There are long-held misconceptions around private Catholic all-girl schools. Typical outsider perspectives are that the girls in attendance are “hoes,” party girls, spoiled, rich and entitled. Why are these perspectives held and are they accurate?
Before public schools were formed, private education encompassed America. Whites were the only race to receive this education. Boys learned core subjects such as math and reading while girls learned the domestic arts. These standards set forth elitism and set strict separation between people at a young age.
Single-sex education has been common since the 19th century, particularly in secondary and higher education. This type of education was based on religion as well. These separations among individuals have collectively aided in certain stigmas held.
Stereotypes believed about children in attendance of these schools — specifically all-girl schools in this article — have been forming for quite some time.
Public schools started to form in the late 1800s and were much more popular in the 20th century. With education and resources now available to everyone and much more easily accessible, why do these negative opinions of private all-girl schools often still exist?
An important question to ask the youth is if and, why they believe girls at private all girl schools are different from girls at their school. When asking two males that currently attend public school this question, they had varied answers.
Aaron Ramirez does not believe that girls at all-girl schools are different from girls at his school.
“Whatever school you are gonna go to you are always gonna find that one girl that is always partying, sleeping around, so I believe no matter where you go you are always gonna find that one person,” Ramirez said.
Daniel Arochi offered a dissenting opinion when he explained his beliefs. He said that girls at his public high school were different from girls at private all-girl schools.
Arochi explained the differences between the two populations from his perspective.
“Most girls that go to all-girl schools happen to tend to turn out a little snotty,” Arochi said. “They tend to be all about themselves where girls at public schools just focus on their academics and focus on going to college whereas in girls that go to all-girl schools they are already paying to go to high school, so that means their parents already have the money to pay for them to go to college.”
Christopher Lidle, who attends a co-ed private Catholic high school, does not agree that girls at all-girl private schools are different from girls at his high school. He stated that he does not see a difference between the two.
Since these views have been forming for over two hundred years, it is also essential to look to another generation for insight. Christine Evans, who graduated from a public high school in 1980, gave a similar answer to Arochi’s. She too discussed how when she was in school the students that attended all-girl private schools were perceived as snotty.
Bringing in the perspective of those who attend a private Catholic all-girl school, Shantelle Serafin and Arabella Armel both believe that teens at other high school tend to hold certain negative views on their school. Armel discussed how she typically hears that girls at her school are stuck up, think that they are better than everyone else, “spoiled rich brats,” and that they are “sluts.”
Serafin weighed in with another stereotype she often hears about the all-girl school she attends.
“[I often hear] all of us are gay,” Serafin said, “That is the one I get a lot. The first question I get is ‘are you all lesbians?’”
Neither girls agreed with the stereotypes surrounding their schools and believed that themselves and their classmates were intelligent and respectful young women.
“I think these perspectives are held because no one really knows what it is like inside of an all-girl school. All they know is that we go to an expensive and prestigious private school,” Armel said.
But what if some of these stigmas around all girl schools and often private schools too are held because others forget to humanize those in attendance off these schools. Do they truly act that out of the ordinary, or are they just being typical teenagers? Do others expect those at religious-based schools to act differently because they have faith?
With these questions, a middle ground was reached. Each person agreed that sometimes the stereotypes were taken out of hand and often rooted in jealousy. Evans explained that she thinks many jump on the bandwagon when it comes to judging those who attend these all girl schools.
“I think a lot of people get jealous because they are in private school and their parents tend to have money, which is not true because some parents sacrifice to send their kids to a private school,” Evans said. “I think that kids just automatically assume like ‘ugh these chicks go to an all-girls school. They are whores, hookers; they are this, they are partiers. I think it is only because they go to a private school. People automatically assume ‘oh their parents are rich.’”
While a common ground was reached among all individuals, Armel still believed that these stigmas would continue to exist.
“They have been around for a long time,” she said. “And will continue to be around for a long time.”