Wednesday, May 18, 2011


*Not* where I spend my mornings

I spend one morning every week tutoring teen mothers who are working towards their GEDs. They're only fifteen minutes down the road, but some days, it feels like a world away.

It's not because they all got pregnant before they turned 18 or dropped out of high school to raise their babies. Neither of those really seem to matter when we're sitting there debating various amendments for an essay or learning math together (because, despite my high school and college educations, math was -and will never be- my strong suit).


It's because some days, in between reading passages and answering multiple choice questions, they'll say stuff like, " can not wear flats to the club. That is just so wrong and nobody will talk to you."

It's probably no big surprise that my life isn't clubs or fashion, and in fact has never really been those things, even pre-getting hitched and having a kid. That just wasn't my scene. But...that doesn't mean it doesn't interest me. I sat back and listened as the girls discussed the absolute tragedy that occurs if you wear flat shoes to the club.

While some of these girls are 19 or 20, some are younger, so it was interesting to hear their thoughts about clubs. Since they don't have legit IDs, one of them explained "All you need to do is be pretty," to get into the clubs.

I itched to get into a discussion about women and the power they hold with their looks and how that was being utilized/possibly exploited in these situations, but before I even got a chance, they were already on to another topic - flat shoes.

Perhaps it's important to note that while I'm almost 100% certain that I do own a pair of heels, I'm not all that certain where they actually are. My daily shoes range from flats to flip flops to sneakers to boots to going barefoot all together. Which apparently wouldn't bode well for my clubbing career.

"The boys will tell you. They'll get all up on the loud speaker if they have to. If you have flats on, they will let you know that you are not a woman or a diva."


Now. I have absolutely no delusions that I'm a diva, my requests for room temperature water with a slice of lemon in them be damned. But, I am more than certain that the shoes I wear do not dictate my gender.

I'm also pretty sure that these club boys have no idea what they're talking about.

Raja looks better in heels anyway!

Again, I was biting my tongue, holding off the rant that was building inside of me. Then, one of the girls who I've spent the most time with piped up. She shared, in no uncertain terms, that what she wears (or doesn't wear) has no connection to whether or not she was a girl. For her, it was as simple as that. There was no mention (and really, mostly likely no knowledge) of feminist theory or railing against patriarchal systems or antiquated gender norms. This was just a girl telling it like it is.

She continued on to say that it was their loss if they wanted to act like idiots, and she wasn't at the clubs for them anyway. With conviction and a touch of sass to her voice, she said she would go to the club in her jeans, tennis shoes and hoodie if it meant having a night out with her friends, and that boys wouldn't be telling her what to do or wear.

The rest of the girls nodded in agreement and then moved on, giggling about something or another. It was a reminder to me that despite the fact that they're mothers (some of more than one), they're still teenagers, and they crave experiences beyond that of motherhood.

I'm just glad that they're not losing themselves in either process.

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