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Sexual Harassment

Hello,

My name is Lela and my friend is Jess. For the last few weeks, because we voice our opinions and defend comments when someone says something racist or sexist, we have been harrassed considerably. Boys will put "Men Rule" on their arms and show it off, even to teachers, and are never told to wash it off. (December 17, 2003) They make comments about us and what we believe in behind our backs and to our face. They shout out in class "Women are stupid" (December 16, 2003).

A few years ago a history teacher put "women make better slaves" and is constantly saying degrading things but nothing is ever done. In fact, when we heard boys say things like "i wanna fuck her" or "she's a 10" or she "belongs in the kitchen" in class and nothing is ever said to these people except the occassional ie "Kris" or whatever their name happens to be but it does not stop them. Today we were subject to the "Men Rule" on the arms and purposely showing of it to teachers who didn't even say to wash it off and to us and our principal and nothing was said.

Actions like this continue to happen and nothing is being done. We've told teachers and even recently went to our principal who has just told us to ignore it, etc. We don't believe we should sit there and take this kind of harrassment not only to ourselves but to other females. We go to a school of around 130 people in a "hick" town area.

We want to know what we can do because this is continuing to happen and nothing at all is being done. We both want to be in a situation where we can learn not be subject to gender harrassment. It is definelty has a negative influence on us and we can't ignore it. We would appreciate any help you could give us.

Thank you,

Lela and Jess

 

   

Dear Lela and Jess,

I'm sorry to hear about your situation, how annoying to have teachers hurt the situation more than help it.

I know that it is not easy to do, but ignoring it is often the best defense -- any other defense comes off as defensive and even if that is how you feel, it's hard to let others know that because it makes it as if feminism is in need of defending. It's certainly good that you have each other -- strength in numbers, even two is better than one. For one, you know that you aren't the problem, but other people are. The other good response is humor -- for instance, when they talk about women being stupid -- perhaps ask why the girls are in the same classes then?

You could fight back with statistics, but that doesn't always work -- because then it makes feminism out to be a numbers game rather than about changed consciousness. I hope that gives you some hope and sense of what to do.

Good luck,

--Amy

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