I get a lot of people telling me the issues that I blog about are stupid, irrelevant, or don’t exist at all and how miserable my children must be to have me as a mother. Then, once in a while, I get a comment like this from Jessica. Thank you, Jessica! You rock.
Hello, I’m only 14 but I’m just commenting here to express how so so so grateful and relieved I am to FINALLY find out that I’m not the only one who pays attention to all the sexism that is really all around us, even when everyone else I know thinks I’m over reacting and have gone bonkers. Especially people my age.
Whenever my little sister turns on the TV to watch cartoons, I can’t help but start counting how many female characters there are, yet only to groan in frustration afterwards because there are always more male characters. And the main characters are never females. That is, unless the show’s target audience are girls.
Or whenever I read a book, or watch a movie. It’s always the same. Always.
Even the fact that we’re supposed to use our Dad’s surname as our own, instead of our Mom’s.
I feel truly angry about all this. I wish there were something I could do.
Yet I’ve learned keep it to myself, because whenever I tell someone, anyone, they just roll their eyes like I’m crazy. I’m just a stupid little girl. No one takes it seriously. No one takes ME seriously But they should. Because all this has to change.
It’s really sad how other girls/women don’t even seem to care. I honestly don’t understand. How could anyone think that sexism is “gone”?!
Anyway, I’m so grateful that I have found this blog. Thank you so much. I’m sure you are a very, very good mum.
Thank you again,
Wow. I can’t believe I’m four months late to see this!
Thanks so much for your reply and everyone’s support:D
This made my day!
But there’s something I would I like to share and I would really appreciate your advice. It’s about something that happened at school last week and I’m not sure if I did the right thing.
Anyway, during a discussion, I said “咩料” playfully, which basically means “what the heck”. It’s not a swear word, not even close, so technically it’s not against school rules at all. But when the teacher heard me, she glared at me and shouted, “WHAT KIND OF LANGUAGE IS THAT?! ESPECIALLY SINCE YOU’RE A GIRL!”
I was furious for having a sexist comment thrown at me by a teacher. So I looked at her and said,(in a perfectly polite tone) “I’m sorry for my language but I don’t think it matters whether I’m a girl or a boy.
She snapped back, saying,
“IT DOES MATTER. YOU ARE A GIRL AND YOU ARE WEARING A CHEUNGSAM!” (a traditional Chinese tight fitting dress worn by women, which limits the wearer’s movement, which is my school’s uniform)
I was absolutely furious. I tried not to say anything stupid but I couldn’t help looking angry and annoyed, which made her yell, “SIT AT THE BACK AT THE CLASSROOM!” at me.
I was so mad by that point that I said really angrily,
“I’M SORRY FOR MY LANGUAGE BUT I JUST REALLY HATE SEXISM!”
And then I got scolded for all that.
I posted what happened on Facebook and my mum shouted at me, saying that I was stupid and everything for fighting back and that she was disappointed with me.
Some of my schoolmates said that I disrespected the teacher and that I shouldn’t talk back.
But why should I respect my teacher when she doesn’t even know how to respect females?
Did I make a mistake? Did I do the wrong thing?
That is terrible and you are right! Do you ever watch “Homeland?” Carrie, the protag is brilliant, though she also is bipolar. She sees patterns, makes connections, and has insights. For this, she gets fired and put in a mental institution. On the episode I saw last night, video is found to prove Carrie is right. She’s crying and saying, “I’m right, I’m right.” I think one of the hardest things about being right is that it is so obvious yet it seems like no one can see it. It’s the pink elephant in the living room thing. Good for you for speaking out.
Reel Girl, I love your blog so much, so much more than you would ever know. I’m always sharing your posts with friends and family. I AM ALWAY calling out sexism and people think I’m dramatic or ridiculous.
A friend of mine just told me she’s happy to find out she’s having a boy because “well, we’re really traditional and we like the idea of the first-born male.” WHAT????? WHo says that? Are you serious? Sexism is giving more value to the person with the penis instead of the vagina. That’s what it is! And my husband thought I was some razy radical for pointing this out. Urgh!
Man, that stinks. I’m 15 but there is a great Young Feminists club at my school. I’m glad you’re finding online sources of feminism. Best of luck!
I’m jealous; you’re so lucky to have a feminist club at your school!
You are great! I noticed these things by the time I was 12 but didn’t think about them. I didn’t have the words to even be angry–I just thought it was the way the world works. Go you for being aware and don’t let anyone convince you otherwise. They might not see, might not want to see, or might just really not understand.
We love you Jessica, and I hope that can in some small way support you as you receive shame from those around you for your keen awareness of the mechanisms of patriarchal oppression.
woman of our future
You are definitely not alone or bonkers! In fact, you are intelligent enough to know that sexism is still present in our society. I am 13 and I share the same experiences with you! I never tried to advocate feminism openly in public because I know how ignorant, oblivious , and stubborn people are that they would not accept the truth, or flatly deny the existence of sexism. I would have had the courage if there was such a thing such as a feminist campaign club in my country. At least my sister and all of you here understand sexism!
I am most definitely not rolling my eyes over here Jessica! You are awesome!!! And I’m glad you found this blog too!! Thanks for speaking out!
Yes Jessica, you are awesome. And you are not alone. And when you get married, you do NOT have to take your husband’s last name. Keep fighting the good fight sister. Knowing you are out there even makes me feel less alone 🙂
«Even the fact that we’re supposed to use our Dad’s surname as our own, instead of our Mom’s»
Oh! I love this girl! Cheers, Jessica! There is hope. I hope my 6 year old grandaughter grows up exactly like you.
By the way, there is a thing I am totally uncapable of understanding: womem SO excited to get marriage and become Mrs. sometshing. Why do they want so desperately to take a man’s name? Don’t they have one already? And they go to all sort of problems to have her name changed. I tried hard but I can’t get it.
Glad there are other women who think like that. I’m so passionate about the topic I wrote an entire essay about it: http://pensieve.verou.me/post/40603145637/on-last-name-politics
For Jessica- YOU are not bonkers! Trust me, I bet most of the folks who read this blog feel the very same way you do a lot of the time, but I’m glad you you have taken the time to share with us, because we are all here, yelling and fighting and feeling crazy to the rest of the world too! It is tough, and very disheartening, because my mother, who is 60, was working to change many of the same things that I, who am 24, am still working to change, that YOU are also working to change. Sexism is far from gone- if anything, it is less “obvious” and so that makes it all the more difficult to combat in today’s world, for the very reasons you talked about: because people think you’re nuts when you do point it out. We’ve all got to keep making noise and spreading the word and living our lives in a way that fights the mountain of stereotypes and cultural norms that we are up against one day at a time. We will get there as long as we keep going, so don’t give up! Talk to the women and men in your life and explain, in even the simplest way, how as a girl growing up it is hard for you to have less positive and strong role models than the boys your age, and any other parts of your own experience that you think might get through to people. We’re all behind you, an entire world full of 100% NOT BONKERS people 🙂
Good for you Jessica… Keep speaking out x
Abi & Emma