But She’s So Cute!

I’ve been doing some reading over at Twisty’s place this afternoon, and, you know, it’s the usual patriarchy-blaming that helps raise your blood pressure. I do admire Twisty’s way with a phrase.
Then I came across this post. And it was more than the blood pressure; I wanted to scream in frustration and anger. A precocious 9-year-old girl who’s taking classes at a high school, and who has been “singing over her chemistry equations”. But then, in an ill-considered move, she turned 10, which apparently was equivalent to posting a sign on her back that read “All males may feel free to sexually harass me at any time.”
And what help did mom get from the school authorities?

Guess what the counselors’ responses were. “But she’s sooo cute!” “She’s adorable.” “Wow! She’s a heartbreaker.”

So, if you’re “cute”, you asked for it? A frigging heartbreaker at age 10? That counselor’s shoes need a good, long, chunky puking.
You also have to admire the aspect of the story where the educational rights of the one older boy with Asperger’s who can’t quit breathing down her neck must be respected, but her rights not to be sexually harassed in an educational setting are non-existent. Well, she’s cute, so what did she expect? Maybe this is why there’s such a strong myth that hot women don’t do science; the pervy boys and men are so busy hounding them, they can’t hear the singing over the chemistry equations.

  1. absinthe
    June 30, 2007 at 10:29 pm

    Mr. Absinthe and I talked about this post today: it strikes a nerve because we are parents of a 9 year old girl who is, incidentally, about to turn 10, and who is also, incidentally, tall leggy and beautiful, and in addition is also, incidentally, way beyond her grade level in her abilities in math, science, reading, and writing.
    She goes to an elementary school right now, and we resist any attempts to have her moved up grades because of the problems of socialization…she is 9, and needs to socialize with 9 year olds, not 16, 17 and 18 year olds. There is more to school than just book learnin’…school is also where we learn to get by in society (for better or for worse).
    But say we did allow her to go to the local junior or senior high for science or math classes and she was constantly sexually harrassed…you can be damn sure Mr.Absinthe and I wouldn’t just be talking to the counsellor. We’d be talking to the principal and asking him/her if he/she has actually ever heard of Title IX. And we would take a Title IX fact sheet along, with the parts regarding sexual harrassment in schools helpfully highlighted for his/her information. We would also bring along a few examples of case law and the winnings at jury trials on cases exactly like what is described where the school does not intervene when a student is being egregiously sexually harrassed (and in fact even appears to condone it!).
    Oh yeah, we’d also take a tape recorder along to the meeting and put it in the middle of the table and tell the principal that the conversation we are about to have is being taped just in case we need to refer to it in the future.
    Fucking hell…someone needs to tell that mother about Title IX and clue her in on how to address the problem at that school. “But she’s so cute” is even more sickening than just getting no response at all.

  2. jeffk
    July 1, 2007 at 9:17 pm

    I guess I can say this: kids are [often] little assholes, and instances like this are when some sliver of conservatisism seems to escape from some place deep inside me and makes me what take a ruler to ’em (the harrassing boy specifically). Which is why I should never have kids – because the rest of me knows this wouldn’t help.

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