My tribute is remembering the conversations our girls began yesterday during ‘Gender Day’, when we divide the students by gender for the day.
We had a heavy morning. We began by watching CBC footage from the Montreal Massacre in 1989 and other videos around the theme of violence in relationships. Some of the girls were frank in how they experience violence in their lives, others were visibly agitated but not wanting to talk about it at all. A similar reaction happened when our guest speaker from Alcoholics Anonymous came to share her story. The girls (and boys, but I get the impression it is more so with the girls) in our school drink. A lot. I was relieved to see that some of them quietly went to take pamphlets during the break that followed the presentation.
I was struck by how some of the girls stated that they understood when boys tried to control some of their actions, that sometimes it is justified when a boyfriend tells them not to talk to someone or not to wear certain clothes. That it feels good when a boyfriend tells them not to wear makeup because you don’t need to impress anyone anymore, you’ve got a boyfriend already.
Male control is still normal.
Evidently our conversation is just beginning.
Like I said, it was a heavy morning though. We needed to shift gears at one point – some of the girls were getting upset, others were shutting down a bit, and so we needed a break. Which we definitely got with the rest of our day! The morning was followed with a delicious lunch, provided by the girls, and an afternoon of music, art, dancing, chocolate fondue, and laughter.
Needless to say I was in bed early last night!
I invite you to visit our class blog to see the videos we watched together yesterday. They spurred some rich conversation.
Gender Day – Dec. 5, 2008
I’ve dedicated our Gender Day to the women who lost their lives 19 years ago today at the Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal.