Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Appalled doesn't cover it

So. My students.


I assigned a short essay about the author's reasons for not changing her name when she got married, and offers several reasons why women decide to either keep their last names, take their husband's last name, or find a solution in the middle (hyphenating, merging, etc.) (I'm not including author name or title because I don't want this to turn up in a search...)

The writing part of the assignment was to "state your opinion on whether women should take their husband's names, explain your opinion, and explain why you agree or disagree with the specific points the author makes". So, naturally, most of the students failed to answer the whole question, but that's not what sickened me.

Some examples (typos uncorrected):

"Women should not disrespeck men by refusing to change."

"...talking back to some one who calls you the wrong name is rood and disrespectfull"

"...if a women does not let her husband have the family name she must not be ready for marriage"

"In a way he did adopt her because after he asked for her hand in marriage he takes care of her and gives her a place to live and loves her.

"She is leaving one family and joining another family because your father does give the bride away to the husbands family at the wedding."

"If you correct people it can be rude and leave everyone feeling awkward."

"I think she makes some good points, but she sounds too much like a feminist."

:the sound of kate weeping:

So, according to my students, women should be seen and not heard, other people's comfort is more important than a woman's wishes or individuality, fathers own their daughters, husbands own their wives, women need someone to provide for them at all times, and feminist is a bad word. Brilliant.

In their defense, most of these students come from rural, low-income families, and most of their parents never attended college - in some cases, parents didn't even finish high school. So I'm not dealing with the most worldly people. And they're young - their opinions are more likely to be their parents' opinions than their own right now.

But still.

I actually gagged as I read these papers, and I had to keep reminding myself that I wasn't grading on opinion - only on whether the questions were all answered with adequate support.

But still.

What century is this?


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