Unfriendme Here

Good evening. Despite the title of this poem, no unfriending is required. Actually this is not a poem. Or maybe, it is. It took everything I had to not put quotation marks around the term, but since I heard recently that the word unfriend was chosen as the word of the year by those that be, I feel obligated to treat it as any other work. It only makes sense. I just spoke with my brother who wanted to know the trick to unfriending certain Facebook visitors he’s collected because he hadn’t set up his privacy screens yet. Clearly, his rural life has him lulled into believing that Internet traffic would not cause any problems; much like his habit of never locking his front door because he lives so far off the cliched beaten path. Anyway, (forgive me now so that I don’t have to keep asking for forgiveness when using the transition anyway when I want to change topics), I liked the idea of pairing this word unfriend with the Lady Macbeth line, “Unsex me here,” because I think that in the past when women asked to be considered for their humanness, like Lady Macbeth does, it was almost certainly a call to be unfriended by far too many people. Maybe it still is. I find all of this ironic because I’ve never once felt less than, or unequal to any of my male counterparts in education, my career for the past 19 years. At least not until now. I’m not naive. I know about inequities and sexism and slave trades and discrimination and Seneca Falls and Sojourner Truth. Eternal optimism, however, has been my guiding light for eons, so I rarely contemplated the gender issue because of my outlook and my sexually privileged, white, middle class background. So, what has brought this all about now? Oh, it’s really a local issue about school politics. You see, I’m a high school teacher, a frumpy middle-aged woman who teaches English. I’m married to a Marine Corp Veteran from the Vietnam era who suffers from diagnosed post-traumatic stress disorder and who is also a raging sexist. Don’t worry, I remind him that he is sexist on a regular basis, and because I can and do speak about it, I can live with him that way. What’s really gotten me, however, is the tone of the politics at school. In the last two years, I’ve sensed that too many of the strong women with whom I work have stopped talking. They’ve stopped contributing to the dialog of change. Right now, I think it’s because the administration is focused on building athletics. There’s a lot more to say, so I’ll get back to you soon.

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