Friday, August 9, 2013

Untraining Boot Camp

We need a Boot Camp to unlearn patriarchy. We need an intense 6 week course of untraining. For the first 3 weeks, we unwind the tape. You are a little girl. You do not learn by rote (and suggestion that this will be your work onward) to wash dishes, do laundry, set the table, curl your hair, iron, cross your ankles when seated. You learn that polite is what everyone needs to be; that nice needn't be your primary characteristic. You have never had to kneel on the floor in school to make sure your skirt touches the linoleum, planting permanently in your brain that what you wear is more important than what you learn. Or any other unnecessary female wardrobe tyranny. You are still called on for the correct answer after 9 years old. No teacher or professor has told you what girls can and cannot do. You have never had an adult shame you because you are female; or observed a boy do this and not be reprimanded. You are told regularly by those in authority that you are equal: if not that, you never hear that you are not equal. You have not been counseled to get an education for jobs like teaching or cosmetology that will provide for you if you never marry. You are never told that joy for us is rare, that you will not measure up, that you cannot have a job, a career, a skill or a dream because you are a girl. The second half of Untraining Boot Camp. We are adult women. For 3 weeks we watch movies, television, look at magazines, browse websites, social media sites, advertisements, listen to people who do not know we are listening and understand finally and forever that too much of what we view repeatedly every day of our lives is designed to make women feel inferior, commodified, diminished, and scared. And that what we experience in relationships and work is the result of the cumulative effect, and the implied entitlement to, and acceptance of, that bias. We hear women bear witness about sexual aggression on the street, at work, at home, on the battlefield. We testify in safety and begin to heal. When we graduate from Unlearning Boot Camp, we are qualified to teach others that women are every bit as capable, intelligent, and eager to succeed as any other gender out there. We will be a positive influence and stellar role model. We then can and will all move forward and kick patriarchy in the nards with our shiny new untraining boots.

1 comment:

  1. May you only get training wheels and never a training bra. Training for what? Oh yeah, we know. Burn em baby! Love this Linda! You got me all fired up!