Sexist School Stereotypes

Some Homecoming traditions offer objective views of women, double standard.

Homecoming is truly an exciting week, a week that features a tangible energy throughout the school. However, every year after Homecoming, I end up frustrated with many of our long-standing Homecoming traditions, which in my mind, are incredibly sexist.

The process for choosing the Homecoming Court is one example of this. The online voting for Homecoming Queen only provides the yearbook photograph of the student nominated with no accompanying message. Therefore, we are asked to select our Homecoming Queen based purely on looks. By asking students to select the Homecoming Queen this way, we are reiterating the message already perpetuated by society that a woman’s value is based on her looks, something any place of education should strive to avoid.

Our male students are not subjected to this; there is no Homecoming King election. So this isn’t just an issue of vanity; it’s an issue of female objectification. Later in the week, the Homecoming Queen nominees are crowned with their male “escorts,” or dates, accompanying them. Dictionary.com defines an escort as “a person accompanying another for protection or guidance.” Women don’t need “protection” or “guidance” from a man, and having our entire Homecoming Court bring men along with them enforces the outdated idea of the subservient woman and the
man who gives “his” woman protection, since she clearly can’t fend for herself.screen-shot-2016-09-14-at-12-14-44-pm

The double standard is continued in the Legs King and Kiss Queen elections. While the women of CHS are told to show less leg in the CHS dress code, which bans “short skirts and shorts,” the men of the school are allowed to participate in a competition based on legs. The double standard here is glaringly obvious; if females were to do the same thing, it would be shut down as inappropriate, but when men do it, it’s fine. Then in the Kiss Queen election, students judge women on how good their “kiss prints” are. This, like Homecoming Queen, is an example of  school encouraging students to judge women on points as vain as their looks and kissing ability.

There is also the issue of the pep rally. The Charisma’s dance, for example, can be truly uncomfortable for the female student body, as it is often full of sexual moves, and sitting in the stands surrounded by boys catcalling the dancers is not something the women of CHS should be subjected to. One moment that sticks out to me is hearing a boy behind me last year making a sexually disparaging comment directed at all of the dancers that was not only offensive but also too profane to print. Attendance at the pep rally is mandatory; I, along with all of the CHS women, am required to sit in a stadium every year and hear offensive female slurs yelled from all around me with no consequence. I’m not allowed to leave. I have to sit there and take it, no matter what happens, along with all of the other women of this school. Putting us females in an entirely powerless position like this where we must experience this sexism first hand is perhaps what angers me the most.

We have to change. I am sick of the double standards and objectification in this week. Either add some substance to the Homecoming Queen election, make it gender-neutral or do away with it altogether. Do away with Kiss Queen and Legs King or replace them with titles that are the same for both genders. Get rid of the Charisma   routine in the pep rally; make the dances less suggestive, or offer men an equal opportunity to participate. I leave school on Homecoming Day feeling deflated rather than excited, angered rather than ecstatic. Please make this week comfortable and safe for all Greyhounds, regardless of their gender.

 

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