Tuesday, October 6, 2015

I don’t want your roses, Prestige Portraits

Anna Sirianni

Years from now, we will reflect on our time at New Hope-Solebury by looking back at senior pictures.
 On August 24, 25, and 26, rising twelfth graders were photographed by Prestige Portraits in the high school cafeteria and were sent proofs of the portraits several weeks later. Males were dressed with a tuxedo and females with a gown-like drape. The photographs vary, capturing different angles and poses.
 One pose struck a nerve with me.
 Towards the end of my photo shoot, the photographer handed me a fake red rose, wilted after years of senior portraits.
 He draped my unpainted fingernails across the rose in some sort of precise way. He told me not to grasp it too tightly or else it won’t look “nice.” But I didn’t care if it looked nice; I didn’t want to hold a flower at all.
 As if my blonde hair and bulging curves weren’t enough, my femininity had to be represented with a blooming red rose.
 Women are more than pretty flowers.
 Some women on television obsess over being awarded a rose on shows such as The Bachelor to know that a man thinks they’re worthy of love. When women get angry in movies, a handsome man tosses a flower her way to get her back. In our culture, women’s legitimate emotions are often too-soon dismissed by bouquets of roses.
 Girls should strive to get more out of life than a bunch of flowers.
 By my graduation, I will have endured one torn ACL, seven AP courses, four spirit weeks, three SAT tests, and (at least) one volleyball BAL title. But what better way to mark my accomplishments and fortitude than by planting a rose in my hand?
 Roses represent eternal, undying love, but that’s not what I got out of high school.
 I got maturity, talent, and peace of mind. I established solid relationships with teachers and proved myself through clubs and academics. I made friends that I am forever thankful for. But I did not get red, hot love. Nor did I attempt to.
 I am a woman, but I will not be represented by a flower. I am a tsunami. A rainstorm. A second-look-worthy not-to-be-forgotten human being. A flower can not dissolve my anger or ease my worries, nor can it win my heart.
As if Prestige Portraits were still not convinced that I’m a proper lady, they handed me a white rose too.  Maybe next year the graduating girls will get pink roses as well! I’m sure they’re excited.

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