girls Archives - The Jose Vilson


Sugar, Spice, and Other Items We Should Never Mix

by Jose Vilson on May 25, 2010

in Jose

Bad Sugar

Bad Sugar

“They say you can’t turn a bad girl good, but once a good girl’s gone bad, she’s gone forever.” – Jay-Z, “Song Cry”

Five years ago, when I first used this quote for my former blog, I wrote about my relationships with the opposite sex, and pondered whether the adversities of the ones I’d met and dated left them bitter to any man. I was a “nice guy” then, and didn’t care too much about hearing about baggage, preferring to implicitly pontificate about letting all that go and giving a nice guy a chance. In my myopic view, I only saw these complaints as self-defeating, hallow, and trite. Even after witnessing the struggles my mother had with certain men in her life, I turned callous to some women’s predicaments.

Nowadays, after my experiences in education, I quickly grew to see the vile nature of relationships between boys and girls, and their older counterparts. The rampant “playing around,” teasing, and the lack of consequences on many parties’ ends develops into dangerous relationships in the future. People say that it makes girls stronger to deal with certain crap, but it makes them emotionally debilitated.

We need less of that.

I have a couple of girls in my class whose attitudes simply reek. For many, their auras give off poison and no one even wants to speak in their general direction, much less have conversation with them. One of them I’ve known for three years, and the other for two, and for both, there’s a sense that they’re both on a downward spiral into a place where there is no reproach for them. The sweet, hard-working girls I knew at glimpses of their lives became embroiled in mess after desensitizing mess. It pains me that they neither wish to have anyone reach out to them or have any real ambitions for anything besides making it to the next day.

Upon reflecting on this, and my long day with the two girls who’ve found tranquility in reading books in the back of my classroom (in my math class), I spotted one of them getting on the train. As a fellow teacher and I tried to encourage her in a setting where she had no one around her, she sounded (relatively) rational, and she had an even temper. She almost looked like the girl who I always believed was in there, but a big part of me saw that I wouldn’t get this version of her under normal circumstances.

It dawned on me then that at this stage in her life, she’s not receptive to anyone, even as they’re trying to help her. She respects our efforts, but she fully recognizes that the time and place she’s at now doesn’t fit with what I can provide as her teacher. Moments like this make me grimace as I type this. It’s not that she’s a bad girl or a good girl; it’s that she’s simply not ready, and when she is, she will.

Now, I think about the women who I once pontificated about, and am immediately humbled. Time and place are ingredients we don’t always have control over, and that’s what makes life bittersweet.

Mr. Vilson, whose chin gets checked whenever ego is involved …


Why Little Girls Shouldn’t Be Single

by Jose Vilson on May 17, 2010

in Jose

Teaching middle school has taught me at least two things about the thought process of children under 15: they believe they’re too old to be chastised by anyone but their parents (and in some cases, no one at all) and they have control over their own bodies. Part of that is developmental and evolutionary; we look to grow into ourselves, finding the rapid changes disturbing and replying by controlling the smaller parts that haven’t changed. Adolescence is scary, and not enough people know how to handle it delicately.

I do, however, have serious trouble looking at the above video and simply let that go. Many of you have seen this video and probably thought, “Why did this happen? Why do I feel strange about this? What makes this video so different from the other YouTube videos of gyration and bouncy baseline? The dancers are talented, surely, the uniforms look well done, and the replication of Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” is also remarkable. The energy on the stage seemed as infectious for the audience as for the hundreds of viewers and commenters to this exhibition.

That’s the most interesting thing about infections. People who have infections often jump up in excitement, preoccupied with the curiosity of this infection, but it’s still an infection, in need of a cure. The central point of intrigue is that the video isn’t showing grown women well in control of their sexuality or their lives; it’s showing little girls imitating such women. It’s not only distressing, but also indicative of the values our society holds (or doesn’t) for our young girls and boys.

Pardon me in my conservatism here, but shouldn’t we teach children how to be children until they getting closer to adulthood? For many of our children growing up in hardship, we find their parents groom them into young men and women well before they’re ready, and it often leads to children thinking they’re too grown for reproach or critique in their daily lives. They learn the harshest parts of adulthood without understanding the emotional and the genteel. They curse without understanding who they’ve damned, and retaliate without feeling consequence. They kiss and they’re immediately told they’re no longer “single.”

Children shouldn’t have such the burden of anything above a friendship. That’s where the issues of relationships start.

Furthermore, we see a dose of the sexualization of little girls, whose dance moves and dress emulates full grown women, but they can’t handle such a responsibility. Do they understand what Beyonce means when she asks a suitor to put a ring on it? When she tells her former man, who after several years never asked for any real commitment from her, to go away? In what club will the young ladies in the video pretend to be besides the Boys and Girls Club? Do tea parties and jumping jacks no longer exist for little girls to entertain themselves? Will their parents, who clearly didn’t think these ramifications through, have to pack them a lunch before they get into the club?

Children under a certain age shouldn’t be allowed to bestow titles meant for grown-ups upon themselves. That’s a roll call too many of us can agree with.

Jose, who, according to Mr. McLeod, deserves a bigger audience. Clap for him.