My voice is not important. I’m merely a small written word on the internet that a few strangers might stumble upon. I am a nobody. A nobody who lives in North Carolina. A nobody who likes to write and decided to finally try to be heard. As I go online and read posts from other blogs, I think the same thing about them. They are a nobody. I have never heard of this person. Yet here they are, shoving their opinions down my throat. Here they are, thinking that what they have to say is important.
Where did they get this confidence from? This self-importance? They’re probably some narcissistic a**hole. Yet here I am, writing online for the world to see because I think I have something important to say. Like most people who feel that way, I’m actually just rambling on about nonsensical ideas. I guess I’m a narcissistic a**hole. That’s what random Facebook studies have told me anyway. Apparently taking too many selfies means I’m narcissistic and doesn’t take into account that I’m gorgeous and that I like looking at myself.
Everywhere I look someone thinks that their opinions matters. It’s rather amazing. It’s phenomenal how many bigoted people think that what they have to say matters. How many people whose opinions aren’t complete garbage think that their voice should be heard. Working in retail and hospitality has shown me that some people just want to be acknowledged. I think everyone does. Nobody wants to be ignored.Yet, only the masses are listened to.
I honestly wasn’t sure where I was taking tonight’s post. I was just writing about my observances. There needs to be a way for the minorities to be heard. It’s difficult to appease every single individual. Not everyone is going to be happy. Being white, practically half of my needs are already met. Being a woman, I still struggle in some areas. I’ve got it easy but most of what I’m currently saying right now is being ignored by 90% of any male readers I may get. Also, 62% of statistics are made up on the spot just so people can try to make a point and still sound smart.
It is quite honestly a miracle that I actually learned anything while in public school. I’m not stating that I had awful teachers. There were a number of teachers that taught me that were amazing. Several of them have become permanent voices in my head still guiding me in the right direction. The public school system had failed me. It taught me that my education was not nearly as important as my male counterparts.
The school board had decided to implement a dress code during my time in hell, I mean, high school. If one chose not comply with the new policy then they either had to sit in the office until their parents could bring them a spare outfit or they had to sit in ISS, In School Suspension. I drove the only car my family had every day. Often times the school would not let me leave campus to go retrieve another outfit. Probably for the best, I likely would not have returned that day. I honestly would have enjoyed ISS except for the fact that I wasn’t allowed to do anything. I’m not complaining because I couldn’t play games on my phone or doodle in my notebook. I mean I was literally not allowed to do anything except sit there and stare at the wall. I was even yelled at for trying to complete my homework in ISS. Please tell me that I am not the only one who sees a problem with that.
After I graduated, I continued to see news stories about high schools around the country trying to regulate the way teens dressed. As I read many of the new policies being attempted, I began noticing a trend. This trend had been noticed by many before myself and has continued to be recognized by many after me. A lot of these policies often seem more geared toward regulating the way that female students dressed. Even as I had sat in ISS, I noticed a discernible difference between the number of female students in there with me for violating dress code than males.
What exactly was the reasoning for the dress code in the first place? The school board wanted a distraction free zone for learning. That would totally make sense, except for the fact that I wasn’t learning. I was missing class and sent to a place where I wasn’t allowed to study or do homework. Now you may be thinking, ‘If you wanted to learn so bad then you should have just abided by the dress code.’ That does seem logical but let’s not forget that I was a stubborn teenager who hated authority and refused to follow rules that I felt were unneccessary. I was often sent to ISS for wearing holes in my jeans. How exactly are my classmates being distracted by my thighs while they’re hidden under a desk? How are my shoulders so appealing that it prevents people from focusing on what the teacher is saying? We should be more concerned about people being turned on by a shoulder.
Recently, the school board in my area decided they wanted to ban skinny jeans. Why? Well, they’ve stated that some over weight girlshad become the subject of ridicule for wearing these type of jeans to school. Instead of suspending the bullies, they decided the best course of action was to ban this particular type of pant. The policy seems rather sexist. Reading through it, I says that if a student does wear these type of jeans then they must wear a dress or large shirt to cover their butts. I am not saying that men are not allowed to wear dresses. In fact, I would absolutely love it if a bunch of high school boys showed up to school in skinny jeans and dresses. However, in this current day, it is far more common for women to wear dresses. Meaning that this policy is attempting to target women and show them that their education is still not as important as their male classmates.
It’s so easy to find flaws in these dress code policies. The skinny jean ban, for example, is notably hilarious for the fact that their labeled that way for being skinny around the calf and ankle. Many jeans, no matter what style, will typically be fitted around the butt. If they really wanted women to look like shapeless blobs, then they should be banning fitted jeans. Just saying, if they want to hide their sexist intentions then they should be a little more smart about it. They are, after all, a board for our education. Shouldn’t they be capable of figuring out ways to improve our education instead of prohibit learning for women?
That being said, I hope that women keep trying to prove that these policies are sexist. I hope students rebel. Not just the women because women aren’t taken seriously. If only women take a stand for their rights, then they will never be treated the same. If men take the same stand in defense for women, then maybe some changes will happen. Maybe young girls, who actually want to learn while in school, will get the same chance as men.
For the past year and counting, I have been employed at a retail gaming store. Seeing as I am, in fact, a female; I know that this market is not specifically for men. Gaming, while seeing a shift in its demographic, still appears to be male dominated. After only a month of working for this company, it became eminently clear as to why. Within my first month, I had multiple male customers attempt to inform me that I am not a gamer. This was decided based on a series of questions that usually involved obscure anime titles. I have had multiple men dismiss my knowledge, even on store policy, and immediately ask my male coworkers for a second opinion. Some customers refuse to acknowledge my existence all together. I could probably type a 60 page rant and sell a novel about all the chauvinistic behavior that occurs just in the world of gaming but instead I’d like to take this in another, more broad, direction.
This is not going to be about how I am being excluded from a culture that I know more about than some men. Sometimes they do know more than I possibly ever could. After all, I’m not omniscient. Sometimes they don’t know anything but insist I am wrong anyway; For example, one man attempted to inform me that women can’t use the force because females don’t have enough mitochondria to be force sensitive. Working at this company has not been the only time that I have ever experienced sexism. A plethora of women that I speak to about these issues experience similar problems to the ones I stated previously. Maybe not those exact situations, seeing as some of them are relatively specific to my job. In general, I typically find that my opinion, my voice, is often ignored. I am not considered a human worthy of having anything significant to say. I am not the only one.
When I go out, when I work, when I walk down the street, when I walk across campus, or even if I decide to just leave my house that day; I am at risk for men hitting on me. This isn’t me bragging about how attractive I am. I have been objectified since I hit puberty, as I know many women have experienced the same problem. This is me pointing out that I am in danger. Notice that I used the word risk? I mean that very word. It isn’t an annoyance in the way many men assume. I’m not complaining about compliments or flattery. I actually rather enjoy that aspect of the whole ordeal. Unfortunately, many women around the world have varying forms of unfortunate interactions. Seriously, it’s just a quick Google search away to see what horrible crimes men have committed just because a woman has told him “no.”
There is one answer that seems to work, the one answer that typically makes men just let it go: “I have a boyfriend.” It’s strange how my simple answer of “no” has no meaning to many men except for when it is followed by the statement above. Even during times when I am absolutely single, I use that answer. I don’t particularly enjoy lying. It’s honestly not the best policy. However, these men have more respect for my possibly imaginary boyfriend than they do for me.
Here is all I want; the hopefully obvious point that I am attempting to make. It’s quite simple really. I honestly don’t think that I’m asking for much; just a little respect. I’d like equality. I would like for men to talk to me and actually care about what I have to say. I want them to listen to me. I want them to acknowledge that I have interests similar to theirs and I’m not faking it for attention. Honestly, I don’t want that type of attention from the guys who dismiss me so easily. I want to be able to just say no and let that be taken at face value. I want to be taken seriously as a human being. That’s not too much to ask, is it?