Thursday, August 8, 2013

THE HOTNESS: A Modern Teen Pride and Prejudice (chapter thirty-six: Duel)

Chapter Thirty-six
The dueling debaters were getting ready for class finals. The winning pair would get a much coveted and not-so-Easy A. This looked great on college applications – obviously. Various regional and sectional teams had been beaten along the way. Over the semester the team had dwindled down to these two pairs (yep, you guessed it) Mackenzie and Darcy and Paige and Ryan.
    Everyone was given alternate arguments to prepare for many possible topics.  These included:
Should the US allow human cloning?
Should the US have a draft for military service?
Has feminism delivered less than it promised?

Darcy’s eyes skimmed over the notes.

   Darcy was still reeling from the debacle of his grandfather’s LA vacation cancellation (his grandparents had decided to meet up with the family over summer instead) and break up with his fake girlfriend Mackenzie. Mackenzie had ripped up the contract when she found Darcy checking out a class photo of Paige – yet again… But he liked the topic this time and Mackenzie assured him they could overcome their ‘issues’ and still work as a team.
    Wait… Mackenzie was called first. Darcy had also researched both sides of the argument:
    Has feminism delivered less than it promised?  
    Mackenzie folded her gum inside the paper on her desk as she took to the podium, her hair newly curled, her shoes freshly polished, her skirt with just the right amount of pleats. That was the way to drive a man crazy. Darcy was sure to want her back, especially after she threw herself at him that night and they… but wait.
    Mackenzie looked up at the classroom stage lights. Strangely enough, she was pleased to be the center of attention. Paige and Wickam looked on intently, their fates hanging onto her every word, she’d better make sense to beat Paige. Darcy chewed the end of his pencil wondering how Mackenzie would play this one.
    “Opening arguments,” the teacher announced, “First up, Miss Mackenzie Bingley”
    “Good morning Ladies and gentleman,” (Rys’ eyes rolled)
    “Oh, I need to stop you there, Mackenzie. We generally end pleasantries before debate starts.”
     “Oh, well, I think it’s polite.”
      Rys laughed. Mrs Tartt looked on disdainfully.
     Mackenzie continued…  “Once upon a time I would not have labeled myself a feminist. I Sometimes I think feminism has been bad for women and good for men because… well, the truth is, I think it’s taken away the need for men to do stuff – you know, be nice to us – woo us before they’ve tried to sleep with us (Mackenzie glared at Darcy) not that I’m advocating sleeping together before marriage – but… When I look back at what has been given to girls and women since our struggle towards emancipation started, beginning with… with… the suffragettes way back, like a hundred years ago, I think about the main issue of human rights – equality under the law – which is what all human beings strive for, I’d say here in the US women have been accorded those rights – but we still earn far less than men on average, for doing the same jobs…”
    The class, who’d arrived in dribs and drabs, sat in the back row as Mackenzie rolled her gum into a tissue, spellbound.
     Mackenzie shrugged before she continued:
    “I mean, really. Do we even need to have this discussion? I have to say, I thought this topic was really stupid, but anyway… Equality exists for everyone, right? WRONG! Equality exists for the majority – but there are heaps of peeps, not just women, who live in a great democracy like this one, like The United States of America but don’t get treated equally before the law… for various reasons.” Mackenzie then added, “I think it’s obvious that, like, decades ago, before the 1960s for example – my grandmother worked as a teacher,” at this point Mrs Tartt’s ears pricked up, “but only earned around seventy percent of the male wage for doing the same exact job. That’s so wrong, I’m sure you would all agree. So, obviously, equality is important. Where feminism went wrong is its focus on the small things. Like I said, if a boy wants to open my door for me…” At this point Rys could be clearly heard saying, “like that would ever happen,” under his breath. “For example, when a boy tries to open my door for me or carry my shopping I’m all, sure fine, but it doesn’t mean I can’t do it by myself. It might just mean I don’t want to. I mean, why would I need to if I have a man-servant of my own, for example?”
    At this point Mackenzie was starting to weird peeps out with her obvious love of the podium and power and had started to talk more adultly on the topic, even using the word “sexism” at least six times and Mrs Tartt was getting a bit worried the debate topic was getting into senior territory.
    “To conclude, I have to agree that feminism has delivered less than it promised by taking more than we expected. Many women are now forced to raise children and earn a living because men either can’t or don’t take their responsibilities seriously. However, let’s all agree that feminism has delivered much to teenage girls. I’m proud to call myself a feminist! I’m proud to have the rights I have – to wear what I like and be who I am. I expect equal pay for equal work and to be treated equally under the law of this great land. Because aren’t some women allowed to rule the world now? We could even become President… one day, couldn’t we? One day… just not to-day. That is why feminism has promised less than it has delivered... so far.”
    The class was silent. Then, they started to clap. Reluctantly Paige and Ryan joined in.
    “Well, thank you, Mackenzie, we were all quite.. surprised by your… argument.”
    “I wasn’t finished Miss Tartt,” Mackenzie smiled sweetly.
    “I think we all get your point. Step down now.”
     “I hadn’t realized, until today, how much of a feminist I am,” Mackenzie hissed under her breath.
     Someone laughed.
    “You may laugh but any female who accepts that she should be treated equally before the law is a feminist by association!”   
     The class was stunned by Mackenzie’s speech.
     “Let’s see you do better, Rys,” Mackenzie hissed.  
      Rys was next. He was slightly embarrassed to have to speak on this topic. Female subjects in general were quite irritating, but to see Darcy’s smug face was really the limit.