Saturday, May 28, 2016

Woman, My Friend

Two other women and I teach the twelfth grade Language Arts and History at our school. Deb and I share four classes and Heather manages four on her own. We plan independently of one another but we also collaborate. Last year, we developed a new curriculum, so it's been an adventure and an adventure that needs to be tweaked.

I love my teaching partners. They are smart, kind, responsible and creative. And patient. I celebrate their skills that I am missing and they hoorah the things I do right. We are lucky to be in this together, because 100 seniors can be a challenge.

Recently a group of female students mentioned how much they loved that the three of us were friends and supportive of one another. The male students notice it too. Sometimes students ask if we are best friends.  If we hang out on the weekends. They appreciate our relationships, even more than I would have expected. We take our relationships for granted, the students do not. How could this be? This is what I've been wondering about.

And wondering.
And wondering.

Wondering has led me to reality TV. Reality TV featuring women, thrives on discordant women's relationships. Think of of "The Housewives of Beverly Hills, New York, New Jersey, Atlanta, London...etc. etc. etc. The wives of attorneys, of football stars, of you-name-it, I'm sure it will be on next season.  Think of all those bachelorettes (season 11) all vying, eyeing, pining for that one man. All women are the competition, all women stand in her way.

Conflict is at the heart of good story and without conflict, there is no story. Hence for TV to make money, there must be conflict. Unfortunately, conflict is created in the under-developed story, the simple scene of misunderstanding and shallow relationships, where the stars squabble over the petty, the unsubstantial and appear to be petty, disagreeable, greedy, but watched and emulated women.

Thank you women of television for creating the all-women-fight-and-don't-get-along propaganda. Propaganda that appears to be working on our students.

But if  it's going to be a fight, we are making it right, at least for our students. We've taken notice and we're bound and determined to always be different, to represent that our dearest friends are women whom we love and whose relationships we cherish.

 The saddest segue is when we assume and act upon what we think is standard behavior; reality TV is setting the standard and not only for fighting women. Beware. Decide what kind of woman, man, citizen you want to be, decide the kind of attitude you want to possess, the values you cherish, and defy the artificial roles of reality.