Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah

February 14, 2012
Did SHS ‘Battle of the Sexes’ become a battle of the sexists?

Last week was a heated one for Stansbury High School. For some, it was the single best week of the school year. For others, it was highly offensive and should never be repeated.

It was Battle of the Sexes Week.

You might like a little background of this week before forming any opinions. Basically, it is a spirit week similar to many others — like “’60s day,” “swap sexes day” or “old folks day” — with posters and an assembly at the end of the week. The catch is that school spirit levels are being judged between the girls and boys.

The Saturday before the big week several girls from student government gathered with pink glitter, bubble wrap, streamers and window paint to transform the school into a victoriously female domain. However, when the guys found out about their early start, they lost no time in crafting up posters and decor to counter all of the girls’ hard work.

Most of us laughed when we walked in and saw the blatant battle already escalating. Of course, at the beginning of the week, the slams were still fairly trivial and unfounded. Phrases like, “Girls rule!” had been changed to “Girls Drule!,” which was about as grammatically correct as it was offensive. Determined to usurp the girls’ head start, the guys began to erase the lines between funny and politically correct — and just plain cruel. Whether it was additions to posters that the girls had already hung, such as “YOUR MOM is a girl!” to which to boys added, “Which is why she stays in the kitchen!” or small, flier-sized papers with things like “Uses for women: Highly Ornamental — Especially on sports cars,” they were pulling out all the stops with every stereotypical, prejudiced slam to the fairer sex they could muster.

The peak of the insults had to come when the male SBOs came to school one morning sporting a large flag that stated: “Man up or shut up” on one side, and “Now make me a sandwich!” on the other.

Waving something like that around a high school was bound to cause some controversy. Indeed, there were a few girls who immediately bristled and took the flag for what it was — a derogatory and inappropriate lack of class. Ironically, there were also several guys who took offense, insisting that it was hurtful and that most guys would never feel that way.

However, an even larger majority laughed it off, and had to hand it to the boys. We put glitter in their urinals, and they attacked with a weapon that, during Battle of the Sexes week, was obviously sharper than the girls — wit. The boys would never have stopped the girls from retaliating just as harshly. However, it could be argued that we just wouldn’t go that low.

Personally, Battle of the Sexes week has always been one of my favorites. Yes, this year it got a little heated and perhaps a little offensive. The guys probably could have reined in the slandering a bit, and the girls could have gotten into it more. Insults to my gender got somewhat old after an entire week of hearing nothing but woman jokes, but it made school fly by, and it made the girls determined to prove what we are really worth. No matter how many women jokes they poured out on us, women have proved again and again that we are strong, courageous, and certainly not willing to be beaten down. If the boys at our school didn’t know this already, then this week would have been much worse. However, they know just as well as we do what we can accomplish, and I honestly think that they were doing nothing but issuing a challenge that they were confident we were tough enough to meet.

If the week had gotten out of hand, which, honestly, it came dangerously close to, I do believe that the faculty would have intervened. However, I appreciate that for this week, they merely left us to our own devices, and maybe even smiled fondly to think that they were part of such a raging week of hormones and competitions.

Regardless of the heated week, whether you feel it was a “Battle of the Sexists” or “Sexes,” it’s easy walking through the high school to see that girls and guys still like each other. Baffling, yes, and affection that is often unfounded? Of course. No matter how many times guys tick girls off, or, in this case, offend in a spirit week, the fact remains that we can’t help but put up with them anyway. So, in the end, did the week alter, ruin or improve anything too permanently? Beyond some inflated egos, I doubt it. And for those who took it all in stride, laughed it off, and got into the spirit of the week, it was a high school experience to be remembered.

Sierra Gomez is a junior at Stansbury High School.

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