Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Debating Britney

This story is actually from May 2005; I just moved it over from a defunct blog. The post is still pretty timeless.

My students are sharing these magazines they’ve each made. We’ve worked on them for over 6 months and they look great. They’re sharing in small groups, giving compliments to each other’s magazines and helping proofread for errors.

I walk by a group that happens to be all boys and notice a couple of them reading David’s article that starts, “Has Britney Spears gone pregnant or is she just fat, disgusting and ugly?” It was written before she announced she was pregnant, and now I realize I find it a bit insulting and probably too negative for school.

Me: “Excuse me!” (in hushed but outraged voice so the other groups won’t perk up their ears at the controversy) “That is OFFENSIVE to women! She is NOT fat.”

Will, supportively: “Yeah, she’s not fat, she’s just slutty.”

Me: “OK, slutty, not appropriate for school. And she’s not slutty, although she does dance around with hardly any clothes on. But that doesn’t mean she-”

Will: “OK, OK.”

Me: “It’s offensive to women, you guys. If Britney Spears is fat, then I’M fat.”

Mike glances up: “You’re pregnant?”

Me: “What? No! I mean, she’s not fat, she’s NORMAL. If you’re calling HER fat, then you’re saying I’m fat too, because we’re basically the same size. So she’s put on a few pounds, so what? Just because women have to gain weight to have babies, is it OK to call them fat.?”

David and Alex: “Yes-” I stare at them. “-NO! I mean, no. No, no.”

Me: “You guys! There is too much pressure on women to be thin. Women are always judged on their looks. She’s not ugly! If she’s ugly, I must be ugly, cause she’s kind of pretty. ”

David: “OK, OK, you’re right. I’ll change it to, ‘Is she pregnant, or has she put on a few pounds...’”

I ponder that. “...No, forget it. The point is we shouldn’t be judging other people. You know what- I’m taking that. You can’t use it in your magazine.” I take it out of the page protector feeling pleased with my decision.

“What? Nooooo!”

Me: “Yup. It’s confiscated. I’m taking it.” I stomp off and leave them to puzzle over my reaction.

This story is one of the many many reasons I like teaching.

1 comment:

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