Girls without purses

September 11, 2008

It may sound sexist to even say this, but I’ve never known many women in my life — and I mean from the most liberal of them to the most conservative, the most devout to the most agnostic, the most traditional to the most liberated — who would ever go anywhere without their purses. Good thing schools weren’t so security-conscious when they were growing up:

In a variation of the saying that a woman without her handbag feels as lost as a wanderer in the desert, female students at Hanover Central High School in Cedar Lake, Ind., just want theirs to carry to the bathroom.

A newly enforced rule this school year prohibits purses in the classrooms, adding to an existing ban of book bags and backpacks. But the latest provision is exasperating some students and their parents, who say the policy compromises the privacy of girls.

At a school board meeting this week before a standing-room-only crowd, mom Janet Brennan demonstrated how uncomfortable it is to cram feminine hygiene products into pockets already stuffed with a pen, pencil, calculator and other items.

“I was trying to make a point,” said Brennan, whose 15-year-old daughter, Kristin Lynch, is a sophomore at the school. “They have to carry these products in their pocket. Girls that age are easily embarrassed; they don’t want people to know they have their period.”

I’m told by my spies that many high school girls today do go purseless, choosing the backpack option instead. Wonder how many Hanover Central girls started carrying purses when the backpacks were banned? I’m betting once school officials get tired of the outrage they’ve triggered, something more sensible will be in place, like a limit on how big purses can be. Maybe the boys ought to start carrying purses to show their solidarity with the girls.


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