S2E11: Don’t Believe the Hype
JT’s B-plot to compliment Hazel’s “hiding who you are” concept involves his gender-based shame about being good at sewing. First he wears an orange and navy ringer tee oddly matched with a Joey Jeremiah Hawaiian shirt, a chain necklace, and spiky hair. Then he wears a light blue tee with a dark blue overshirt and a backwards cap. His last shirt is an orange and blue tie-dyed tee.
Actually, you know what? I feel like this plotline didn’t reach its full potential, just like Terri’s body confidence story. The only resolution at the end of all this is that JT is ultimately “the winner” despite Sean & Toby’s jeers, because he gets to measure Emma & Manny? I wish somewhere someone could have at least stated or come to the conclusion that sewing is actually not just for girls (and neither is cooking or cleaning for that matter). Like maybe Toby or Sean could have ripped their pants or lost a button and felt like a helpless moron because they can’t even perform a simple repair on their own clothing? I wish we could have seen some kind of leveling of the playing field. I mean I think it’s great their home ec teacher was a dude and everything, but all this episode really did was touch on gender roles/stereotyping and what it does. It did not show any evolution of thought, didn’t show JT really owning his talent, and didn’t even really flat out state the truth. The truth that sewing is not just for girls.
It would have been nice to maybe show JT take pride in the skill and develop it, maybe mention it again once or twice in the show. Maybe he could have continued to have a side hustle of skirt-making.
The “resolution” to this plot was kind of sexist in itself. “Yeah I know how to sew but I get to wrap my measuring tape around girls’ hips, so there!” Reminds me of the way we try to justify men cheerleading “Well they get to grab girls’ thighs all day so who’s the real winner?” It shouldn’t be about that! Physical closeness with women shouldn’t be what makes a “female” activity cool for a male to do! Dudes should have SIMPLE PRIDE in PRACTICAL SKILLS, in being SELF SUFFICIENT. These are modern survival skills. Although I know they’re just like 13 years old and it’s a little early for such wisdom… but still. All this kinda grinds my gears. That no one actually said words to the effect of “It would be great for everyone to have these skills.”
I know Degrassi was never made to tie everything up in a nice bow, but this topic is one that I feel strongly about as a woman who was trained with basic life skills and sees men everywhere who don’t know how to make themselves a grilled cheese sandwich or clean the stains from under the toilet seat often times as a direct result from residual societal programming of outdated gender roles. Let’s all please start speaking about sewing, cooking, cleaning, DIYing, fixing, repairing, etc. as basic life skills and not gender roles. Ok thank you!
We will now resume the usual fashion-based programming.