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A Cry for Freedom

By Jonathan Willis
July 2003, south east Wales
A digital story from Capture Wales

A change in Jonathan?

Jonathan Willis explains how being the only male in his department caused him to change certain things about himself...

"Have you ever thought what it must be like to be the odd man out? Never fitting in, being a lone crusader in a hostile environment fighting for truth, freedom and the right for a man to be free? This is my story...

Before I came to work here, I did what I wanted to do, said what I wanted to say, dressed as I wanted to dress. But they soon changed all that...

You don't notice it at first but looking back I can see how it started.; Ties! I have tons of them - all novelty - Mickey, Bugsy, Taz... even Snoopy. I loved them! They laughed, sniggered and pointed. They said they were "so last season". So the ties were the first to go. Then there were the shirts...

White, I thought, was practical. I mean, anything goes with white but I was wrong. In came the colours with matching ties; trendy patterns and contrasting shades. I even got a matching mug! But I still had a lot to learn...

"Ooh, it looks like a jay cloth." "No! It's like one of those freezer bags from Tesco!"

The change was gradual...next was the hair. It was replaced by a short waxed style which I was assured was 'in'. Then the glasses went! Vanity, vanity, all was vanity!

They encouraged me to go out to the pub at lunch times on Fridays but even though I had changed outwardly, inside I was still struggling to understand what the hell they were talking about! And if I tried to join in, I was confronted by a chorus of "what?" "Yeah right" and "go back to sleep."

I did try to fight back... honestly I did. But the sheer number of them made it impossible.

I was a lonely male in a female dominated world.

I'm happier now though. I understand what they were trying to do - make me take a pride in myself, consider my appearance. I know I have a long way to go but I'm getting there."

Jonathan Willis

Please tell us a little about yourself.
I am currently head of Drama at a secondary comprehensive school in south-east Wales.

What's your story about?
I am the only male member of staff in a large department and as such I have to suffer a lot of female oppression. My story (very tongue in cheek) is a story of survival.

Why did you choose to tell this particular story?
I wanted to do something that was humourous and lighthearted. I also knew that my colleagues would appreciate the irony!

What did you find most rewarding about the workshop?
Being able to experiment with ideas and technology to produce something worth watching!

Your comments

"I would have thought the same, being a Jonathan Willis." Jonathan Willis, Pontefract.

"Hehe, i loved it! awesome! lol, we all thought there was something i little diferent about him! giggled lots! and that dress! WOW! the spots really suit him! awesome teacher tho." ex drama student of Mr Willis 6th form group.

"At first I thought this story might have been a sad man's tale about how he never could fit in. After watching this story I found that it was more comical then anything. This guy talks about a woman dominated world. The jugement one may recive from others." Samantha Robert, Ontario, Canada.

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