The Wilson Beacon

Adult women fail to uplift young women

Back to Article
Back to Article

Adult women fail to uplift young women

Graphic by Ella Pearlman-Chang

Graphic by Ella Pearlman-Chang

Graphic by Ella Pearlman-Chang

Virginia Suardi

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






As women, it is easy to blame men as the perpetrators of sexism. This is natural, as it’s easier to find everyday examples of men being misogynistic than women, and patriarchal society is the main cause for widespread institutionalized sexism. What is harder for many women to address is the misogyny that women have absorbed and therefore perpetuate, more specifically adult women to their younger counterparts.

It’s hard to imagine a day in my life where I don’t experience routine harassment from men, including instances when I have been followed by an older man for multiple blocks without anyone stopping to help. But what leaves me much more puzzled is when girls have to deal with disrespectful comments from the adult women in our lives. These include female security officers blocking a Wilson student from entering the building for 45 minutes because her shirt exposed some of her back, telling her that she was wearing that top “so guys will like you,” or female teachers at Wilson calling students “hooker-ific,” and telling them “if you’re not selling, take the sign down.” It is baffling to me how these women could use such derogatory language towards young girls, when they themselves must have grown up enduring unwelcome advances from men. Why would they then grow up to be complacent in watching young women face harassment and continue a dialogue that degrades and belittles girls?

Most of us have heard empowering stories of women that help each other in dangerous situations, like women teaming up to fend off a creepy pursuer. These stories are great to hear, but in my experience, I have never been defended by an adult woman when I am being harassed in their plain sight. In the streets and halls, women watch expressionless, passing by silently. How is this acceptable?

Maybe they didn’t notice. But what I feel is more likely is that either they felt scared or powerless to stop it or that they, for some cruel trick of society, did not feel it was worth their time or energy to intervene.

It is sad that many of us have internalized sexist views of our fellow women. Why some of us would use the same insulting behavior that men use to hurt us is beyond me. It could be resentment that their crop-top-rocking days are over. It could be genuine fear for the girl’s safety, or a side effect of bad memories resurfacing. Whatever the reason, I am sick of it. I am sick of being harassed and humiliated, especially in school, where I should feel the most safe and supported, and especially by female staff. I am sick of being belittled and insulted by adult women that I should look up to and be inspired by.

Making a snarky remark about a girl’s clothing or how you think she’s “doing it for attention” and needs to “cover up” is never appropriate.

These comments, though they may seem trivial, chip away at our self-esteem, self-respect, and comfort in our own skin. They are a form of victim-blaming, body-shaming, and slut-shaming. It inappropriately sexualizes girls from a young age, forcing harmful stereotypes and preventing us from choosing how we’ll express our sexuality when we’re ready.

If you are genuinely afraid for a girl’s safety, the most helpful thing to do is to demonstrate and teach self-respect. When you see sexual harassment, (this doesn’t just apply to women) as a person with power (an adult) it is your responsibility to stop it. Lastly, never blame it on anything besides the perpetrator.

I understand that womanhood is a complicated and fraught subject and that it can be difficult, even scary, to defend young women from harassment. I also understand that it is challenging for anyone to change their ways, especially for those who grew up enduring the same obnoxious comments. Instead of taking out our misplaced nastiness on young girls, I wish that we women could cope with our emotions and painful memories separately, then use our learned wisdom in a healthier manner to support our daughters, students and young women around us.

Ultimately, if we want future generations to be stronger and happier, adult women must have respect for young women. •

Leave a Comment

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




Navigate Left
  • Adult women fail to uplift young women

    Opinions

    SAT Adversity Score quantifies the unquantifiable

  • Adult women fail to uplift young women

    Opinions

    Beto O’Rourke: We’re all in this together

  • Adult women fail to uplift young women

    Opinions

    DCPS should drop Sodexo, a private prison contractor

  • Adult women fail to uplift young women

    Opinions

    Objectifying lists in bathrooms reflect failure to protect women

  • Adult women fail to uplift young women

    Features

    Editors-in-Chief bid farewell

  • Adult women fail to uplift young women

    Opinions

    Too many classes, too little education

  • Adult women fail to uplift young women

    Opinions

    The outdoor gap endangers our planet

  • Adult women fail to uplift young women

    Opinions

    Betsy DeVos deserves an F in education policy

  • Adult women fail to uplift young women

    Opinions

    College and the military shouldn’t be the only options after high school

  • Adult women fail to uplift young women

    Opinions

    Every month should be women’s history month

  • Adult women fail to uplift young women

    Opinions

    New AP fees threaten early college level exposure

  • Adult women fail to uplift young women

    Opinions

    Abundance of APs normalizes student stress

  • Adult women fail to uplift young women

    Opinions

    It’s time to civilize the abortion debate

  • Adult women fail to uplift young women

    Opinions

    Streaming services limit artists’ profits

  • Adult women fail to uplift young women

    Opinions

    Green New Deal isn’t radical – it’s necessary

  • Adult women fail to uplift young women

    Opinions

    Mansplaining in math discourages female students

  • Adult women fail to uplift young women

    Opinions

    Controversial white artists deserve the same scrutiny as YNW Melly

  • Adult women fail to uplift young women

    Opinions

    Staff editorial: College process is a meritocracy with no merit

  • Adult women fail to uplift young women

    Opinions

    DC’s liberal atmosphere fuels political ignorance

  • Adult women fail to uplift young women

    Opinions

    Empower students, not staff, to address bullying

Navigate Right
The Student News Site of Woodrow Wilson Senior High School
Adult women fail to uplift young women