Just look at how they report on this. Gaaaah. I'm supposed to be impressed and inspired, and sometimes I am, but other times I just feel SQUICKED!
"Her first year, while changing a tire, she broke a nail she'd been growing for months. She was pissed off and didn't touch a car until the next year, when her teacher threatened to fail her for not getting in the grease enough. Now she enjoys lying flat on the creeper, which she prefers to call a skateboard, wheeling it under the car and diagnosing the trouble. "I can tell my father what's wrong," she explains. "I say, 'Yo, Papi. Something's wrong with your struts, mad wrong.' "
On the one hand, it's great that she finally got into repairing cars.
On the other hand, (a) did you HAVE to find the girl who whined about her broken nail and use that stereotypicalness in the article?, and (b) what the hell kind of automotive school lets anyone, girl or no, not touch the cars?!?! Shouldn't she BE flunking in year one from not touching a car at any point?
"At first she was intimidated by being the token female in so many of her classes; she was scared and worked best with her lips sealed. But now she's known as a talker; she's become a master at the art of being herself. She knows how to turn overenthusiastic boys into relationships that please her—to boys that are friends or boyfriends."
This is a big theme in this article: go to a mostly-boys school so you can get some deep dickin'. After all, they can't be at all particular about the pickins.
"The girls of Automotive High School don't always know how to stoke an engine or change a spark plug by graduation time,"
WHAT?! Why the hell NOT?! It's AUTOMOTIVE SCHOOL. That's like sending my ass to college for clothing design and me graduating without any clue as to how to use a sewing machine.
"but they know how to deal with the young men who come hollerin' and looking for a good time. The school teaches how to fix cars, but these teenage girls also learn in essence how to fix themselves. They shatter stereotypes as well as break through cultural and social barriers. The process gives them a tough exterior, which will help them overcome the challenges that await in the real world, a real world that is not always fair to women."
On the other hand, I can't argue with any of that. That's the warm n' fuzzy bit.
"There are 66 girls, outnumbered by 1,000 boys. We're looking at a ratio of one girl to every 15 hormonal teenage boys. Melissa Singh is a senior and has yet to get her fingers greasy."
I'm going to keep reiterating this: why is ANYONE attending AUTOMOTIVE SCHOOL getting away without touching a car?
"Juana Abreu, Greidenix "Grey" Maria, and Audris Abreu are also seniors here. They came in as freshmen, when fewer than 20 girls roamed the corridors. It wasn't that they wanted to be able to navigate the undersides of two-ton vehicles as much as wanting to stay in one close-knit clan. As junior high students, they all marked Automotive High as their first choice, knowing that few girls went there and that chances were they wouldn't be split apart."
Aw, that's sweet.
"Many girls didn't mark Automotive in the top five of their 12 selections, but ended up there anyway due to the Department of Education's unpredictable method of placement. Luciana Volcy and Leah Collado wanted nothing to do with the school; they heard packs of boys ruled the halls and that any girl who went there was ugly. The day they got their acceptance letters from Automotive—home of the Pistons—they burst into tears. Analise Rivera's grandfather sold car parts in an old parking lot in Hartford, Connecticut. She was familiar with the auto industry but never thought she'd be the one to handle lug wrenches in the family. When she got word that Automotive would be her home for the next four years, she was scared. She knew the rumors: No girls went there and if they did, they were boy-crazy or boyish themselves. Katrina Green didn't get into her first-choice school, Stuyvesant, where all the city's top students are known to go. Automotive and Clara Barton, a health-themed school, offered her a place. She grudgingly took the spot at Automotive. She had a history of girl fights and Clara Barton had too many girls. With fewer young women, Katrina saw fewer chances of detention time."
I don't know squat about NYC schools, but it seems kind of sad that people get forced into going there when they don't have the interest.
"And though no one admits this about herself, it's always an accusation from peers, teachers, and kids around town: Many girls do come to Automotive for the abundant supply of boys. No girl said boys were a reason for coming, but no one mentioned too much about cars either, except for wanting to own one at some point in time."
I don't know what to say to that.
"Above, etched into the brick facade, is the saying "Manhood, Service, Labor, Citizenship." When she became principal four years ago, manhood had been covered with rusty red sheeting by a female staff member. Upon taking the reins from a succession of male principals, she asked Mr. Jackson, the janitor, to let manhood once again shine. "For all of mankind," Silberman says. "I'm a different kind of feminist."
If it's an all-boys school, fine. But it is NOT.
And what the heck is a "different kind of feminist"?!?!?
Given how much girl outreach goes on at the school itself (I won't post all of the examples, but they do a good job), it seems kind of cold that they can't at least change a dang sign a little.
"Gym is the class that brings almost all the girls' grade point averages down. They don't want to change clothes, play basketball with all the sweaty boys, or yell at the big guys to stop hogging the weight machines. Coincidentally (or not), a large percentage of Automotive girls are plagued with a permanent case of menstruation, which serves quite conveniently as an excuse for standing on the sidelines during each period of physical education. So, during specific periods, Silberman closes the weight room for girl use only."
And we're back to another broken nail-type analogy.
I don't know about you, but having my period (or claiming to) got me out of NOTHING in P.E. class. Including swimming. There's just something weird about this school letting girls get away with stuff. It's like "OMG, foreign creatures!" Isn't it 2006?
Uh, I somehow doubt the girls are using the same locker room as the boys, so I'm not sure why changing clothes is an issue. I can understand the other aspects, and it's nice that the girls can use the weights alone if that's freaking them out. But dangit, they would NOT have allowed such shit when I was in school. If that involved the girls playing a game of b-ball by themselves, then fine.
"The privileges are a plus, but it's still hard for a girl to stay the path at a mostly boys' high school. Katrina Green entered in 2003 with 18 other freshman girls; three years later, there are only eight left from her class. The others transfer or drop out for various reasons, one being that they don't like cars, but the biggest and most preventable reason is getting a bad name for going out with too many boys or with one in particular who likes to spread rumors. Automotive is different from other schools because of the 15 car laboratories inside, but it's similar in another sense: It's a laboratory where females and males are experimenting with each other for the first time. But the ratio of girls to boys changes things around. Girls accuse Automotive boys of being the worse gossipers in all of New York: They say word of any hanky-panky will spread within an hour. Girls find that to stay the course, they must develop ways to cope, and often that method is depending on each other for advice and acquiring a strong sense of self."
Annnnd we're on to "Girls are whores!" Lovely!
"When Juana first arrived at Automotive, she wasn't so assertive. The first time she dated someone, she remembers being treated like turf. "I was Ray's girl," she says. "Even after we broke up."
"She'd enter the hall with her friend Melissa, and they'd find bestowed upon them the power of Moses. The sea of boys would part. It converged only after the girls' swaying behinds were out of sight. The girls didn't know what to do but accept they'd be watched.
The girls discovered a tactic so they could walk more covertly. They use a similar book bag—rectangular with a long strap. They hang the bag diagonally over their bodies and swing the bag to the back until it covers their butts—no boy can say or pinch anything with a big black bag hiding their cheeks."
Or just plain ol' meat.
"At least that was the original plan, back in 2003. But hiding behind some black bag wasn't going to do for four years of school. Soon they changed their ways; they learned that being the minority means that to be heard, they've got to brew up a louder voice."
Okay. Well, good for them.
"Juana and her friends have been able to use the school as a laboratory, experimenting with, honing, and understanding the extent of their womanly powers. Juana and Grey are both 17 years old. Grey is Juana's niece, the daughter of her oldest sister. As they blossomed, they tested the influence that piggybacked with their maturing bodies. Knowing that the boys of Automotive were desperate for female contact, during lunchtime, they would ply them for money. They'd dole out subtle nods, softly spoken words, and a slight tug on the sleeve. Their line was simple: Can you give me a dollar? It was a rare day when they couldn't earn more than 20. They never use the tactic anymore, but it helped them realize untapped potential. "We all got played at the beginning," she says. She won't take less than perfect for a partner anymore. "I need someone who's here 24-7 kissing my ass."
"Hi, I'm a girl. Give me money. Maybe I'll put out." $20 worth of that. A day.
"The girls form a small clique, but have learned to turn their disadvantage inside out—they've created new laws that rule school etiquette. After realizing their unique place in the school, they've found sometimes it's hard not to take advantage. The bell rings. Grey and Christina are the first into the hall; they recruit another friend on their way down to the basement cafeteria. Boys fill the benches like flocks of birds sitting wing to wing on telephone wires. The lunch ladies open their buffet; the starving boys rush forward and make a line out the door. The three girls wait until they're ready—a good five to 10 minutes—then ever so confidently shuffle to the front of the long line. "We've been doing this forever," says Grey.
A boy comes up to the wandering security guard, Garcia.
"They can cut in line 'cause they girls, right?" he says. Garcia nods. The girls laugh heartily and then dig in—nothing like pizza breads, fish sandwiches, and french fries without having to wait in line. Sometimes the privileges become weapons for the girls to use to gain advantage over the boys. It may not be fair, but neither is being outnumbered."
I don't even know what to make of that.
Boy, things are gonna change when these chicks leave Boyland.