principal. Anyway, my sister has given permission for me to reproduce her essay here, as she also likes your blog, and we both hope you will like her badly-received essay.
GENDER OPPRESSION IN THE MODERD AGE: IS FEMINISM STILL VIABLE IN MODERN SOCIETY?
BY LUCY CAT
As a young female teenager occupying a place in modern society, I understand what it is to be oppressed. Barely a day goes by when I am not oppressed, suffocated, smothered and pinned under a stifling oppression. Every TV show, every Internet site, every magazine, book, radio broadcast, every man and woman, oppresses me.
As a young female teenager occupying a place in modern society, I understand when I hear other women around me say what it feels like to be forced into a mold. Forced to be something that feels wrong, emotionally, physically, spiritually and mentally. Forced to do and say things you do not agree with, just so you can be accepted and allowed to go on with your life.
As a young female teenager occupying a place in modern society, I understand when I read about body image issues in the media. Being told what to wear, how to do your hair, what makeup to use, what shoes make your legs look sexier in what jean shorts, what bra will turn the most heads. I understand when I read of complaints that women are told how to act to be accepted, and I hate it.
As a young female teenager occupying a place in modern society, I understand when I see oppression. I understand when I see other women struggling to come to terms with their place. I understand when I see the tears of women who have had all of their dignity and softness of soul stripped by society. I understand when I hear of women who cannot do what they want thanks to discrimination.
As a young female teenager occupying a place in modern society, I understand when I hear it said that feminism is no longer viable.
I understand when I see that I have to wear tiny skirts and publicly visible underwear to reclaim my sexuality. I understand a song tells me that I am beautiful [if I dance like a stripper]. I understand when I see women stuffed into business suits, irritably peeling the clinging fingers of their wailing children from their pinstriped skirts and ushering them into the waiting arms of daycare staff. I understand when I see the empty home, the shattered marriage, the children eating canned soup alone because Mommy is working late. I understand when I see the downtrodden man. I understand when I sit in an empty pew on Sunday morning.
I understand when I’m told that I may care for children….as long as they are not my own. I understand when I’m told that I may clean home….as long as it is not my own. I understand when I’m told that I may cook….as long as it’s not for MY family. I understand when I’m told I may intimately please my husband….as long as he’s paying. I understand that I may be whatever I want in life…as long as it’s not what I want. I understand when I’m told that I may be at peace….as long as that is during yoga classes at the company gym.
I understand when I watch a Slutwalk on TV. I understand when I see abortion clinics. I understand when I see modern art. I understand when I see someone from behind, and cannot guess what gender they are. I understand when I see a mother in a soldier’s uniform reunited with the child she hasn’t seen in over 6 months. I understand when see pornography on late night TV. I understand when I hear that it no longer takes a man and a woman to conceive a child. I understand when I see all-girl football teams.
I understand when I see motherhood mean nothing. I understand when I see love as a text message. I understand when I see free condoms for 13 year olds. I understand when I see dignity as a fishnet shirt and a smug placard. I understand when I see a single father. I understand when I see two women on top of a wedding cake.
I understand that feminism has no place in my life.
—– Comments —-
Lucy Cat, go to the head of the class —- now!
Terry Morris writes:
Wow! … Wow!
Out of the mouths of babes. Someone’s done her job, in spite of her inability to homeschool.
A big, big “THANK YOU!” to this girl’s outstanding mother.
I second that. What a wonderful mother. Her positive influence will be felt by her children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren for many years to come.
Rose H. writes:
Let’s see, the teacher thinks she needs to better “understand the subject.” Anyone who insists that we are so much better than the old Communist lands just isn’t paying attention.
Thanks, Mrs. Wood, for your blog.
Kevin M. writes:
This is what is wrong with the school system (and this private school): they are mass-producing drones driven by ideology rather than independent thought. How wonderful for us. We have now just caught up with Saudi Arabia!
I hope this girl has the fortitude to withstand the indoctrination machine that is pitted against her right to choose who she is in this world. Her enemy is formidable.
The so-called “war on women” is being waged by…other women!
Please add my congratulations to the chorus praising Lucy’s prescient, mature essay. Comprehending the real ramifications of feminism at a young age will spare her from many struggles to understand her best place in the world.
Art from Texas writes:
I must praise this girl. We need more people as conscious of reality in the world as her, and as willing to challenge academic orthodoxies. The schools reaction is part of the reason why it is so hard for me to trust upper secondary education: it is truly being used as a re education camp.
I want to ask R. if that was the only material that had to be turned in for the class. Was there any other material such as research logs? On another forum many have expressed doubt that one page paper without citations would be acceptable for a research oriented class, and I myself am surprised that an opinion paper was what the school desired as the final part of such a course.
I believe R. already answered that question. She said there were multiple assignments related to the topic, including essays, poems and research papers. She also said,
After extensive research on the subject (said ‘research’ being mostly whining about the poor, poor women), each student was to write an essay discussing in detail the subject, and what it means to her personally. [emphasis added]
This was, according to R., not a research paper.
Hurricane Betsy writes:
That was a tremendous essay. I hope L.C. isn’t too discouraged. The unfair mark given to this student reminded me of an assignment our Grade 8 class received from a practice teacher. He asked us to write an essay giving our opinion on a certain somewhat controversial topic. I wrote against the resolution, passionately. I received top mark, with the teacher adding, “Very good, though I do not agree with your opinion at all.”
See, back in the 1960s, at least, there were some good teachers.
I’m certain that there are good teachers, even superb teachers that have had extra positive effect on young students’ lives. They write stories and make movies about them, don’t they? I never experienced one. None are memorable for any good reason. There was no meaningful connection. But, it had nothing to do with them, because it could have nothing to do with them. They were only my teachers.
The remarkable Lucy Cat is remarkable in spite of her teachers, especially the fraud that graded her essay. It was Lucy Cat’s family, her home life and her other relations that nourished her inspired young mind, not a modern liberal school system that authors it’s own “truths.”