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No One Needs to Carry a Purse During School Hours!

If guys can manage without one, then so can you!

OMG! We haven’t witnessed this kind of tortured female adolescent angst since Rob kicked Kristen to the curb while singing a famous Hank Williams tune. (Look it up!) Apparently, it’s the end of the world as we know it.

And our scientific Fermilab friends were correct! Instead of going out with a bang, it looks like we’re going out with the whiniest of whimpers. Think about it! It could’ve been an asteroid. We could’ve been slow roasted by global warming. Or better yet, it could’ve been the biblical apocalypse complete with zombies and bloody rivers.

But no! Our untimely planetary demise will finally come at the hands of a pack of rabid teenage girls who’s heads are summarily exploding at the mere thought of having to endure seven long purseless school hours on a daily basis.

Oh, the humanity!

It used to be that you couldn’t be caught carrying a backpack during the school day, but because some purses now rival the size of a small freight car, they’ve added them to the list of illicit items. You can still bring your backpack or handbag to school, but once it’s there, it must remain firmly ensconced in your locker.

According to a , personal belongings can be carried in a small strapless case, such as a wallet, make-up case, or pencil case. And by the all the ensuing shrieking and howling we heard on Patch, you’d a thunk Buffy finally put Edward out of our misery.

When they weren’t liberally applying lame four-letter epithets, one young lady wrote, “How the heck are you supposed to get through a day without a bag if you're female? I am just going to say it. Tampons!”

Oh, please! Unless you’re using a brand that doubles as a flotation device, feminine hygiene products can easily fit in your makeup case. Or here’s a thought! Put it in your pocket!

Oh! That’s right! You can’t put it in your pocket, because your jeans are so tight, if you tried, it might split a couple atoms and set off a thermonuclear reaction.

Of course, that would solve the purse-in-school problem.

Another student claimed she wouldn’t be able to make it to her classes in a timely manner if she had to regularly return to her locker. My simple response to that, if the boys can do it, then so can you.

Yet another darling young reader wrote, “I bet it was a guy that made this rule. Every woman on the planet knows what I mean,” and she was quickly supported by another female author who added, “Considering the principal and all the deans are male, I’m not surprised.”

Ah, yes! You caught us! We clueless men are at it again. We’ve been patiently waiting for the perfect opportunity get back at all the women who scorned us and the best we could do is exact our revenge upon a group of hapless high school girls with oversized handbags.

Before her comment was deleted for dropping the f-bomb, one high school honey declared she would damn the detention and carry her bag anyway. Cue the Psychedelic Furs! Apparently someone’s been watching The Breakfast Club far too many times.

And God forbid these young women would apply this same kind of focus and zeal toward something like ending poverty, fighting social injustice, or finding a cure for cancer. No! Their raison d’etre is to be able to carry a gargantuan purse 24/7.

I suppose it’s always important to aim high in this life.

Aside from another dose of that infamous Geneva entitlement mentality, this is just another case of women getting their underwear in a bundle because they think the rules don’t apply to them. That’s right! Y’all love to howl about sexist inequality until it doesn’t suit you anymore.

And it starts with the first time you realize you can get out of a speeding ticket by crying, batting your eyelashes, unbuttoning an extra button, or (d), all of the above. Then it only gets worse.

When you start paying for dates, we’ll talk.

Though this new edict certainly solves yet another outright inequity, what it really boils down to is, after doing the math, administrators realized that when it came to contraband coming into the school, more often that not, it arrived in oversized purses.

Had you contemptuous young ladies actually paid attention to the previous GHS rule forbidding backpacks and LARGE purses, you wouldn’t be looking at a total handbag ban, would you? Now you have no one to blame but yourselves, so you may as well stop all your petulant whining.

We’re on to you.

Cole Downey August 21, 2012 at 07:08 AM
I'll be a senior at Geneva High School in several days time. I thought I'd shed some light on this as a male student. 1. I agree with Emma, in saying the former rule was poorly enforced. But unfortunately, many of the rules at GHS are. The administration does a poor job of rallying the teachers to step behind a rule. The teachers themselves are wonderful people, but nobody wants to be the bad guy. It's the same when it comes to clothing, or language. Many teachers simply lack the will to risk losing the favor of their students. So when we place all of the blame on the girls that refused to follow the rule, we can't do so without remembering that the people in charge did a poor job of making it a rule, instead of a suggestion. 2. Dude, what the heck is up with you and females? I'll admit, once in a while I'll come across a girl I would rather not be around, but then again, I'll also come across a guy that I'd rather not be around either. Your stark assumption that every teenage girl at GHS is an airhead bimbo with an attitude is seriously mislead. Your article itself is almost the type of heated rant I'd expect an overly angered teenage girl to make, instead of a structured, orderly column that I might expect from a grown individual hired to give his opinion.
Cole Downey August 21, 2012 at 07:09 AM
3. I agree with Jeff when he says that girls will find a way to survive. The only doubt I have of this, is looking at Becca's post, an inhaler. I would think that GHS would make an exception however, considering the medical necessity. Many items can be left in the locker, and many of the girls I know have never actually kept school items in their humongous purses. I would think that they would have been making these trips anyways. As far as tampons, I can't say I have enough experience to tell you where to store them, but I would assume they fit just fine in a pencil case. 4. What happened here, was the administration chose the lesser of two evils. In my freshman year, I was required to walk my backpack to my locker, instead of keeping it against the back wall during my tenth hour. In the meantime, girls were allowed to keep purses the size of backpacks, despite the rule. Several guys tried wearing sling packs, but many were told they could not have those either. So instead of letting the students carry backpacks, they chose to eliminate any possibility of a large container. Obviously a tough decision, considering the uproar, but really the only liable one. Otherwise we'd have a school with no space for walking, and no need for lockers.
Rebecca Hac August 21, 2012 at 07:10 AM
Not only did I find your article poorly written and irritatingly melodramatic, but also misogynistic and downright offensive in your disrespect and ignorance of the issue. I am a senior girl at GHS, and guess what? I don't even carry a purse. I haven't for two years at the school. And I find this ban to be ludicrous, because for all of the pomp of banning shorts or purses or inappropriate dancing (none of which I even care about) the school is amazingly passive when it comes to dealing with serious issues. I have had several harassment problems I have taken to the administration, problems too big for me to deal with myself. Problems that escalated due to the fact no action was taken when appropriate. But enough about me. Let's talk about multiple occasions of sexual harassment that happen right in front of administrators such as teachers. Or, even better, the gross bias in funding to the point where certain activities and classes are severely limited. The inaction on those serious issues are why I, and so many other people, are so mad. Yet instead of giving a competent, informed perspective, you feel it's most appropriate to belittle and condescend the lightest layer of the issue. Gain the level of maturity that these girls before you mock them. Lose the misogyny before you write articles about female centric issues and then expect people to actually take you seriously.
Cole Downey August 21, 2012 at 07:10 AM
5. This is getting overblown. Similar to the grinding rule, I do not see the point of dwelling on this. If for any reason, 1 month into the school year, girls are honestly having issues that limit their educational experience, then I think the rule should be formatted. But at the moment, I think the call for a "Revolution" is unnecessary. High school students (including myself) have a tendency to focus on these issues an unhealthy amount. This is a large part of our lives, and seeing it changed in any way tends to make us scared. I think everybody would benefit by toning down the facebook "drama", and waiting for school to start. By doing so, each student can make sure they're taken seriously when it comes time to approach the administration about the new rule. All in all, I found this article a breath of relief. Altogether, I think both parents and students alike are getting to excited over an issue that has yet to even play out. On the other hand, I think this column was poorly written as far as an unbiased view goes. Then again, that's normally what columns are for. -Cole
ken loebel August 21, 2012 at 11:33 AM
Making rules and not enforcing them is a horrible habit. Look at the following: Rules on immigration were never followed; Rules on funding teachers pensions were never followed; Rules on financial soundness and risk management were never followed; the lesson should be that if we expect the politicians to be decent Americans, we should start with the family and the schools, and expect that rules are to be followed. Shame on those for making rules for no purpose, and not following them and enforcing them in the first place. It sets a horribel example for kids to learn, and it helps to explain why when the kids grow up, and become politicians and corporate leaders, they feel that it is ok to not follow rules... The issue isn't whether or not a purse can be in school... the issue is... who should have enforced the rules all this time- and why was a rule created if it was never intended to be followed - that is typical political garbage and waste of time, for sound bite leadership. We do not need soundbite leadership... we need minimal rules, but a system that recognizes that rules are meant to be followed. Next time you ask why the teacher's pension fund is under-funded by billions, look back at this and you will find the answer.
Jeff Ward August 21, 2012 at 12:18 PM
So this is how it ends? Not with a column on gay marriage, racial bias or the national debate, but one about young women's purses? 1. Yes! I was wrong in that one comment. Apparently young women are still embarrassed by their periods. But they're not embarrassed about wearing shorts that are so tight and short that ... Go figure. I've been wrong before and I'll be wrong again. 2. That said, you still get to carry a makeup case which takes care of the problem. I spoke with several young women who said no self-respecting teenager would go to the ladies room without their makeup, so carrying that case wouldn't be advertising anything. 3. I wasn't making fun of all high school girls, just the ones who replied to the original article on Patch. And apparently, some of them weren't high school girls which is even scarier. But I have to say, by your reaction to this silly column, you've, once again, proved my point. 4. We'll cover this more on Wednesday, but, as one reader put it, with all the real problems at GHS, why should they have to enforce a no large purse rule? Can't we all just be adults and follow a reasonable rule without being bludgeoned? 5. If any young GHS women is being harassed and the administration is not dealing with it appropriately, my email address is at the top of every column. Please feel free to contact me Ms. Hac and I promise you I will look into it. (continued)
Jeff Ward August 21, 2012 at 12:24 PM
6. C'mon! You young ladies can't, for one second, see the inequity of getting to carry the equivalent of a duffel bag, while the boys get in trouble for carry bike bags at school? When the double standard shoe is on the other foot you all shriek and howl just as much as we do. 6. Some of you really need to look up the definition of satire and/or acquire a sense of humor. It's not like this was the first column I've ever written. Sometimes it pays to ask yourself this question before responding, "Could the author have been attempting to mirror our behavior by being as equally and oppositely silly?" More on this on Wednesday. Jeff
Bob Loblaw August 21, 2012 at 01:03 PM
If you have to explain something that is satire well after the fact, it's pretty clear that you're not a very good satirist. I believe you have been called out on this at least a handful of times before. What you said was embarrassing, petty, and misogynistic. "Can't we all be adults...?" How about leading by example, Jeff? I know that's hard for you, but practicing what you preach has never been your strong suit.
Jeff Ward August 21, 2012 at 01:08 PM
Bob, You are incorrect sir! This is exactly how satire is supposed to work. Much like Swift's "A Modest Proposal" it's supposed to provoke an immediate response. Then, upon further reflection, the reader.begins to understand the point the writer was trying to make. I figured that, rather that be assaulted by a rabid group of purseless teenage girls, I'd hasten that process. Jeff
A. E. Willadsen August 21, 2012 at 02:12 PM
Yea, Emma! You go, Girl!
A. E. Willadsen August 21, 2012 at 02:15 PM
Beautifully put, Becca!
A. E. Willadsen August 21, 2012 at 02:18 PM
Nice job, Becca!
Bob Johnson August 21, 2012 at 02:53 PM
I really wonder if executives at AOL had this kind of "satire" in mind when they launched Patch. I bet they'd be surprised. If recent events have taught us anything, it is that men old enough to be exempted by Medicare reform should probably tread carefully when pronouncing what women should and shouldn't be able to do (especially teenage girls). Most of your "satire" comes right from decades old stereotypes. I can't wait for your follow-up on race relations and the use of blackface. There was nothing hyperlocal about this piece. It was just hyperoffensive.
Natalie August 21, 2012 at 03:35 PM
Boys were allowed to carry a bag too as long as it was smaller than a textbook. Youre an ass.
Natalie August 21, 2012 at 03:35 PM
Boys were allowed to carry bags too as long as they were smaller than a textbook. You're an ass.
Jonathan Rischer August 21, 2012 at 03:54 PM
I am rather surprised at the high volumes of high schoolers who are commenting here that do not understand the concept of a satire. Usually, they are masters with the sardonic arts. But I digress... The argument that because the rule was not enforced and therefore they have no place in putting up a new rule is exceptionally fallacious. The fact is that enforcing a rule on size is difficult, seeing as size is a relative thing and that it would require greater attention on the staff's part. Banning purses all together makes no only a much easier to enforce rule, but is also objective with the guideline that anything with a strap is banned. Further, the concept that this is a sudden rule is not true. GHS emphasized the ban on backpacks last year, and also outright banned drawstring and biking bags. Not only that, but GTV had several segments on the purse size problem, and considering the administration hand picks every segment that goes through the news, it was obviously a warning. All of these things were ignored by the female population of GHS, and now, as a result, they have a ban on handbags. And so, as Jeff said, the girls of GHS have no one to blame but themselves for this ban, and maybe it should be a lesson to them for the future. As an aside, considering the amount of uproar this has made, the administration could possibly be persuaded into changing the rule, but not with the amount of foolish "protests" the girls currently have in mind, rather with actual reasoning.
Jeff Ward August 21, 2012 at 04:15 PM
Jonathan, Let me say you have an exceptionally bright future if your female compatriots don't kill you first! Jeff
Katie Willadsen August 21, 2012 at 04:31 PM
I am going to be a senior this year at GHS. Yes, I am a female. But that really makes no difference in my opinion. I will start off first, by saying how misogynistic, condescending, and sexist this column was, and how disrespectful it was. For the past two years, my locker has been so far away from my classes, that I NEVER had time to go to it during the day. I had to carry all my books with me all the time. That's a good 10 plus pounds of text books. As a result, besides the chiropractic adjustments that were necessary, I had to put the rest of my things (i.e. my pencil case and planner) in my purse. I honesty have no idea how I would have managed without my bag. On top of that, on Mondays and Fridays, it was necessary to bring my gym clothes with me for the first few and last few classes. Let's take a tour through another student's purse, mine for example, shall we? I have my wallet, house and car keys, inhaler for my asthma, water bottle, weight watchers point tracking book, my calculator, my weight watchers point manual, hair brush, lotion, hand sanitizer, pens, pencils, post-it's, cell phone, pads, panty liners, tampons, extra pair of undies, spray (for after gym), deodorant, and my copy of Gone With The Wind, along with whatever book we would currently be reading in English. That sounds like a lot, but believe me, I can fit it into a bag small enough that I wouldn't be breaking the big purse rule.
Katie Willadsen August 21, 2012 at 04:32 PM
Yes, I can do without SOME of that stuff for the most part during the day, but you think that I can fit my extra large pads and jumbo tampons in my pocket, or even in a small clutch? Ha! You must be dreaming. Oh? You think I'm getting a little too personal and graphic? Well maybe I should just come to class with a box of tampons. My period is my personal business and I should have the right to keep it private, and go to the bathroom with my purse and not have anyone think I'm going to change a tampon. Do you really think I have a third arm to carry around a clutch?! Furthermore, I don't even CARRY my makeup bag with me during the day, and for anyone to state that any "self respecting teen-age girl" would go anywhere without a make-up bag, is a generalization. I am perfectly able to respect myself without adding to L'Oreal's fortunes; I'm there to focus on education, not looks. If you think banning purses is going to lessen/stop the drug dealing/trafficking in our school, for adults, you sound incredibly naive. I'm not by any means someone who does drugs, or is dumb enough to bring them to school, but let's get real here for a second. If I were a dealer, my purse would be the last place I'd hide drugs because that's the first place anyone would look for them. There are so many other places that I'd be able to hide them on myself, i.e. inside of any of my clothing.
Katie Willadsen August 21, 2012 at 04:32 PM
Need I point out that half the members of our sports teams quite obviously carry chewing tobacco in their pockets? I believe it's illegal for them to even purchase smokeless tobacco. I don't understand why our administration can't enforce the "big bag" rule to begin with. Why can't they focus on some of the real issues at Geneva, like the massive bullying problem we have?! Why don't they hand out detentions when people use negative words like "faggot", "gay", or "retarded", or even curse words, for that matter. I, like my friend Becca, have brought problems I've had to our administration, only to be discounted and scooted out the door. I was harassed and called "Lesbian" which isn't offensive, but the intent was; the follow up was "The offender told us it was a long running joke." The intention of making someone feel bad about themselves is not the purpose of a joke or even funny. This is just one of the many poor experiences I've had in our Dean's office. The problem with the Geneva high school administration is that they make rules and DON'T ENFORCE THEM. Then they make other pointless rules that they do not enforce. This doesn't get anyone anywhere. I follow the rules at our school, but this is just insane. Please let us carry our reasonably sized purses. Let's not "throw the baby out with the bath water", as my mom always says.
Jonathan Rischer August 21, 2012 at 05:28 PM
The funniest part of the bring a small bag in a large bag is that I have seen girls who do this, but they also bring the large bag out of a backpack. I wonder sometimes if their home is just not one very large bag in which they put themselves.
Katie Willadsen August 21, 2012 at 05:42 PM
I speak for myself here, but I strongly disagree with the foolish "protests" such as petitions and what not, that girls in my grade are planning to do. I personally would much rather have a conversation with an administrator about this. Something can be worked out. The only problem is that our administration doesn't listen, even if we are being logical and rational.
Elaine Lane August 22, 2012 at 12:05 PM
I went to school for 12 years with NO backpacks. None of the students had one. The girls carried a small purse in high school. We took our little purse to the bathroom every time we went so nobody knew a thing. Wow, unbelievable. How the heck did we manage??!!!! As far as girls being "embarrassed" about their time of the month, gimme a break. Even middle school girls wear frighteningly short shorts and/or shirts with cleavage revealed, so that's just baloney. Take it from me, I know..........I work there and see it everyday. So you think they're going to get all red-faced when they carry their little purse to the bathroom cuz "everyone will know"? Puuuhleeze.
Jeff Ward August 22, 2012 at 12:24 PM
Rhonda, Will you marry me? Jeff
Jeff August 22, 2012 at 04:27 PM
Cool Rhonda! Your powers of observation enable you to speak for ALL females. What else are they ALL thinking?
Amanda Kappele August 23, 2012 at 02:52 AM
Jeff, I am both a woman and a journalism student, and I would just like to say that what you have written above is one of the worst examples of journalistic ability I have ever read. Journalism is not about blatantly bashing 14-year-old girls. It is about delivering the news to the public. I understand that this is an "opinion" piece, but you are out of line. Simply stating that you do not agree with the teenage girls of GHS would have sufficed. If you were writing for a major newspaper such as the Chicago Tribune you would be fired on the spot. You lack professionalism and you don't deserve to be called a journalist. The rest of the hard working people in this industry face so much scrutiny thanks to people like you who over step their boundaries. Unless you have recently had a sex change, you know nothing about being a woman, or how carrying a purse can sometimes be necessary. However, I will applaud you on your ability to complain. Your petulant whining resembles a 14-year-old girl far more than the behavior of anyone who actually attends GHS.
Jonathan Rischer August 24, 2012 at 03:35 AM
Katie -- A petition is not a terrible idea. I'm referring more to protests that go something along the lines of "let's carry around tampons!" or "let's just bring our purses anyway!" If the administration does not listen, then you need to be louder. Get more people to actually go to them. Or, better yet, go over their heads and talk directly to the school board. In my experience, they occasionally entertain logical arguments.
Sara Elliott August 28, 2012 at 06:59 PM
Yes--good for you for responding, Emma. I am a middle-aged woman and I was far more than "a little offended" when I read Jeff's little rant. If I were in the specific group he was insulting, I would be furious. Keep up with your volunteering and your concern for global issues. This world belongs to you and your peers and before too long you will make ignorant people like this columnist irrelevant.
Sara Elliott August 28, 2012 at 07:00 PM
Good for you for calling out the misogyny, Katie. Unfortunately, it won't be the last time you have to do it, but stick with it.
Sara Elliott August 28, 2012 at 07:03 PM
So, you criticize teenage girls for not directing their energies toward more serious concerns like poverty and justice, yet you direct your energy to the even more trivial, non-existent "problem" that some young women don't like a school rule. Sure makes me glad I don't live in Geneva. I know the long and repeated sets of comments pointing out your ignorance and disrespect and lack of writing skills won't have any impact on your ego but maybe they will eventually have an impact on the Patch editors who might decide to stop running your drivel.

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