School Dress Codes Police Teen Girls’ Sexuality

School dress codes are part of establishing a set of societal rules women are expected to follow. These rules are developed from misogynist ideas around protecting young women from their own sexuality, while promoting middle-class respectability, and victim blaming. Young people are taught gender roles such as: girls are to be submissive and boys are to be conquerors. In connection to this, the education system dictates what is deemed proper conduct and dress. Girls clothing is expected to be modest and the rules are expected to be unquestioned. Immodest clothing can hint to a girl owning her own sexuality and not giving in to patriarchal narratives. Though dress codes are meant for both girls and boys, it is girls clothing that is targeted most. There does not seem to be any likewise vigilance in teaching the importance of sexual consent or how gender equity is not only a woman’s issue. The idea that a girl’s clothing choice determines whether or not she is victimized, without any consideration of our socially normalized rape culture is steadily reinforced in institutions that are supposed to be preparing young people for the “real” world. The education system places importance on a girl’s respectability while ignoring the absence of boy’s engagement and co-responsibility with issues of women’s rights, and perpetuating rape culture.

Read the rest here on my Academia.edu account!

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The State Regulation of Low-Income, Young, Single Mothers

The patriarchy has regulated motherhood through different means such as medically, economically, and socially. Additionally, the sexuality, relationships, and quality of life of young, single mothers using social assistance is policed by a system. This is because these mothers are less accepting of heterosexist notions of motherhood, and do not conform to gender roles that make them financially dependant on their child’s father (Byrd, p. 489). Rules have been made so that if women are insubordinate they will be punished economically and institutionally. Furthermore, support outside of the state through social means, is limited because of state propaganda painting young, single mothers on social assistance as drains on society. Thoughts formed by neoliberalism divide the poor into the “deserving” and “undeserving.” The deserving will assumedly be taken care of by charity and the generosity of others. The “undeserving” are expected to simply work harder and make better life choices. This mindset is to alleviate the state of social responsibility. It is a powerful binary adopted by mass society. Social services will often demonize young, single mothers. This essay explores how these mothers are not inherently socially deviant but are constructed as such by a patriarchal institution. Read the rest here on my Academia.edu profile! 

I write other stuff too! Check out HillaryDiMenna.com

Want to write a guest post?

Good morning!

My blog is mostly about my experiences and links to any academic writing I have done on motherhood. This is fun to do and I am glad people can relate.

However, my being a cis, white woman in a monogamous, heterosexual relationship creates boundaries in terms of relateability for everyone.

If anyone would like to post a guest blog, please message me at hillary@hillarydimenna.com

I write other stuff too! Check out HillaryDiMenna.com

IUDid it

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Don’t be intimidated! This packaging is a total waste. The device is very small.

CW: Menstrual blood – ahhhhhhh!! My uterus!! But really this shouldn’t all be a shocker as we are talking about birth control.

Remember how I went to a consultation about getting an IUD inserted?

On February 11 I stood outside at the back of Toronto’s Old City Hall with other women, yelling at Jian Ghomeshi to fuck right off. After a coffee break some of us sat in on the last day of his trial before the vile March verdict, got lunch with a friend and fellow survivor, then got my IUD inserted because fuck did I need to do something that made me feel like something to do with my body as a woman was up to me. OK, and my insertion appointment was scheduled that day.

I returned to Women’s College Hospital. I love this place. Go there. They wrote me a prescription for Mirena. I chose the hormone option, which is pricier than the copper device. Thankfully, for the sake of my choice, my partner has insurance. Either way the deal is, it is going inside of me, so I did my part. He can pay. I got the prescription filled at the drug store in the same building. I bought a birthday card for the child I have at the same time as my birth control. It’s a cute card, there’s a dachshund wearing a sweater on it.

The packaging is absolutely unnecessarily huge. The IUD should come in a little organza bag tied with a sweet ribbon. Laughing, I asked the Women’s College nurse why the package is so big for something so teeny tiny. She guessed it is because the patriarchal powers that be in charge of women’s reproductive health want to scare us away from birth control. The package, she adds, was actually twice as big before. Environmentalists – get on this.

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A magnet! And the card has some pun using the word long.

My period was a few days late. The office was really good about rescheduling my appointment, since as I said in the last post, it is preferred that you are menstruating for the insertion. Because of this lateness, despite the bloody horror show that was my last pee break, I was asked to do a pregnancy test to be extra safe. It is nice that they are that thorough, and peeing in a cup wasn’t much work. It was actually kind of funny. Once that was done I took off my pants, got in those stirrups, and once we got some Hello Kitty chat out of the way – I have Sanrio tattoos on my thighs – we got to work. The process is as follows: sterilize the area with iodine (which matches any menstruation blood!), measure the uterus, and insert the device. K, the uterus measuring sucked. It felt like a pap, but a little weirder. The great thing about Women’s College is the nurses there don’t get angry if you tense up. I kept apologizing as I have been conditioned to in the past. I have had doctors scold me for being too tense during vaginal ultrasounds and pap tests. This nurse just kept telling me how great I’m doing. So, despite the discomfort I patted myself on the back for being so good at getting IUDs inserted. The measuring didn’t take too much time, the whole process is pretty short, the insertion itself is super fast. The nurse left and I laid on the bed for a bit because how often does that chance come up? I got dressed, grimaced at my bangs because they parted in the middle and I wanted to know how long that was going on for, and left. Something to note is though I had a baby, it was a c-section. The nurse said women who had vaginal births may have an even easier insertion experience.

The subway ride home I felt super important. On the subway I wanted to yell out, “Everyone, everyone! Listen, stay back, I have an IUD inside of me and I’m precious!” I did not do this. It’s been almost two months now. I have a follow up appointment soon. My periods have been way lighter and any cramping has been very mild. Every body is different, but this is my experience so far. I’m digging this IUD stuff.

I write other stuff too! Check out HillaryDiMenna.com