Thursday, April 28, 2016

Why Is Being a Woman Still a Liability?

I just don't get it.

It's the year 2016, people. Twenty. Sixteen.

And yet here we are, with being female still being a hardship. A liability. A handicap, if you will.

Today, the home page of a major news organization carried the headline, "Cheerleading Team Nixes Tryout Tips After Outcry."

Here's  what this university - this institution of higher learning - values in its representatives: a "beachy glow." Hair with "volume." And don't leave out the all-important "false lashes." In other words, everything opposite of who we women really are when we wake up in the morning. Don't lose sight that the girl in the picture is also blonde and skinny. Two more traits that make a girl have the valued "look."

Makes me want to puke.

This week, I had a man suggest that my skirt was too short. It hit my knees. My knees. A man with whom I've had maybe two conversations in my life. A man who was bothered by the fact that my scandalous and I suppose seductive kneecaps were showing. Excuse me? First, who do you think you are? The clothes police? You have no legitimate reason to discuss anything with me, most especially the length of my skirt. Which hit my knees. Second, be glad I was too shocked to say or do what later occurred to me to say and do. We'd both be in worse shape than we are now.

This week, too, I read that a presidential candidate said another presidential candidate is only viable because she has the "women's card. She has got nothing else going." Here's the truth. I'm not a fan of either of these people, but for real? The only thing she's got - the only reason people are voting for her - is her gender? The implication is that we women are so uninformed, unintelligent, and thoughtless that we only cast votes for women because they're women? Further, the only value this woman herself has is her gender? She has done nothing in her life except flaunt her chromosomal makeup?

Give me a break. Her accomplishments, even if I disagree with them, are in spite of her gender, not because of it. I guarantee she's had to work twice as hard to prove her worth because of people who think her only worth is in her beachy glow and false lashes.

I'm just so sick of the double standard. I'm tired of seeing women - both those I know and those I don't - being treated as inferior because of their femininity. I'm tired of being told I can't because I'm a woman and then seeing someone who can just because he's a man. I'm tired of women with voices being called pushy and women with opinions being called loud. I'm tired of the assumption that I'm weak and ignorant. I'm tired of my value lying in what I can cook and how I can decorate and if I got my body back after baby.

We women are not accessories. We are not stupid. We are certainly not inferior. What year will it be when we as a society finally realize this?

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

To You, As You Test, From Your Teacher

I saw your hands tremble as you reached for the test. Your face displayed confidence, but your hands showed your heart. 

You're nervous, and I get it. You've worked hard and studied often, and you just want this test to show it. 

To you, right now, this score is everything. The score represents you, on a 10 point scale. It is your worth, from A to F. It is what matters, written in red.


But sweet child, it's really not. It's really not everything. It's far from your worth, and even coming from your teacher, it's not what matters. It's just a test.

What matters is what I've seen in you and from you during these weeks. The attention you've given, the details you've pored over, and the effort you've given. What really matters is the character you've shown as you've readied for the test and the perseverance you've had as you pursued what I taught.

This test? It's just a snapshot. It's just a one-time indication of how you did one time you answered some questions. That's it. That's all. Nothing more.

When you get your score back, I pray it's what you wanted. But if not? It's OK, because you - the value of who you are - could never be captured in one little number. You are more than an A and more than an F. You are a diligent chaser of the best you can be, and when scores come back and papers are filed, that's how I'll remember you. That is who you really are. Remember it.