Saturday, October 24, 2009

Pink Bull-Shirt Day

I would like to mention that this blog was inspired by a well-written rant-turned-essay by a very good friend of mine, who I'll call L. Thanks L, I hope this measures up to yours.

Once upon a time(September 2007) in a far away place(Nova Scotia) there was a ninth-grade boy who wore a pink shirt to the first day of school. Most everyone in the school couldn't care less about what he wore on his own person but two other boys decided to go up to him, call him gay and threaten to beat him up. A truly lousy start to high school if I've ever heard one.

But two kind souls by the name of Travis Price and David Shepard heard this decided that they couldn't just sit by and do nothing. So they marched down to the store and picked up 50 pink shirts to pass out at school the next day, they also emailed hundreds of students to participate. The result? A sea of of hundreds of pink shirts meeting the eyes of the boy and the two bullies the next day. The ninth-grader was overjoyed and the bullies never came near him again.

Now before I go on, I would like to express how UTTERLY AWESOME I think this is and I would be if I was ever to meet these two boys or someone like them. I believe they got some sort of award for their efforts, they better have. Talk about fighting for what's right.

But moving on, this wonderful event has caused many many schools across Canada and the States to adopt a yearly "Pink Shirt Day" where students wear pink shirts and usually get a group yearbook photo taken.

Nice concept, but something about this rubs me the wrong way.

Probably because that wearing pink shirts is ALL they're doing. I haven't heard of any exceptions to this(there probably are and if so, I apologize). And if students individually chose to wear pink shirts on a specific day to commemorate the wonderful thing those boys did, or if the school held seminars or a huge assembly to watch a documentary about Columbine or any other bullying-caused school shooting then I would be totally behind this.

But when the school just goes "Yeah let's all wear pink shirts to fight bullying! WHOO! SCHOOL SPIRIT!" it becomes a huge joke: "LOOK AT ME, I'M LIKE, WEARING A PINK SHIRT AND I'M A GUY LOLOLOLOLOL!!!"

Or in the very least, similar to wearing a political button because you thought the button was cute.

And I'm sure a lot of kids wearing the shirts are doing it in support of the anti-bullying campaign but it just isn't actually DOING anything.

Allow me to make an extended metaphor: When I was in eighth grade, my teacher was picking on me and being mean to me for no reason whatsoever (She also did lots of other things like verbally sexually harass a male student and make us have silent reading for two hours while she went on Facebook on a school computer, but that's another tale for another day) so my mother and I did what we were supposed to and called the school to discuss what to do about the issue. Their solution was to send me to the guidance counsellor every day for an hour or so and they apparently reprimanded my teacher.

We talked a lot.

The teacher continued to make me miserable for the rest of the school year.

The closest thing to a solution that was ever offered was "Try to look at her in a different light" (I'll write a poem about that, and I'll call it "Different Ways of Looking At Being Humiliated in Front of My Class").After a month I said "To heck with this" and stopped going to the counselling sessions.

So really all it was was a whole lot of talking and not a lick of doing.

And that's what "Pink Shirt Day" is now, a whole lot of students prancing around in pink and not doing a bloody thing. Not even talking about it.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Single Sex Classrooms

Recently there's been some debate about single sex classrooms. For anyone who doesn't know, single sex classrooms is the general term applied to segregating schools by gender. Girls in one class, boys in another.

There are a lot of good arguments for single sex classrooms. The biggest one being that girls are two years ahead of boys in terms of development so segregating would allow more individualized attention to the different developmental stages. And that it would help subvert traditional gender roles because students would feel more free without the opposite sex around.

I have also heard of but cannot confirm the existence of a study that showed segregated students doing 10% better on tests. This was said by my slightly sexist English teacher from last year so I wouldn't pay too much attention to it.

I acknowledge the value of these arguments, but I have to disagree very strongly.

I've been a student for quite a while now, my academic progress has been hampered by bad teachers, bullies picking on me, and the crappy IEP system(I'll rant long and hard about this in a future post), but I cannot say that my academic progress has ever been hampered by the presence of males in my classroom. In fact, it probably was better but I'll explain that later.

Single sex classrooms worked just fine back in long-ago times when there was a San Andreas Fault between the sexes in society. When girls stayed home and sewed and cooked and cleaned and boys went out and worked. Society isn't like that anymore. Both sexes can go into the exact same careers. There's no reason to have separate education except for Physical Education in high school because of physiological differences.

We'd be doing all kids a great disservice if we had single sex education. Whether we like it or not, segregating schools will only cause tension and division in the student body.

While students may (I say this hesitantly because I don't believe it to be true) feel more willing to break free of traditional sex roles in the class room, being almost entirely separated from the opposite sex students in the school will the make them this unknown enigma that they don't get the opportunity to try to understand. And as we've seen many times, people often react to what they don't know about with fear and anger.

Socially it's a very bad idea. Most school-age students don't get much interaction with their peers outside of school. If they don't get opportunities to learn about the opposite sex while they're in school, even though they get recess together that's less than two hours out of an entire day, they'll probably never grow out of the "boys are stupid/girls are icky" thought process and we'll re-open the San Andreas Gender Fault even wider than it was originally.

And perhaps coeducation is slightly detrimental to their academics, BUT:
A) Everyone has to eventually LEAVE SCHOOL and go live their lives and whether you got an 80 or a 90 on your math tests isn't relevant to the big picture.
and B) Isn't this a bad attitude to enforce? "These people work differently than us so we won't work with them at all." Great life skill to teach there.

And let's be honest here. This environment will only breed extreme sexism and turn out a bunch of kids (unless they're parents teach them VERY strongly otherwise) who see the opposite sex as "less than".

More honesty: A large amount of middle school and high school age girls are extremely catty. Shoving 20-30 of them in classrooms together all day, with no balance of boys(who usually aren't catty, someone should do a scientific study on this. Or at least a documentary on The Passionate Eye.) will only amp up the social drama and decrease academic proficiency. Like girls don't get picked on enough.

As a female student, I would never ever EVER want to be a in a gender-segregated school. What may be slightly good academically speaking, is a horrible idea socially speaking. Life is all about balance, let's keep taking steps forward instead of taking 20 steps back.

Also, if your child is doing badly in school because there are members of the opposite sex in their class, you have bigger issues to sort out.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Homophobia and a bit of book banning.

(Kind of switch topics on you Meghan...Sorry! ^.^'' love you!)

So most people have probably heard at least someone say once (wither it be in the class, or outside of school) "That's so/ your so gay."

Well, what does that actually mean? Why do people use that sexuality to offend others?

Well...To answer the second question: Because people in schools (though it isn't As frequent nowadays) get harassed because of their sexuality, so others (usually the ones harassing people) then use that to offend others, who are most likely perfectly straight.

Now for the first question: What does being homosexual actually mean? Well..It means liking the same gender. Is that so horrible?

Well, I guess it is to a lot of people. And books with even a bit of "Sexual content" (I.e: A 'Disney' type kiss) is horrible and should be banned.

It's like "Yes children being exposed to pornography damages them BUT THIS ISN'T PORNOGRAPHY IT'S WORDS! JUST WORDS! Not even the whole book! Just a few select pages! If you have a kid who reads this books purely for the sex scenes, you have bigger problems! And to be blunt, most kids who are reading books usually aren't the "WOOHOO! DRUGS ALCOHOL SEX PARTYYYYYYY" crowd!" -Meghan (Over MSN today)

But honestly, back to the homophobia issue: Meghan found a few stupid posts by Ginny (cant spell her last name) on twitter...

"Being bombarded with taxpayers who are ready to come and fight against gay/porn for youth in our library tonite.8:53 AM Mar 3rd from web
Networked with many today. All on board regarding local library issue. Homosexual books for teens on shelves. Lots of reinforcements.2:52 PM Mar 1st from web
it gets worse
# Meeting with library director tonight to discuss homosexual books for little kids in our library. Step 2 in complaint process.3:38 PM Feb 25th from web
# Sean Penn must be proud of his win so he could advocate for gay marriage. ICK. Shut the TV off after THAT one.6:12 AM Feb 23rd from web
Referring to Sean Penn's speech when he got Best Actor Oscar for Milk." (sorry for the big clump of it.)

And she says it's not about homosexuality...Yeah...sure.

Anyways, I think I have tackled this issue enough and shall hopefully blog again soon! :D

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Rant Saturday!!

(Kitty is staying over at my house and forgot her password, so this is actually her post.)

Instead of ranting this Monday, I (Kitty) shall rant on Saturday this time! Again: Please be warned of...uh...coarse language.

And the topic?

Very simple: Ginny Maziarka.

Her posts relating to "Inappropriate" books is really pissing me off! I mean honestly! Like Boy Meets Boy (Refer to Meghan's previous blog post) It's more PG then most DISNEY MOVIES!!!

And her view on Obama? "So here's the deal. Compare the above and the following with a leader from past history. Pick anyone you like. I'll pick......Hitler." (Referring to the I pledge Video)

Pretty soon she'll be wanting to ban children! It'll go like this: Because of our children and wanting to protect them, we'll have to rate Disney movies 'R' for having a kiss scene, put certain stickers on Cd's for saying 'shoot', and National Geographic magazines will need parental permission for buying them!

So, why bother with it? Why don't we just ban children? I man, it would solve all our problems. We could actually be fully free after banning children! They're the source of the problems!

Anyways, back to the Obama problem. In the I Pledge video, she tells us how controversial people are with their pledges:
"To reduce my use of plastic … use less bottled water … plant 500 trees this year … to be more green … to no longer use plastic bags at the grocery store" Because helping to save the environment is soo horrible.
"I pledge to sell my obnoxious car and buy a hybrid." Yup, helping the environment and economy is the worst thing in the world.
"I pledge to be of service to Barack Obama." Yup, that's controversial all right...Promising to be of service to Obama. That makes perfect sense.

Back to the Hitler issue,


Right, because the similarities are immense.:
"The evidence that Obama = Hitler is pretty convincing. Consider: they both have brown hair, two syllables in their first name, and are taller than 5'5" yet shorter than 6'5". If that isn't evidence enough, consider that both men, celebrated Christmas, wears glasses, gives flowers to their wives, and so on. Srsly, folks, you don't have to be a dining room table to make the connection."
From Sleepless In West Bend.

"As I said earlier as well... The Nazi's also liked labeling things (Jews with the Star of David) and putting them in their own sections (concentration camps), just like Ginny."-DanBack.

"Ginny thinks any comment that doesn't buy the line of crap she is selling is disrespectful. I have a screenshot of some of the comments she has deleted - things as horribly disrespectful as' The 2nd open challenge has been issued: Please explain your objection to the completely non-sexual "Heather Has Two Mommies", and tell us what you want the library to do with it.

Pretty tame, huh? It's not like the person called her a fat homophobic Nazi bookslut. Which she totally isn't, and it would be totally wrong to call her that."-DanBack (again...Man I love that guy.)

Now back to the rant.

She says she's protecting our children from things like gays, lesbians, and all those good people, and prevents children from being exposed to things that aren't good for children in PUBLIC libraries.

She needs to think, just once about what she's doing. A library is for everyone not just for her. If she doesn't like what books are in the library GET THE HELL OVER IT! If one book may not be good for her, may help someone else. But she never thinks about that. I bet she doesn't even bother reading any of the books she tries to ban. (Or 'challenge') She just reads the blurb and says "Oh, this seems bad...I'd better try and get this banned."

And now for my conclusion: Thank you very much for reading this (If you haven't stopped half way through) and have a good...few days? Week? Whenever Either me or Meghan decide to post next. (hopefully soon) So now..Goodbye!