Today, MHS hosted poet Larry Bassett and I brought each of my classes to his presentation (except the class that was held during his lunch...and we provided a video tape of his talk to them). While I appreciated his rapport with the kids and his insightful poems, I have to comment on one poem in which he described a typical spring in the high school world...in it, he says that the "pretty girls are thinking prom" and the boys are thinking about basketball. And "trying on a prom dress is practice for a wedding gown." Wow, maybe they'll go to college to get the fabled MRS degree just like they did when he was a kid...
When I first heard that poem, my feminist hackles rose instinctively. Could he possibly portray girls in a more stereotypical light? The more I thought about, the more I was annoyed by the limited portrayal of the boys, too. I know many boys who would rather write poetry than watch basketball, for example.
The next time the poem was read, I watched the crowd to see if the students reacted the same way that I did...and guess what? A few did. And, when he attempted to ask follow-up questions about girls and the prom, they did not answer the way he expected. Several girls knew they were going to the prom, but did they have a dress yet? No.
I had to write a poem of my own, an updated view of today's "pretty girls"...
Today's Pretty Girls
4th marking period
Term paper due
Practice after school
Text my girlfriends in between
Surf the 'net
Colleges, Majors, Scholarships
Maybe . . .
If it's not the same weekend as the SATs.