Feminism

My Senior Portrait Experience Was Sexist

The end of Junior year is full of exciting preparation for your final year of required education. However unusual, senior pictures are taken in my district at the end of Junior year, before students become seniors. Today as I waited against my will and desire in the rather foul smelling wrestling room to get mine taken, I started to notice something really off.

Several of my friends had their picture appointments right before mine so I got a chance to watch them and provide moral support. However, after a handful of friends finished taking their pictures I noticed a disturbing and upsetting pattern. While the boys got to take their pictures posed with a diploma, all of the girls were being posed with a rose. I honestly couldn’t believe what I was seeing. After pointing it out to a couple of my friends, they took notice and my suspicion was confirmed.

So what’s the big deal?

The education of males has been traditionally prioritized over the education of women for hundreds of years in our world’s patriarchal majority. Women have to fight with blood, sweat, and tears (quite literally in some cases) in order to seek the education and knowledge that we know we deserve and have a right to. So by having us pose with a flower, in the picture that it supposed to both celebrate and reflect our academic accomplishments in High School, while having the boys pose with their diplomas, is truly, utterly sexist. It’s misogynistic.

Is it really that awful to have all students pose with their accomplishment in hand? I want to pose with a diploma, not with some cheap plastic rose that I can buy for 99 cents at the local dollar store. Is that all my academic achievement is worth? 99 cents?

My fellow female peers are furious right by my side. It is simple unfair to treat us like second class students just because of our gender identities. We have worked just as hard, if not harder, while having to advocate against the prejudice that we face everyday as females in High School. School is not a safe place for education for many female students. It’s a battlefield. Over twenty girls, in addition to myself, have experienced some form of sexual assault and harassment during our High School career and STILL managed to get through it with our futures in mind. We deserve to celebrate our diplomas more than anyone because we have suffered as individuals harder than anyone.

Additionally, if females posing with diplomas is just that inconceivable, how about you let us pose with yellow roses instead of red? The yellow rose was the symbol used by the National Woman’s Party while campaigning for women’s suffrage in the twentieth century. If we’re going to be holding a rose, let us hold something that allows us to show pride in women’s achievement.

Our graduation should be celebrated, not shoved away from the spotlight.

Until next post,

Bekah

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