Looking around the workplace, Capitol Hill or nearly anywhere else in the country, it is sometimes difficult to tell that women were ever treated differently from men. The power and prestige that women have gained in America today is truly incredible. But events like the recent one in a New Jersey Catholic school remind us how far away we are from true equality.
This month, Queen of Peace High School wanted to mitigate children’s cursing habits, so they asked the students to take a no-cursing pledge for the month. But they didn’t ask everyone — just the girls. Laurie Flynn, the teacher responsible for administering the pledge, said she wanted to make the ladies act like ladies. Even more appallingly, she told the boys they were not to swear in front of the ladies — but there were no restrictions among other male students.
The entire notion of ladies acting like ladies is itself purely ridiculous. What does it mean to act like a lady in the 21st century? Be polite, gracious and respectful? Aren’t these all qualities men should be as well? It is sad that these distinctions are still being made and, even worse, so adamantly defended.
Second, how does only making girls take a swearing pledge achieve the school’s end goal, which is to stop the cursing of all students. The principal, Brother Larry Lavallee, defended the pledge by claiming that the girls’ cursing is much worse than the boys. That may be true in the isolated case of this one school, but it is certainly not typical on a wider scale. Tracy V. Wilson, a writer for “How Stuff Works,” recounted that in America, 72 percent of men and 58 percent of women swear in public. Wilson and many scholarly experts, demonstrated that swearing has nothing to do with gender.
Why, then, would Queen of Peace High School perpetuate a stereotype that women are more vulgar than men? If it is not a trend in the country, it is unlikely that the pattern the teachers are seeing in this one instance is really a statistically significant issue. It is certainly not enough of an problem to create such an unfortunate double standard.
When schools take such steps to create gender delineations, it is difficult to discern how girls can truly see that they are equals with their male counterparts. If they are not treated as equals in their school environment, where kids spend a large portion of their time, then how can they expect to be treated as such in a workplace or home? It is clear that this type of behavior sets these young girls back. For all of the advancements women have made in achieving equal treatment, this situation is not just unfortunate for these girls but a strong blow to women in general.
Brittany Sherman is a staff columnist. Email her at email@example.com.
- Weekend Roam: Little Germany
- WSN Editorial Board reflects on spring semester events
- Strawberry Festival promises delicious, intergalactic fun
- Clive Davis Institute collaborates with DJ Swivel
- Best places to dine on dumplings
- 'Heroes' is not super enough for Xbox Live film program launch
- NYU SLAM sees victory through 'badidas' campaign
- Victoria Ettore elected student council president
- Hester Street Fair hosts diverse vendors, delicious food