Title IX

During Sexual Assault Awareness Month, “Not for Ourselves Alone” is running a special series called 30 Days of Bodyshaming, designed to give a voice to the many different experiences of girls and women. This series will feature guest posts by professors, writers, a cartoonist, young girls, and mothers. Gut wrenching and honest, these stories are presented in an attempt to bring about a deeper understanding of the plight of girls and women as we make our way in world that, for us, is hostile at its best and violent at its worst.

by Lisa Sukenic

 

When those breasts came in

at 11 years old.

she was not ready…

tried to flatten their

existence with undershirts

tucked into jeans.

 

No boys on the

baseball team wanted girls

to look that different from them

and still be allowed to play.

She would not let her breasts

deceive her, taunt her,

unwanted guests.

 

Being one of two of the tallest

girls, she would try to not be that

tall…boys at least a foot smaller,

coming up to chest level.

At dances with girls leaning over,

bent like Willow’s whisping wind.

 

Becoming older young

seemed to give her permission

to give her the right to flaunt

what seemed to be hers.

 

How easy it was to peel

back this budding sexuality

and come home and talk about

the typical school day with her

mom.

 

Suburban mothers

did not talk about what

was really going on in bedrooms

after school at 3:30,

when they worked til 5:00.

 

She wore a necklace that said

Yes, No, or Maybe and let

the boys take their turn to spin it.

 

Innuendo or truth,

attention gained with long

hair straightened with irons,

taming the wild Jew-fro curls

that popped out of pony tails in the wild

of summer, curls that would

not be controlled,

torn jeans knees thread

barren bell bottoms.

 

Motorcycles on white

paved roads leading to

undeveloped fields with

bon fires burning.

 

Her boyfriend, class president

and she was the president’s Jr. High

girlfriend, the “first girl.”

 

They kissed behind the gym and skipped

classes at lunch, walked in the

woods and hung out at any house

when no one was home,

listened to Rod Stewart croon

“Tonight’s the night” with zippers down,

room getting warmer,

coming back for dinner

the flush of cheeks, her revealer.

 

There was no soccer for girls

her age. Made a career move with

sex and sin. Body used for other sports

since Title lX did not exist then.

 

A series of indiscretions,

finding many, not knowing who

talked to who and not really caring.

 

At the high school party,

its him again, Jr. High boyfriend,

party, with smoke filled haze.

 

He’s on Quaaludes and

beer, leaning sideways,

takes her to the parentless

house and promises to use

protection.

 

She feels the false

shag carpet burn on her back,

listens to his words.

“I will pull out on time.”

They don’t call it rape

if she doesn’t say no.

She becomes vapor.

Lisa-Sukenic1

Lisa Sukenic has been a progressive educator for 28 years. She currently teaches at the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools, working with 3rd and 4th graders. She teaches using an integrated Thematic Arts approach with an emphasis on Social Justice. As a writing teacher she works with young authors to help them develop their authentic voices in all genres. She helps to sponsor the Global Reading Challenge that encourages teamwork and helps to build schools and create libraries. She received the Mary Williams Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2008 from the University of Chicago Lab Schools and The Excellence in Education Award in 2007 from KRESA. She is currently writing about various topics including: Gay and lesbian families dealing with immigration issues, Growing up Jewish through International Adoption(focusing on teen identity and religion), Crash Landing: Essays on Adoption from the parents’ perspective emphasizing attachment issues, and an ADHD handbook for tired parents (humor required).

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