This student describes a debate Ms. Gruwell organized around the theme of misogyny. The class discussed double standards for men and women, showing that the same behavior will be judged differently according to one’s gender. This student expresses her frustration with the lack of respect that men show women, but also with the lack of respect that women have for their own selves. She describes the double standards that exist in her own family, where her male family members are told to use condoms during sex, whereas she is simply told to remain a virgin.
Ms. Gruwell’s academic exercise once again capitalizes on the students’ own experiences and opinions, forcing them to use critical thinking in their everyday lives. This student uses her own experience to conclude that members of both genders are accountable for their actions. She considers—as Ms. Gruwell encourages her students to do—that one’s environment or cultural upbringing is not an excuse for harmful practices.
She describes her experience with her boyfriend. After waiting two years before having sex, the actual experience left her completely disillusioned, and she now regrets having had sex with him. She notes the unfairness of being called a “slut” by other people, whereas if she had been a boy she would have been congratulated for what she did.
The double standards that she describes demonstrate a division between the way in which men and women are judged for their sexual behavior—an injustice that seemingly impedes healthy, informed conversations about sexual practices and equality.