Feminism | Posted by Zad B on 11/9/2009
The Gym Teacher
So I was calmly sitting in class gazing at my watch when the cleaner cleared his throat and announced the arrival of our new P.E. teacher. I payed him an uninterested look. He seemed quite nice, with a thick mustache and lots of wrinkles all around his eyes. I went back to gazing at my watch. I was hungry…
“Good morning, guys!” He said with a deep, phonily cheerful voice: “I’d like to get to know you all better! I will call your names and you will tell me something about yourselves!” Great, I thought sarcastically, while starting to make up some idiocy I could say, that would avoid him getting started on the usual stupid questions teachers ask foreign students: “And was it hard moving to a new country? How did you feel?”
Come my turn, however, he looked at my name and said: “Oh, how many sisters and brothers do you have?” His voice was incredibly patronizing; poor little thing kind of voice. For a moment I didn’t understand. I mean, what have my sisters and brothers have to do with…with whatever he wanted to know? But I quickly realized what he was saying.
“One” I answered between my teeth. He seemed surprised. Obviously, he didn’t think my parents knew how to use contraception. He looked like he would have like to give me a brochure on birth control judging by the way he looked at me. Or maybe he thought I’d soon be married off by my cruel, cruel parents to some abusive middle-aged man. I wanted to give him a nice punch in the face.
Next he threw on a speech to all the boys about how girls are the most wonderful things (and I put emphasis on things) we have (because they, meaning boys, have girls, right?)…and how they should be respected and taken care of because they are so delicate. Oh, and a boy should never play against a girl, because ha! Imagine those idiot boys bragging because they’ve beaten a little girl! Of course he wouldn’t want to hurt a girl’s self-esteem so.
By now I was imagining wonderful sanguinary scenes about how I’d beat him in a football match, then cut his head and throw it brilliantly in the basket. He really made we want to go and learn how to play baseball (despite my personal incompetence in all sports due to my complete lack of coordination) just so I could show him.
He then asked what football teams the boys supported (obviously girls don’t support teams). I was outraged, not quite knowing how to point out his obvious misogyny without getting in trouble. But before I could say something, he got on again about how he’d separate boys and girls to avoid one keeping the other behind. The girls’ gym will have a surround system and steps (I hate dancing!), while the boys’ a climbing wall and football equipment. I couldn’t believe it! All my life I’d wished for a gym with a climbing-wall, and now I wasn’t going to get it because I was a girl?!
Now I could really have strangled him. But talking ‘impertinently’ to teachers is considered a major infraction at our school, so I tried to keep calm. At least until I talked to my friends about it. Surely together we’d make a greater force. However, when I told them about it later, they were all surprised. They hadn’t seen anything wrong or offensive in the teacher’s behavior. Actually, most agreed he was really nice.
Doesn’t this make you think there’s something intensely wrong with how things are going?
I feel I should really do something, but I don’t quite know what.
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