12 June 2009

More Evidence That I Am A Crank

Last week, three weeks before the school year is to end*, the PTA sent out an email with a link to order school supplies for next year. Being the cussed disestablishmentarianist that I am, my first thought was "the hell with that, I'll buy the stuff myself". But I clicked through to see what was on the list, and found, to my enormous irritation, that the first grade supply lists were divided by gender - different lists for boys and girls.

There is one difference between the boxes: the boy's box has one box of 20 gallon sized zippered plastic bags, the girl's box has one box of 50 sandwich sized zippered plastic bags.**

But what thoroughly chaps my hide is that the girl supply list costs twenty cents more! What insidious form of discrimination is this? Isn't it bad enough that women earn less than men? Now it costs more to be a girl, too?

I can't imagine why they didn't split the difference, ten cents more to the boys, and ten cents less to the girls.

And in the end, I just bought the stuff - so I wouldn't have to think about it again - but not without leaving a comment about the pricing.








*Here in New York, school starts immediately after Labor Day and runs to the end of June. Anything else just seems weird to me.

**They're classroom supplies - it's not that boys need fewer bigger bags and girls need more smaller bags.

38 comments:

The LIbrary Lady said...

Okay, I will bite. What's on the list that's different for boys than girls? Blue vs pink notebooks or some such?

I mean, I know they grow up quickly. But I don't think they grow up THAT quickly and the only thing I can think of that my girls have needed for school that boys wouldn't are menstrual supplies :?

Aurelia said...

Same here, what's different on the lists?

abby said...

what decade is this anyway? and people still get mad at feminists for wanting equal rights. I'd be pissed too.

and I'm also curious about the difference. you must enlighten us.

Ms. N said...

That's just plain wrong. And I agree with the other posters in needing to know how the lists differed.

I'd be cranky too.

meno said...

Female supplies are expensive!

Aunt Becky said...

Wait, why are they different? My mind is boggling.

Kelly said...

I am dying to know what the difference is!

FreshHell said...

Same question. How do the lists differ and how did you learn that there's a price difference? We have the option of buying a box of supplies thru the PTA. The boxes include everything needed for the school year except extras like tissues, hand soap, etc. I haven't comparison shopped because I don't have time and would just as soon pay the price for the convenience of showing up the evening before school starts (or, the Fri before since we also start the day after Labor Day) and hauling the box to the classroom. If all that stuff sat around the house it would "disappear" long before school began. Who could resist 10 glue sticks and markers just sitting there?

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

Wow--our schools would ask for donations of that type of stuff, but our "school supply list" was always things the kids themselves used.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

As in notebooks and colored pencils I mean.

alejna said...

That would royally irritate me, as well. In fact it irritates me in general. Why have the lists by gender at all? Like we really need institutionalized reinforcement that girls and boys are treated differently in the education system. Ack.

Harriet M. Welsch said...

My son's school does the exact same thing with school supplies. In our underfunded school, many of the classroom supplies are farmed out for parents to provide. The gender division is just a convenient way for them to divide up the things the classroom needs -- boys bring kleenex, girls bring paper towels, boys bring one size of ziploc bags, girls bring another. The things each student uses are the same for everybody (pencils, crayons, folders, etc.) If we order through the school, though, the price is the same for everyone in the grade. AJ likes to buy his own stuff, though, so we usually buy it ourselves. I have never comparison shopped the male and female lists. Now I'm curious.

mayberry said...

How infuriatingly odd.

It's worth it to buy the stuff this way though--now you're done.

Awesome Mom said...

I don't get the need to separate the genders when it comes to school supplies. Strange.

flutter said...

preparing them for life, I suppose. Being a woman costs WAY more than being a man

Anjali said...

I concur with the first *

Starting school the second week in August and ending the Friday before Memorial Day is ludicrous.

apathy lounge said...

The biggest gripe is just that we're expected to help supplement the teachers' equipment. Dry erase markers. Surgical gloves for science experiments. Stuff the district used to pay for.

Stimey said...

Crank, yes. But totally justified crank, absolutely!

I probably would have written the exact same post. :)

The LIbrary Lady said...

Here in Virginia we run well into June and start after Labor Day. Across the Potomac in Maryland they start earlier. Makes that last week a GREAT time to go to the beach :D

painted maypole said...

that would piss me off, too. i was really ticked off last year when the private school that I (well, technically my inlaws) pay thousands of dollars to each year sent me a classroom supply list with things like markers, kleenex, etc. Why don't they just include all that crap in outrageous tuition, instead of nickel and diming me? My husband was SHOCKED that I just payed the PTA to buy it for me, rather than shopping myself for deals, but then I showed him the PAGE LONG list that was specific down to brand and color and asked him how many hours he thought I would dedicated to trying to find that stuff, and he said "hey, I'm proud of you, it's what I would have done"

Kyla said...

Yeah, I would be irritated too.

bernthis said...

that is ridiculous. You're right. We earn less and yet they charge us more...... I would have left quite the comment

Mark MacKay said...

The girls need small baggies for various colors of lipstick and nail polish. Emory boards as well. And curlers. Seems fair to me.

They also must have enough bags to contain supplies for different "looks". A bag is required for a "morning look" (i.e. light foundation and neutral polish).

A bag for a "snack look" (can also work for a "juice break" look).

The "naptastic look" is often overlooked and requires various brushes and hair product.

I could go on but I'm sure you already know all this. Gosh, school is hard for girls these days. Let's dump the math classes and focus on posture.

wheelsonthebus said...

so are these supplies for individual kids or for the classroom and they just divide it so they get different sized bags?

YourFireAnt said...

And they probably don't *need* ANY of that stuff. Did YOU have to bring in all that stuff when you were 5?

Woman in a Window said...

I'm thinking this whole thing is weird. Weird, weird, weird.

But I'm with you on the school calendar. Same thing here.

Life As I Know It said...

Our school JUST stopped asking for school supplies from parents last year. I always got a little cranky too when I saw the lists.
If the only difference was the zip-lock bag sizes, they should have just made one list and said buy either the sandwich OR the gallon size. Doesn't seem to make a lot of sense to make two separate lists just for baggies.

Nap Warden said...

OK...that's CRAZY!

liz said...

I wrote almost exactly this same post last year!!! I can't believe that school systems think this is an appropriate way to divide up the supplies

Furrow said...

If you have to buy these prescribed items from a prescribed source, why can't you just write a check and let the teacher do it? I'm lazy.

That's going to be a lot of dry erase markers for one class.

needleinahaystack said...

I got so pissed off I put my kid's name on everything!! We didn't have the option for someone else to buy it and we had to go on the treasure hunt through staples in the fall at night when all the at home mom's got to go during the day.
they had the nerve to ask me not to put his name on it that they weren't sure who would use it. I said, "oh really. I thought I had to buy it for my son's use". Honestly it is one of the wealthiest districts in the country with flat screens in every classroom. PLUHEEEZ

kathy a. said...

if they have to divide, then breaking up the A-Z list should work. but i don't blame teachers for going for any easy line of division -- why is it *their* job to hit up the parents for necessary classroom supplies in addition to everything else they need to ask of parents all year?

i don't see this as a feminist issue. i see it as a WTF school issue. everyone would be happier if the supplies could just be gotten in one costco visit, or whatever, instead of making everyone run around with a checklist.

Debbie said...

That is so odd. I am over those school supply lists and their weird items anyway!

julochka said...

ok, seriously weird that the first item on the list is baby wipes. that would so never happen in denmark. what's wrong with soap and water in the loo? when did baby wipes become a school supply. same with the zip-locs frankly...this is just weird.

Kelley @ magnetoboldtoo said...

Unfortunately, schools the world over are not known for their tact and forethought...

I would just buy the boys stuff anyway to see if they said anything...

Gwen said...

That's really, really irritating. I can't imagine that you were the only person annoyed by that.

Anonymous said...

Check your facts woman. That 75 cents on the dollar garbage is fiction. Diana Furchtgott-Roth exposes it as a myth here:

http://www.aei.org/issue/11344

RockyTopGal said...

I just blogged about these dang school supplies list on my own blog today. I'm over the entire supply lists completely - boys OR girls - it's all ridiculous. And I believe that I may have made your rant look sweet. I'm sick of the mindlessness of the whole process. Check it out if you get a minute - cateredcommentary.blogspot.com