All Girl School “Problems”

Whenever I first tell someone that I went to an all girl school for high school their reaction is typically something along the lines of asking how we met boys (it is possible), if all we did was make out in the hallways, read magazines, do each others hair and makeup, or gossip. Yes a lot of the “typical girl” things did happen but I am pretty sure just as much went on in co-ed environments too…

Anyways, going to a single sex school in high school shaped who I am as a person a lot more than I thought it would. At school it was very obvious that boys weren’t present, but that being said, it was not just that they were not physically there but also the fact that we were not affected by the role that society deems males should play. Men and women traditionally take on gender roles that are based on norms created by society, but we did not have those men to take on those roles therefore women had to fill them. This allowed for each student to create her own identity without having to worry about whether or not, because she was a girl, it was acceptable for her to do so.

It is culturally engrained in young boys and girls minds from the time that they are born that they must dress a certain way, like a certain color, not play with certain toys, and act a certain way in order to be accepted as their gender within society. Verizon recently came out with a commercial that demonstrates how words can affect a way a girl grows up and how it can shape her interests. By saying small things such as “don’t get your dress dirty” or “give that to your brother,” you are telling that girl what she can and cannot do because she is a girl. If a young boy was playing in the dirt it would be highly unlikely that someone would make a comment about him needing to stay clean but they would say something more along the line of “he’s just a boy, it is what they do.”

Suzy, a member of the United States Army, came and spoke to us about her work as a soldier and being a woman. The two things that she discussed that I believe are the two most important things are: 1) equality and 2) respect. Suzy was put in a lot of situations in which she was the minority when it came to gender because she was a woman in an occupation which is typically seen as “man’s work.” She explained that she wore Old Spice deodorant and wore a wedding ring as “protective tactics” so that she would be seen more like an equal rather than a subordinate. She was the only woman at her combat outpost, which would make her standout, but she wished to be treated no differently than anyone else was treated and to be treated with respect.

I am not ashamed to be a woman and I definitely not ashamed to be a feminist. I am very proud of my gender but I don’t believe that people should do things specifically because their gender indicates that they should. If I am better at cooking than a man, then I’ll cook. If he is better, then he will cook. It should not be that because I am a woman, I am supposed to be the one cooking and cleaning or because he is a man he needs to be the “bread-winner” and take care of me. Society’s social norms should be based off of equality and respect rather than trying to separate the sexes based on trivial things like colors and toys.

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6 thoughts on “All Girl School “Problems”

  1. Yay feminism! I totally agree, it always urks me when people ask the same questions to girls who attended all girls schools. “Do you have school dances?” “Are you allowed to bring boys to them…?” I’ve also heard the stigma of girls being separated from boys during schooling making them more boy crazy, but I am grateful for your insight of how it has impacted you so positively! I never looked at separating the sexes allowing individuals to choose their roles at school for themselves.

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    1. I went to a coed school up until my senior year of high school when I moved to Los Angeles and became a student at Loyola High School of Los Angeles. It was nice because the ‘girl stuff,’ whether it be talking, studying, or even flirting, kind of went out the window, so to speak. It was just guys so there was no need to try to impress anyone or anything like that. People asked if we hung out with girls and the answer was obviously yes but I was really able to focus on my studies and athletics without too much distraction.

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  2. I highly agree with your blog post!!! I find it interesting that having gone to an all-girls school, each of you had to place and assert yourself in positions which typically have been “male” positions. I have noticed that occur in many times and have always found that so interesting. I notice that many times for example, when I am surrounded with other boys and we have to do things such as find directions, I tend to just assume and give that position to the males in the room. Yet, when I am in a situation with only-girls, I try to take on the leadership position. This flaw in society, of gender roles, is seemingly a problem on both ends. The men in society definitely do play on these gender roles, but are we, women, really doing anything to stop it? It’s also interesting, I have noticed, that if a women believes in women rights, she is considered a feminist. That I highly disagree with, just because we believe in equal rights it does not label us as a “feminist.”

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  3. I thoroughly enjoyed your blog post and agree with everything you have to say. My sister went to an all-girls school and was frequently asked those same questions. With this being said, she said it took a solid amount of time to get adjusted to a new atmosphere in college. She attends Virginia Tech, which as you probably know, is a co-ed university. While she loves the school and almost everything about it, she does sometimes explain the significant differences. How have you handled the shift from an all-girl high school to the University of Michigan? Have their been any significant differences that have impacted your experience?

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  4. Your part about your experience in an all-girl’s school intrigues me. I think it’s funny how people think that people like you wouldn’t know what boys are like. I think that’s similar to saying that unless you have a living grandparent, you’ll never know what old people are like. What does it even mean that you wouldn’t know what boys are like?! They aren’t a group of homogenous individuals that can be boxed into a category. Anyway, school was about learning and I would play in my neighborhood a lot when I was little, exposing me to both girls and guys. There’s also a stereotype that people from those types of schools turn out gay/lesbian, which is absolutely ridiculous to me; I don’t see how one has to do with the other.

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  5. Everything that was said in your blog post, I completely agree with. I attended an all boy summer camp for most of my life, and I believe this goes hand in hand with a non co-ed school. School is an environment to learn, and focus on academics. I went to a co-ed high school, and i believe people were more focused on impressing people of the opposite sex then on the real reason they are there. A school should operate the same way no matter the genders within the school. I concur greatly that your experiences in an only girl school should improve yourself greatly, and impact your life in a way.

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