Perhaps I'm not remembering correctly, but when I was a young woman, I fell into the group disparagingly referred to as 'women's libbers'.
*Winces at how old that makes me sound*
I remember how outraged my father when he first discovered that I was a feminist. I sat there in my Army uniform and combat boots, and I was amazed that the news came as such a shock to him. Seems funny now, doesn't it, but he was really quite outraged about it. But seriously, there was something within me that would not let me back down. It has always been there. There was something in me that would not accept abuse or ugly words. I had to speak up. I couldn't be silent. Most every woman that I knew was like that. We did not back down.
In my A and P lab, there are two young boys. They are vulgar. Crude. Talk out loud about the girls in the classroom in the basest of ways. Every other word out of their mouth is 'f...' Anyways, it just kind of shocked me to hear a couple young boys talking openly discussing girls in the classroom in sexual terms.
Anyways, 'Beavis' and 'Butthead' walked into class on Wednesday, and they started in right away. One of them is quite attracted to 'M', a basket ball player, blond, beautiful, and a very nice girl. In any case, Beavis said, "So how many times are you going to stuff it tonight?" and leered, as Butthead sniggered to himself. She looked at him. "What?" and he repeated himself but this time he said at the end of it: "Basketball. I was talking about basketball. How many times are you going to stuff it in the basket? What did you think I was talking about?" and he leered again, as Butthead sniggered to himself. M said "I play defense. I don't make baskets." Beavis and Butthead continued talking between themselves and I made up my mind. When the teacher came in, and we were getting our supplies, I spoke to her. I told her that I was apologizing in advance, because when it came up the next time, I was going to take a stand. The teacher listened, shocked. "No, you won't," she said, "because I'm putting a stop to that right now," and in the blink of an eye, she had them in the hall to let them know that if she heard one more complaint of that nature, they'd be gone from her class.
The boys came back in, sullen, and glaring at me. Even though I am sure that the teacher was not tactless enough to pin my name to the complaint, it's not hard to figure out that a woman had complained, and I am one of two at our table. I ignored their glares. I don't care what they think. Who believes that you can talk like that in a professional setting? They've got some learning to do that has nothing to do with Lab.
It will be interesting to see how this turns out. They are certainly not behaving any better. Mary, the other elderly woman in our class, walked out in the hall after our lab exam that day. I stayed in the lab, so I didn't hear it with my own ears, but as Mary stepped into the hall, Beavis said, "Ha-aaaaaaay, Gorgeous!" and Mary looked square at him and said, "F--- off." and went on her way. Undeterred, Beavis said, "Why do you have to be mean to me?" and Mary said, "When you get to be my age, you don't have to be nice to a--h---s.
The first day of class I listened to the two young men and was shocked. I didn't believe that it was the sort of conversation that would have been tolerated 'in my day'.
*winces again at how old that makes me sound*
But I was right.
I think about me. I think about Mary and I think about the teacher. We are all women of approximately the same generation...and not one of us tolerated it.