I hated my Geometry class. Well, I hated my teacher. He was a red dead conservative. He listened to Rush Limbaugh. He spent class time going off on political rants I tried to ignore. I wanted to say things back to him. A couple of times I did, and each time all the blood in my entire body rushed into my cheeks. I was one of the only freshmen in the class. There were a bunch of sophomores and a couple of juniors, and I think I was either the only girl in the whole class, or one of just a few. This couldn’t have been the case, but it felt like it.
Politics aside, he was fair as a teacher. I aced his tests. I did my work. I got As. I learned about acute angles and right triangles.
I was sitting in class, in the front row, in a desk with a blue seat and white desktop. I had my homework out. We were supposed to be correcting it, but my geometry teacher was going off on some tangent: a conservative, Republican tangent. I wasn’t listening, as usual, until he called me out.
“Like, Nori. A Feminazi.”
I looked up. “Sorry?” I asked, not sure that I heard him correctly.
“You know, a Feminazi.”
“A Feminist,” I corrected him.
“No, a Feminazi. One of those bra-burning women’s libbers.”
“Did you just call me a Feminazi?” I didn’t really know what this term meant. Mom listened to NPR. I knew I was a feminist and that Mom was a feminist. I knew the Nazis murdered millions of Jews during World War II, and I knew putting these two ideas together made no sense to me.
“OK, maybe not you, but Feminazis like you.” He laughed and I could hear a few of my classmates join him.
I turned and looked over my shoulder. No one said anything. A boy in the last row shook his head. Another, the one who egged our teacher on in his rants, smiled at me. I hated him. I hated all of them. Maybe my hatred for all of them made me a Feminazi, and if that was the case, so be it.
I sat there, at the front of the class, earning my A, and learning about more than just math in Geometry.
Noriko Nakada writes, blogs, tweets, parents, and teaches middle school in Los Angeles. She is committed to writing thought-provoking works of creative non-fiction, fiction, and poetry. Publications include two book-length memoirs: Through Eyes Like Mine and Overdue Apologies. Excerpts, essays, and poetry appear or are forthcoming in Meridian, Specter, Hippocampus, The Rising Phoenix Review, and Linden Avenue.