Letter to Editor

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The author of this piece has asked to remain anonymous.

Tonight, at an extracurricular activity, might’ve been the worst night of my life so far. It started off normal. I went to the doors, they were locked, people saw me, but they didn’t get up to help, so I went around to the side door to get in. As I was setting up, I knew something was up. People were swearing more than usual, so I figured the teacher wasn’t there. That was where it all started.

To give a bit of background, I am the only girl there. Everyone else is a guy. Usually I get really quiet, and they are, well, boys. I didn’t know what that meant, though, until today.

One of the students was put in charge of running the activity (the teacher couldn’t come due to unforeseen circumstances), but he admitted to having no idea what he was doing. We barely did anything. Mostly, they just talked. Not having a productive time wasn’t what bothered me, though. It was the conversations taking place that scarred me.

Everyone was swearing excessively (not swearing to add emphasis to a point, but swearing to get a reaction), and making wildly inappropriate jokes. Whatever. It’s immature, but people can be like that. Then they all started talking terribly about their ex-girlfriends. They were singing songs and calling them awful names and saying they dated 20 guys a month. I even knew one of the people they were talking about, and I know it’s not true.

This went on for the entire night. I was trapped in this conversation filled with hateful words and no regard for their meaning. I laughed along to fit in and not stand out, but I really shouldn’t have. I should’ve stood up for the people who weren’t there to defend themselves. I couldn’t though. I was too scared. I had no escape. The worst part of the evening for me personally came at the very end.

We had given up entirely on doing anything remotely resembling productivity, so we were packing up our stuff. Then one of the boys said, “All girls are stupid.” I kind of froze. I wanted to yell, but I already mentioned how I get with being all quiet. Then they turned to me, and said, “Sorry.” Not, “Not you,” or “I shouldn’t have said that, sorry,” just, “sorry.” They didn’t take back what they said, only acknowledged my presence. They pretty much called me dumb. I said, “I’m not stupid; I’m really not,”and turned to walk away, and they went back to talking. Only then did they rephrase their initial statement: “Not all girls are dumb, but they all have their problems.”

For an entire night, I was exposed to ruthless and uncloaked sexism amongst my peers. This might just be what boys do, but it’s not okay. I’m only a high schooler, and I now I have my own “me too” story, and while I really want to deny it and just say, “They were joking,” I can’t. Those kinds of jokes aren’t okay.

I don’t know what I’m going to do about it. Knowing me, I’ll probably keep going to the activity to stubbornly represent strong females in this group (at least, I hope I’m doing that), but now every time I go I’ll be on the verge of tears knowing what it is everyone actually thinks of half of the student body. I’m sharing my story because I don’t want to be alone in this. I want people to be aware that words carry weight, and throwing about the heaviest ones will get people hurt. What I just described might just sound like boys being boys, but it’s not okay. I hope this [letter] gives an example as to why it isn’t okay.