Tales of School Sexism from a 10 year old

Weights and Measures


Hello I am an anonymous writer of the age of 10 and I am writing about sexism in my school, this is one of my many blogs that I am going to do under this title.

This is my first “story” of sexism, so here it goes!

A couple of weeks ago I got a letter home and it said “your child/children are going to be weighed and measured if you do not want your child/children weighed and measured return this slip at the bottom”. So my mum took one look at it and gave me the slip to take back because she said, if she thought that if I was underweight or overweight she would weigh me herself!

A  couple of weeks after that, our teacher announced that it was going to happen today. When it was all over, I went over to my friends and they were all comparing their weights! I was disgusted! They didn’t even know what it meant because they were weighed in Kg’s, so they were comparing things they didn’t know! But then I went over to the boys and they didn’t mention a word about it.

This story was about how girls and women are pitted in competition with each other over anything and I find it appalling. Girls are competing with other girls, and they don’t even know it. The boys get around it. No-one cared about how much they weighed.

Why can’t we all be treated as equals?

How do we sort this out?


42 thoughts on “Weights and Measures

  1. Reblogged this on Tea Talks and commented:
    What a wonderful post from a very smart young person, although a sad indictment of the moment modern world.

  2. how sad this is something you’ve experienced, but how wonderful that you’re so aware of this being so wrong, and how very good put. I look forward to reading more of your posts.

  3. It’s a tough issue, but you’re being very brave to bring it to widespread attention. Perhaps you can show your friends how much better it is to be proud of what you can do with your body (breathe, digest food, run, climb trees, play football, help your parents carry groceries and fix things around the house) than to focus on how much it weighs?

    Good luck with your blog! Keep fighting for equality!

  4. So fantastic to see such a young person speaking up about these issues. Really well written too. Keep blogging about this stuff – it’s really important.

  5. I’m so sick of sexism in schools! I got so annoyed about it I went to see my daughter’s headmaster. The girls still aren’t allowed to wear trousers (even though I’m pretty certain that’s not legal) but at least the girls don’t have to walk behind the boys anymore. Great blog and look forward to more. Think I might get my 11-year-old feminist at home to read it too.

    • I remember there being a big fuss (sorry, bad choice of word) over girls being able to wear trousers a few years ago, but I thought it had been all sorted and they we’re now ok to wear trousers. I know that the case locally to me.

  6. Great Post!

  7. Brilliant blog. My 10 year old has had the same letter and I was happy to say no. But she wanted to be weighed as worried about being the only one notweighed.
    I am expecting the girls to behave as you described. I hope I am wrong! 😊

  8. thank you everybody for your comments, I really appreciate it and didnt expect so many people to look at it.

    I wont be able to reply to all of you because then i wont have time to go to school!

  9. This is a great idea for a blog, I look forward to reading more.

  10. A wonderful post, and you should keep going.

  11. Great blog and post! It’s a shame that at 10 years, girls are already comparing their weights to other girls (not taking into account height, frame size, genetics, etc.). Wondering at what average age does this all start with girls, and why does it even start. Looking forward to reading more. : )

  12. I am a head teacher and have to fight sexism at school every day. Please keep going – we need to hear your voice.

  13. So brilliant that you are speaking out about this. Also brilliant that you have noticed something is wrong. Will definitely keep up with your blog!

  14. I noticed a comment on Twitter which suggested that because the girls were competing with each other, and the boys were not involved there was “no sexism” at work in the situation you described. I think that remark shows a fundamental misunderstanding of what sexism is. Your understanding is better.
    Sexism isn’t confined to instances of aggression/abuse/oppression/undermining etc. perpetuated by individual or groups of men/boys directly against women/girls. It can also be the product of a culture which has for so long valued women and girls only for their bodies – shape and size and weight – and their looks – conforming to a certain ideal – that women and girls completely internalise these values, which is what leads to the competition. Because boys aren’t expecting ever to be judged that way, they can safely ignore.
    I think it’s really admirable that you can see the bigger picture and understand how a sexist culture shapes behaviour of girls and boys. I’m looking forward to what else you notice in future. Keep it up. x

    • I sorry, but I am still going to disagree. Boys/men are also in competition in regards with their looks, mostly because girls/women have their version of perceived beauty in relation to how a man should look. Who’s biceps are larger? How many “packs” you can count on their stomach, etc. So just because they didnt make a fuss that day, did definetily not mean that boys ignore these standards. I’ll bet that if you measured the boys upper arms, they would have definitely been comparing results!
      I also disagree with your argument that it is a matter of culture, conceptions and upbringing, because then you can take any culture on earth and attribute their measurements of perceived beauty of any kind to sexism. In every instance there is a different interpretation of beauty, and surely you cant propose to label all of that as sexism? I believe its a matter of personal taste as to what the definition is of beauty and how you live by that values. In the end, it will always be a matter of “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”. And you cant label a group of people as sexist because their perceptions of beauty seems to be the same. The best you can do is not judge them by your standards.

      • Hi Ester

        This is SiS’s Mum. I would prefer you to remember that you are talking to a 10 year old child.

        Thanks for your comment, but I suggest that this blog isn’t appropriate for you.

  15. Well, this gives me a lot of hope. Keep talking.
    You don’t need to reply!

  16. Well, this gives me a lot of hope. Keep talking.
    No need to reply!

  17. I teach in a secondary school and hear my female students comparing themselves to others, celebrities, but more worryingly, what their boyfriends want them to look like. What a great idea for a blog, I look forward to reading more of your posts!

  18. I am sorry, but I truly dont see the point where you feel experienced “sexism” in that situation. If you want to label the process of measurements being taken as “gender discrimination”, I think you need to elaborate on your definition thereof. I would concede that had the boys not been measure, that would have been sexist, but you indicate that they were merely not intrested in the results after being weighed and measured.
    Comparing these measurements is in my opinion quite a natural response to the process. Especially amongst girls. We tend to do that even in real life as grown ups. Yes, it could surely lead to a situation where a boy or girl could be made fun of because of the results, but mostly bullying is not defined by gender. Its absolutely horrifying, but it is not sexist.
    Last point on my comment- measurements taken in different metric systems doesnt change the results in terms of higher and lower: 20kg will always be more than 19kg or 10kg, just like 20 pounds is more than 19 pounds. Even if you convert kgs to pounds (or the other way around for that matter), 20 will still ALWAYS be more than 19. Not that difficult to compare then hey?
    Trust me, boys are also concerned about measurements, just not necessarily the same type if stuff as girls.

  19. I’m not sure everyone understands what sexism is, luckily this 10 year old does!
    The issue in this situation is that these young girls are comparing weight in the same way the media compare women’s weight, the sad fact is that already at 10 years old, girls are aware that they are expected to watch their weight, and the boys have no such worries.
    Sexism in the Oxford dictionary: Prejudice, stereotyping, or discrimination, typically against women, on the basis of sex
    It is not always something forced upon women by men, it is also very often encouraged to women by other women.

  20. My daughter is SEVEN and has already experienced sexism in school. She was told she shouldn’t wear her Superman vest ‘because you’re a girl and that’s for boys’, she was asked why she had a Spiderman lunchbox ‘because it’s for boys’ and has also been told she can’t play football because the boys said “girls are rubbish at it!” She told everyone that she could like and play with whatever she wanted whether she was a girl or boy. The world needs more young people to recognise when sexism is going on because so many people STILL think it’s ‘natural’ for girls to be competitive or interested in their looks over their minds. You don’t come out of the womb more interested in football and comics if you’re male or m

  21. I know why they’re doing this in school, to amke sure the kids aren’t overweight / underweight and healthy, but have you asked your friends why they’re bothered or not about it?

    • Another dude here to gaslight a 10 year old girl. Classy.

      • Yisheng I’m not sure this comment was intended in a negative way. Surely it is important to encourage children of whatever age to question things! SiS is already setting a brilliant example for her peers by doing so.

    • Fun fact, dude: you can’t tell whether or not somebody is healthy based on whether their weight is over or under an arbitrary weight chart. So weighing students doesn’t actually do anything except promote those arbitrary standards for who is/isn’t considered “acceptable”, and pass them on to kids.

      • I’ve asked you nicely once not to call me that, by continuing to do so, you’re just proving to everyone the kind of person you are.

        It’s called BMI saralinwilde, they take your weight, they take your height, and they they come up with a figure. Mine is something like 95kg and 5’10 which puts my BMI at about 28-29 which means I’m classed as overweight. I’d assume they’d be doing these checks in school once every 12 months to monitor the health of the students.

        SIS is ten years old, no offence to you SIS, and is blogging about her experiences as a ten year old girl. SIS, don’t let anything stop you from being who you want to be, whatever that is, whatever anyone else says about it.

  22. That’s exactly what I’m wondering.Why can’t people be treated as equals in all areas of life?I must commend you for your bravery.Keep up the good fight.If you want to talk,feel free.Film2240 🙂

  23. That’s a really good example of how girls and boys are brought up to think about their weight. Sadly I think it gets worse as people get older – at my work the men sometimes talk about how much they weigh but the women refuse to tell anyone. It’s really sad that women in particular can’t accept themselves and their bodies for how they naturally are. I look forward to your next post!

  24. Pingback: Weights and Measures | misssherwood

  25. We are listening, little sister. Keep speaking!! We need your voice and your sharp, sharp brain!

  26. I’m super impressed with this blog entry. If only I’d been as observant, mature, and articulate as you when I was ten! Kudos to your mum, too, for not buying in to the weight-policing junk that’s in our school – heck, our entire society! I’ll be following your blog and Twitter, because I think you rock!

  27. This blog is amazing! It teaches youngsters and adults about sexism and that is is wrong! I hope you blog regularly! You rock! X

  28. What a great blog, and well done (anonymous ten year old) for starting it. I’m a mum of a now 14 year old boy, and we had this situation at his primary school 3 years ago. I hope our experience is a little reassuring in terms of concerns about sexism.

    We were told about the weigh-in, not totally sure we had option of dropping out. I am not sure the children were told the weights – although, clearly could see them. We received a letter telling us that he was a little overweight. I tried to hide it, and then to tactfully manage eating. He found letter, and was quite upset. We got over it, but I do wonder if it would be better to have discussed eating and exercise habits, rather than weight.

    And, as far as your school goes, I also wonder if it would also have been better to have talked about diet and exercise. And perhaps your teachers should try and deal with the conversations?

    It would be wonderful if the world allowed you and your friends to grow up in a less sexist place.

  29. Dear Lovely SiS,

    I am so glad that you realise that it isn’t good for girls to compare their weights with each other. It’s very sad that women are expected to be skinny and that young girls are beginning to feel that they should be too.

    You say in your About Me section that you like to ride your scooter. That’s great! Keep doing that for as long as it makes you happy. A person who has a healthy body that lets them play games, sports and with friends and family has the best kind of body. Both men and women should be proud of what their bodies can DO, rather than what it looks like or how much it weighs. Cool sportswomen like Jessica Ennis-Hill, Hannah Cockroft and Laura Trott are fantastic role-models for women and girls of any age because they are achieving greatness for their sporting talents and not their appearances.

    Weight is just a number. Did you know that muscle weighs more than fat? Therefore, a slim, sporty person can weigh more than a person who appears larger and has some fat on their body. There is no point in comparing weight because the numbers mean nothing. A healthy body is a happy body.

    Stay grounded, SiS, and good luck with your blog.

    All the best

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