“Look how your children grow up. Taught from their earliest infancy to curb their love natures — restrained at every turn! Your blasting lies would even blacken a child’s kiss. Little girls must not be tomboyish, must not go barefoot, must not climb trees, must not learn to swim, must not do anything they desire to do which Madame Grundy has decreed “improper.” Little boys are laughed at as effeminate, silly girl-boys if they want to make patchwork or play with a doll. Then when they grow up, “Oh! Men don’t care for home or children as women do!” Why should they, when the deliberate effort of your life has been to crush that nature out of them. “Women can’t rough it like men.” Train any animal, or any plant, as you train your girls, and it won’t be able to rough it either.”—
The best part of this essay is when she advocates for children to be brought up with no gender-role stereotyping, and gets in some not-so-subtle digs at heterocentricism and heterosexism in the process.
Did I mention this was written over a hundred years ago? Because it totally was.
“It’s Okay to be Neither,” By Melissa Bollow Tempel
Alie arrived at our 1st-grade classroom wearing a sweatshirt with a hood. I asked her to take off her hood, and she refused. I thought she was just being difficult and ignored it. After breakfast we got in line for art, and I noticed that she still had not removed her hood. When we arrived at the art room, I said: “Allie, I’m not playing. It’s time for art. The rule is no hoods or hats in school.”
She looked up with tears in her eyes and I realized there was something wrong. Her classmates went into the art room and we moved to the art storage area so her classmates wouldn’t hear our conversation. I softened my tone and asked her if she’d like to tell me what was wrong.
“My ponytail,” she cried.
“Can I see?” I asked.
She nodded and pulled down her hood. Allie’s braids had come undone overnight and there hadn’t been time to redo them in the morning, so they had to be put back in a ponytail. It was high up on the back of her head like those of many girls in our class, but I could see that to Allie it just felt wrong. With Allie’s permission, I took the elastic out and re-braided her hair so it could hang down.
“How’s that?” I asked.
She smiled. “Good,” she said and skipped off to join her friends in art.
I amended the title up there because it was actually incorrect. One in 5 women in this study reported rape. A far greater number reported sexual assault that did not meet the study’s definition of rape. Actual report is here if anyone wants to check it out. It should also be noted this was a telephone survey that only included people 18 and older. Given the high number of victims who are under the age of 18, we can’t view these stats as exhaustive. But they’re important to note anyway.
The study defined rape as “any completed or attempted unwanted vaginal (for women), oral, or anal penetration through the use of physical force (such as being pinned or held down, or by the use of violence) or threats to physically harm and includes times when the victim was drunk, high, drugged, or passed out and unable to consent.” The numbers for men were 1 in 71 reporting rape.
The study also captured:
Sexual coercion (defined as ‘unwanted sexual penetration that occurs after a person is pressured in a nonphysical way’);
Unwanted sexual contact (defined as unwanted sexual experiences involving touch but not sexual penetration, such as being kissed in a sexual way, or having sexual body parts fondled or grabbed); and
Non-contact (defined as unwanted experiences that do not involve any touching or penetration, including someone exposing their sexual body parts, flashing, or masturbating in front of the victim, someone making a victim show his or her body parts, someone making a victim look at or participate in sexual photos or movies, or someone harassing the victim in a public place in a way that made the victim feel unsafe).
Once you consider what fell outside of the study’s definition of rape, nearly half of the women surveyed (44.6%) and 1 in 5 men (22.2%) reported experiencing sexual violence victimization other than rape at some point in their lives.
And who are the rapists?
More than half of female victims of rape (51.1%) reported that at least one perpetrator was a current or former intimate partner. Four out of 10 of female victims (40.8%) reported being raped by an acquaintance. Approximately 1 in 8 female victims (12.5%) reported being raped by a family member, and 2.5% by a person in a position of authority. About 1 in 7 female victims (13.8%) reported being raped by a stranger.
So, that’s less than 14% of rapes being committed by strangers. And we blame survivors for their rapes… why exactly?
“And then I felt sad because I realized that once people are broken in certain ways, they can’t ever be fixed, and this is something nobody ever tells you when you are young and it never fails to surprise you as you grow older as you see the people in your life break one by one. You wonder when your turn is going to be, or if it’s already happened.”—Douglas Coupland
“We all have the potential to fall in love a thousand times in our lifetime. It’s easy. The first girl I ever loved was someone I knew in sixth grade. Her name was Missy; we talked about horses. The last girl I love will be someone I haven’t even met yet, probably. They all count. But there are certain people you love who do something else; they define how you classify what love is supposed to feel like. These are the most important people in your life, and you’ll meet maybe four or five of these people over the span of 80 years. But there’s still one more tier to all this; there is always one person you love who becomes that definition. It usually happens retrospectively, but it happens eventually. This is the person who unknowingly sets the template for what you will always love about other people, even if some of these loveable qualities are self-destructive and unreasonable. The person who defines your understanding of love is not inherently different than anyone else, and they’re often just the person you happen to meet the first time you really, really, want to love someone. But that person still wins. They win, and you lose. Because for the rest of your life, they will control how you feel about everyone else.”—Chuck Klosterman (via arreter)
“If you take the W from Answer, the H from Ghost, the extra A in Aardvark, and the T from listen, you could just keep saying “What” over and over again, but no one would be able to hear you because the entire word would be silent.”—Olive Ostrovsky (via imthemaadhatter)