Has anyone ever told you an activity, award or job was off limits because you are a girl? Have you ever been teased or chastised because you dressed or spoke the “wrong” way for the same reason? Have you been told you couldn’t do something simply because of your gender?
In another article from The New York Times, ‘Because I Was a Girl, I Was Told…,’ Mary Jo Murphy and Sona Patel had wrote:
"There will be no female president come January. But in the days leading up to the election, there was a distinct possibility that this 227- year- old gender barrier would be hurdled, and so we asked women to tell us about their own vividly recalled barriers.
Now here are some stories from women all over the world."
Here is one of the responses from Alyssa Furukawa, an 18 year old girl who lives in Los Angeles.
“I was 16 and a junior in high school. I had been appointed co-captain of my school’s robotics team. Two boys who applied weren’t selected. One was a friend. He didn’t talk to me for a week. My victory felt like a loss. A few months later, we were having a conversation and he said, 'Well, you’re only a captain because you’re a girl.' I felt utterly invalidated, and crushed that a peer saw me that way. He didn’t think I had earned my title. I cried in the bathroom. I shared this story during an English class discussion on gender. Many classmates sat in disbelief, and one simply said: 'I can’t believe someone would say that to you. Especially you.' I thanked that boy for his kind words. I thought about that discussion later, and was saddened because I knew how little the boys in my school knew about the way girls are treated every day, and how it deeply affects us. I really think if we had more conversations about gender, and began to talk about this unacceptable treatment, maybe things could be different. That was when I first became a feminist.”
Now here are some anonymous stories from our peers.
Anonymous person #1
"This story doesn’t just apply to me, it applies to all the girls who went to my school (possibly other schools too), but it would always get on my nerves that growing up, my classmates and I had to help prepare for school events (like set up and set tableware). The part that bothered me, though, was that the guys were always asked to unfold tables and chairs and set them up, while girls were relegated to setting places at said tables, and preparing behind the scenes with helping set up plates and all that. When we asked why it was the way it was, we were told that girls just didn’t do heavy lifting like that, so leave it to the boys."
Anonymous person #2
"Growing up, and even now, I still get asked what kind of profession I want in the future, what kind of car I may want in the future, or what I just want in life. Almost every time I answer these questions ⅔ of them get commented on, saying, 'well you shouldn’t get that car because it’s a man's car/truck', or 'you should be a stay at home mom when you’re older instead of working how you want.' This may even surprise you, but sometimes those comments are made by my own partner, which sucks to think that’s how he feels. Why do guys feel that?"
Anonymous person #3
"In elementary, middle and high school, there are a lot of guys, and sometimes even girls, who feel like they have to rely on another guy to lead them. But when it comes to a girl who might actually have amazing ideas and know what she’s talking about, many students think 'just because she’s a girl she doesn’t know anything.' Being judged based on gender isn’t the best feeling, but growing up I learned that just getting the chance to be a leader whether people like it or not, is always nice. You can do it whether you’re a girl or boy, man or woman."
What memories do you have of being discouraged or maybe even being completely prevented from participating in something that you really wanted to pursue simply because of your gender?
Have you ever just felt self-conscious by social norms or conventions, and just felt trapped or limited because of these same “rules?”