My daytime job has suddenly become a lot easier, the kid I’ve been working with having just moved to a specialist school where, I have to hope, he won’t be let down as he has been by mainstream education. I have more time to think, more time to write, more time to visit blogs, webpages and the rest.
I am deeply passionate, passionately angry really, about the world in which we raise our children and the values which – despite that so many intelligent people despair of them – seem almost unshakable.
I must start at the beginning, I guess.
It is my privilege to work in a high school. Our kids range in age between about 11 years and 18. If I don’t arrive before the kids in a morning one of the first things that I see is the girls hiking up their uniform skirts until the hems are above the knee, and this starts with the 11 and 12 year olds. Desperate to escape the intended uniformity of our skirts and blazers they try to arrive in non-uniform coats and jackets, to get into school with ‘fascinators’ stuck in their often un-childlike hairstyles, to wear non-regulation jewelry and make-up.
They’re into boys, of course, for the most part, and certainly the most damaged of them, the ones with the lowest self-esteem, are the ones who make themselves appear the most ‘man-hungry’. At 11 and 12 they are already thinking of defining themselves in terms of male approval.
I’m not allowed to pick them up on much of it – they’d label me a ‘perve’ for noticing that their skirts are too short – and those who are allowed to respond and enforce our rules are inconsistent in doing so. Then again, female teachers with low cut blouses and tight jeans are further away from the official staff dress-code than the men are.
Do girls know why make-up is what it is? Do they know that darkening around the eyes, making the eyes look bigger, is primarily a simulation of sexual responsiveness? When we’re really into somebody – just in case you are unaware, as unlikely as that seems – our pupils dilate when we look at them and the pupils make our eyes look bigger and blacker. It is the same effect as low light, for the brain wanting to see more allows in more light in order to see better. It’s also why we think candlelight or light otherwise subdued is ‘romantic’ – the iris retracts so that more light can pass through the effectively enlarged pupil in order to prevent you falling over stuff, but the effect is to signal that you’re ‘interested’ and ‘aroused’.
The highlighting of lips and cheeks with rouge, lipstick and other cosmetics is based on the fact that in an aroused woman blood rushes to those areas and makes them redder or darker.
So these kids wander around broadcasting a signal that they’re turned on, that they’re interested, even when they are not.
Society encourages them to do this, without telling them why. There’s not a female ‘celebrity’ (damn but I hate that word) who isn’t into figure enhancing, near-crotch-exposing ‘fashion’ and into make-up. There’s not a heroine on TV, scarcely a role-model of their gender, who isn’t much the same, and the soaps are full of trashy female characters who pretend to be as ‘ordinary’ and ‘regular’ as they are, who pursue values in their plot lines that most of us ought to despise.
And I see girls, often quite little girls, who do not fit the expected norms of ‘attractiveness’ and I see their loneliness, their terrible vulnerability to the cock-brained saps who will give them a fleeting sense of personal value by telling them they are attracted to them.
By establishing through so many means the idea that superficial sexual attractiveness, actual or potential, is the defining quality of a female, perception has become grossly distorted, pushing aside intelligence, humor, courage, determination, strength of character and all the other human qualities which make a woman (or a man for that matter) truly and genuinely beautiful even into great old age.
We have to change this. We HAVE to change this.