There is an old teacher’s contract circulating wildly around Facebook this week. It’s a contract from 1923, and it outlines all of the guidelines a female teacher must follow to keep her job. All the guidelines pertain to her physical appearance and how she spends her personal time. Well, almost all of them — there’s also something about keeping the classroom clean. It may be the most absurdly sexist thing you’ve ever seen.
The contract was posted on Ohio Education Association’s Facebook page:
Not to keep the company of men, not to drink beer, wine or whiskey, not to dye hair, not to dress in bright colors, not to smoke cigarettes — the entire contract covers what the teacher should look like and how she should behave. Not one mention of anything pertaining to her actual job — except that she has to be sure to clean and scrub the classroom floor and blackboard. I’m pretty sure the phrase, You’ve come a long way, baby was uttered for the first time after someone unearthed this contract.
So we can see that our amazing ability to overlook a woman’s skills and focus on the way she looks has deep roots in this country. Great.