Friday, November 03, 2006

Why I hated Catholic school

I won't quit, says sheik - National -

The sheik says women who expose themselves are at fault for sexual assaults.

The nun who taught my tenth grade history class - Sister Mary Henry - called me up to her desk one day. I was wearing "civilian" clothes for an off-campus event instead of my uniform. It was the early 1980s, and I was wearing pink corduroy jeans and a buttoned-to-the-neck ruffled pink & white striped shirt of the duran duran pirates via Esprit sort (look, it was the EIGHTIES, okay?), and penny loafers. Sister Henry looks me over and says "Clothes like that are the reason so many young girls get raped."

Seriously. I was wearing LONG PANTS and my shirt was buttoned up to the NECK. The pants were probably form-fitting but not obscenely so, or mom wouldn't have let me out of the house. Damn, I thought I was pretty cute in that outfit. And here she is, this bitch nun, telling a 13 or 14-year-old girl that it's MY FAULT if I get raped. I hated that woman, I swear to bog, and I don't see any difference between her and Sheik Asshole calling women "uncovered meat."

Fucking Catholic school. It would've actually been easier to rape a girl in the uniform - a skirt - than in that civilian outfit. Which, by the way, 90% of the men I meet, when they find out I went to Catholic school, want to know if I "still have the uniform" because apparently, it's a near-universal fantasy to fuck an underage catholic school girl, or a grown woman pretending to be one. Oh, HELL NO. I do not have the uniform. I still can't wear houndstooth, won't wear houndstooth, will not even consider purchasing houndstooth. Three years in black& white houndstooth was enough.

You know what was the only good thing about it? No boys. No daily sexual harassment from my classmates, as I had endured all through co-ed junior high. No favoritism of boys in science and math classes. No worrying about how I looked or whether the boys in my class wouldn't like me because I was too smart. I think the only reason I dated in high school is that the boys I dated assumed they were smarter than me, having no in-class evidence to the contrary.

But at what cost? Having nuns tell me I'm at fault if I'm assaulted. Knowing my peers got thrown out when they got pregnant but their boyfriends didn't get kicked out of their own Catholic school. Bog, and religion class! Jeebus. Religion class and our annual "discussions" about abortion and birth control. And no AP classes because we had to take Home Ec, and Religion, and Study Hall. What girl needs AP classes, or Latin, or Calculus?

And this at the "college prep" top girls school in the city. The boys schools started in the 8th grade with freshman-level courses, so their senior year could be almost entirely AP or college-credit courses. Five years of Latin and Greek, calculus, AP physics, english, math, language.... they got all of that. All girls schools started in the 9th grade and none of them offered those opportunities. It could've been worse: we could've been Holy Angels, the wife-in-training school, but still, we didn't get the education our male peers did.

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