Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Heterosexism and school

Oh joy. My younger daughter got a chewing at school because her class has supposedly been name-calling some other pupils. Now, I don't like calling people names, except their own, of course. But I resent that the teacher took apart my kid and tried to pressure her into dishing out dirt on the other kids. She didn't, but the whole concept of trying to make kids rat out on each other is just nasty and vindictive - adolescents are highly dependent on each other, and trying to pry them apart is not a wise move - they'll just close ranks even tighter. I'm obviously very happy that my daughter confided in me about this, and will try and help her find her way through this mess.
What I'm not at all happy about is the issue that the supposed name-calling was about. I'm given to understand my daughter's class got into trouble for expressing their unhappiness about the adolescent miniskirt-and-lippy-ooh-i'm-so-sexy -culture. They're 12-year olds. If they're being critical of hyperfeminity being force-fed to them, frankly, more power to them. If, as I'm wont to guess, they're dishing it out to the kids taunting them for being not feminine enough, I'm all for the kids doing the resistance. Adolescents should have the peace to grow into themselves without too much pressure from the outside to grow up as soon as possible, as vapid as possible. Even if it's peer-pressure (and by God if it's the teachers pressurising the kids...). If this is the case, and the school indeed is allowing gender expression -based harassment, the school's gonna get some serious grief. If my daughter has been stupid enough to participate in said harassment, I'll chew her out all right. But I wanna know first, and I'm not gonna make her squeal on her friends. Nor am I gonna start in an incriminatory spiral of blame and counterblame. But heterosexism must not be the only game in town, or school.

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