why didn’t anybody say…

“In first grade, I came home crying because a boy at school had pulled my long, beloved braid so hard that my scalp still hurt. My mother laughed and said, “That’s how you can tell that boys like you.” The next time it happened, I turned around and punched my tormentor in the mouth, knocking out one of his teeth. I wound up in the principal’s office, and my mother cut off my hair. Oh no, I thought, something is very wrong here. Why didn’t anybody say… That’s how you can tell that girls like you”?”

—from ‘A Click is a Noise that a Woman Makes’, by Pat Califia, in the anthology Click: Becoming Feminists, edited by Lynn Crosbie (McFarlane Walter & Ross, 1997)

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