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Monday, November 9, 2009

November: Girls Can't What?

http://www.vla.org/demo/Youth-Serv/cyart/jefferson_cup/images/2006%20Sweetgrass%20basket.jpg

Young women of the early 1900s had few career options compared to young women of today. However, Indian women had even fewer opportunities: most in the boarding schools were trained to be servants, like in Sweetgrass Basket. Has anyone ever told you or implied to you that you couldn't do something because you were a girl?



16 comments:

Little Willow said...

Yes, and then I set them straight. :)

Melissa Walker said...

Oh, yes. And then I tell them that if I'm not doing something, it's because I don't WANT to do it, not because I couldn't!

Rasco from RIF said...

Ah, yes, but my mother and grandmother taught me how to answer firmly and with grace...

Brie Becket said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brie Becket said...

Yes...But I am living the lifestyle that defies that right now!

Brie
www.socialgirls.com

Lorie Ann Grover said...

I don't think I've been told that! Woot!

MissAttitude said...

Story of my life in history class. We were divided into groups to discuss reform movements of the 19th century. I'm the only girl in my group, and the only African American. Not only did my group competely ignore the issue of women's rights needing to be reformed but they would completely ignore me. I took matters into my own hands because when we were asked to present our list of reforms I added women's rights/suffrage and labor reform without my group's knowledge (I tried to tell them). I learned to just take action and stand up for myself instead of passively waiting for them to 'allow' me to speak.

Shelf Elf said...

Yes - I worked in an almost all-male kitchen led by some pretty sexist old-school pastry chefs for five years. After about a year's worth of being told that women chefs sucked and couldn't be expected to do much, I didn't go away and they finally kept their opinions to themselves. There were certain jobs I was never permitted to do though.

Marlene Carvell said...

Unfortunately I’ve had way too many experiences with this issue, although as a young woman during the feminist movement of the 1960s and 70s, I learned quickly to assert myself. It may be hard to believe, but as a female high school teacher in 1971, I was expected to dress appropriately for the classroom, which meant a dress or skirt but NO slacks. This was ridiculous (especially when I look back at some of the mini skirts I wore – yikes!). So one day I wore slacks and in the middle of class, one of my junior boys raised his hand and asked if it was okay for teachers to wear slacks. I told him we’d find out, wouldn’t we? Well, there was lots of buzz but nothing official was said to me and two days later, half the female teaching staff wore slacks.

Sometimes people don’t even realize that they are promoting limitations. When I graduated from high school, the expectation largely was that I would move on to become a secretary, a nurse, or a teacher, and that would be only until I got married. Well, I have three older sisters: 1 was a secretary, 1 was a nurse, 1 studied to be a teacher. So what was left for me? (I wanted to be a writer but I didn’t even dare verbalize that dream.) Well, to make a long story short, I did become a teacher, but the irony was that when I told my father I was getting married, his major concern was that I would still finish my college education. This may seem insignificant today but in 1969, his position had changed 180 degrees from three years earlier when he was a man who wasn’t sure going to college was important for his daughters.

As a teacher in a public high school and a private college, I witnessed many situations where girls were denied opportunities, especially in extracurricular activities and sports. (I even overheard coaches telling their male team members that they played like a bunch of girls. Ouch!) I feel very fortunate, however, to have also seen the changes that have taken place, and by the time I retired, girls were receiving equal opportunity both in and out of the classroom. I also felt blessed that my sons grew up in an environment where having a girl for a friend did not mean she had to be a girlfriend and understanding that there is no such thing as men’s work and women’s work. (My husband won’t let me do the laundry. Cool eh?)

Sarahbear9789 said...

When someone tells me that I am not able to do something, I have to prove that I am worth it and I am stubborn about giving up. My parents believe that I can do anything that I set my mind to.

FreeDloadsites said...
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Marlene Carvell said...

Good for you, Sarah!

zaramarshmallow said...

Although I can't recall a personal experience where this has happened to me (fortunately), I was researching Bonnie Greer, who is a particular inspiration to me. I found that she had been studying law until her professor told her women shouldn't go into that profession, and so she dropped out. I hope that professor acknowledged at least some of her current achievements.

Dia Calhoun said...

Marlene,
Your post about the slacks was similar to my own experience in the 60s--except I was a gradeschool student agitating for the right for girls to wear pants to school! I think eventually we were allowed to on Fridays.

My parents always led me to believe I could do pretty much anything I chose to do. I was lucky. I was told I couldn't go to the park alone because I was a girl--situations of possible physical danger were different for my parents than intellectual achievement. I still dream of being a warrior princess.

Marlene Carvell said...

Ah, Dia, I must be a little older as I was in high school in the 60s and, yes, girls were not allowed to wear slacks in my school either. I remember an exception was made for a friend of mine who was experiencing a terrible case of poison ivy but that was only after she obtained a doctor's permission slip.

warrior princess . . . what great costume possibilities!

YAtoday Book Blog said...

I received a purple polyester pants suit with this fluffy white and purple jabot on the top for Christmas the year I was in second grade, 1970. That was the first year we could finally wear pants to school, but only if it was a pants suit. I remember wearing my pants suit to school the first day after Christmas vacation and Jeff Olsen told me I looked just like Shirley Partridge!!! I was on cloud nine for the entire day and probably the entire year after THAT comment.

As I was first writing this, I was thinking it was pretty silly to be thrilled to be compared to Shirley Partridge, but she actually was pretty cool. Imagine a single mother in 1970 who was a musician and a mom. You go Shirley!!!