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Greetings fair readership, it is time for a new foray here at DWR.  A recent comment by JZ and gentle prod by RoughSeas are the inspirations for this post.

The idea that JZ had was that a comparative essay looking at the differences and similarities between adolescent experiences would be an interesting read.   I agreed with him at the time and promptly back-burnered the idea because doing new things is hard.   But we’re going to give it a try anyways, because we’re like that around here.

This is what I envision – my faithful commentariat would offer a brief (three paragraph  (300 words-ish) anecdotal tale of what the socialization was like growing up through those years we now call adolescence.  Let me offer you some food for thought, the original Laurie Penny quote for starters:

“Adolescence, for a woman, is the slow realization that you are not considered as fully human as you hoped. You are a body first, and your body is not yours alone: whether or not you are attracted to men, men and boys will believe they have a claim on your body, and the state gets to decide what you’re allowed to do with it afterwards.”

Some questions/story starters to get the juices flowing:

1. I was so embarrassed when…
2. My finest hour as a youth.
3. My worst experience as a youth…
4. I  remember an instance of  how my socialization affected me when…
5. [Whatever you think is relevant]

This can be dangerous territory, and thus let me state now that this thread will be heavily moderated with hopes of making a safe space for people to share their stories.  If you feel the need to faff on about free speech and censorship, and/or act in a general discourteous manner, the recently polished ban hammer shall fall swiftly and discretely.  Furthermore, this is one of those rare occasions where the option to post anonymously may actually be a good thing.  Please feel free to use that option at your discretion.

 

A good host always starts these sorts of things off, so I’m told.  As I was writing this post a vivid clutch of memories came back from my high school days.

 

It was a good time back highschool, as in grade 10 I learned that this would be the last taste of the compulsory physical education (torture) that I would have to take.  Track and field, the tepid combination of aimlessly running/hopping/leaping about and throwing a myriad of things, was just finishing up.  My sub-group was responsible for putting away the high jump mat, as this PE class just happened to be at the end of the day.

So, with the allure of the end of day just around the corner our tired group of teenagers was hustling to get the large and bulky crash pad mat back into school and put away.  Outside, while we were all carrying the mat, one my less intrepid peers decided it would great fun if they ran up and threw themselves onto the mat.  Of course, with the extra weight we dropped it, and the jumping doofus was immanently pleased with himself.  The gym teacher was also unimpressed and told this particular student to stop horsing around and get with the program (with perhaps a bit more vivace in his word choice, I can’t be sure :)).   So we all found the handles to the mat and once again began lugging the cursed beast toward the school.

Can you guess what happened?  The Superman in waiting decided that there would be nothing as much fun as doing the same thing twice – because one solid declaration of your assholery just isn’t enough – and off he went, this time though he chose to land near me.  And for whatever reason I decided that this particular sack of jerkitude and his attitude needed a stern correction.  The correction, in question, was a flying elbow smash straight out of ‘pro-wrestling’ that landed directly in the small of the Jumpy-Jerk McAsshole’s back.  He yelped, quite vociferously,  in what I assume was a mixture of surprise and pain.  Keep in mind, this is coming from the non-athletic, glasses wearing, book devouring nerdy kid who always listened to the teachers and never created waves.  I immediately apologized to him and the teacher and was expecting a severe reprimand for such irresponsible, dangerous behaviour.

Instead, the gym teacher was crowing with laughter, as were the rest of the mat handlers.  Everyone was like Woo!  That was awesome!  Everyone was congratulating me for attacking JJMcA for jumping on the mat a second time.  I was taken aback then, as I am now at how easily violence is praised and endorsed as a method of solving problems.  And in hindsight I can see this small happening as just one of many instances of socialization at work that consciously and unconsciously help shape the person that I am today.

—–

Okay, well if there are any takers on this free writing/reflecting assignment, you have my thanks in advance.  :)  If you’re like me you’ll be struggling with only 300 words, but I have faith in you, concision is a writers’ best friend.

“Radical feminist theorists do not seek to make gender a bit more flexible, but to eliminate it. They are gender abolitionists, and understand gender to provide the framework and rationale for male dominance. In the radical feminist approach, masculinity is the behaviour of the male ruling class and femininity is the behaviour of the subordinate class of women. Thus gender can have no place in the egalitarian future that feminism aims to create.”

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