Monday, March 30, 2009

Talking Points # 7 Anita Hill Is A Boy By: Peggy Orenstein

Orenstein argues for an education that is equal for male and female students and that represents them in a way that is not dominated by males. She also argues that people should "be the change they want to see in the world" and this is evident in that she rebels against popular methods of teaching and tries to teach Phase Five to students so that they learn the truth about history.

1. "Individually, teachers find that calling on students equitability, or simply waiting for a moment rather than recognizing the first child who raises his hand, encourages girls to participate more readily in class.

I heard all the time in High School how boys were good at Math and Science and that girls are good at English and Writing. Is it in guys genes to be better at Math and in girls genes to be better at Writing? Absolutely Not. I bet the whole stereotype began because for most of history, girls were not allowed to be educated. They were not allowed to study Math. In recent history, a common job for a woman is a secretary and this stereotype is still in place today. So, when boys and girls are asked a question about math in the classroom, the teacher is predisposed to look for the answers in boys because of the "common knowledge" that boys are supposed to be better at math. Teachers need to do a better of job of showing girls that they are perfectly capable of being good at math.
Later in the article I found similar examples. "By now, the list is all too familiar: the despised frilly dresses, the expectation that they will be tidy, the curtailed freedom in comparison to their brothers, the assumptions that they are emotionally fragile or bad at sports, the fear of being branded a slut. These are all assumptions about women that most teachers will bring into a classroom. If the teacher is not encouraging these stereotypes, the children will. They are all stereotypes that in our culture represent being weak. It is an example of who is the dominant culture in America. Why is there not much being done to fight this unequal balance? I feel that most white heterosexual men do not want to surrender dominance. It is very easy for us to ignore these issues because we are in the culture of power. However, these are issues that cannot be ignored because it is similar to "separate but equal."

2. "Even these girls, whose parents have placed them in this class in part because of Ms. Logan's sensitivity to gender issues, have already become used to taking up less space, to feeling less worthy of attention than boys.

The best way to describe this feeling is discomfort. I have felt a little uncomfortable in this FNED class with some of the readings. However, the more uncomfortable the reading makes me, the better. I have a hard time reading about women in class and I do not understand why. I feel like most of the things we read are about women's power and this may not even be true. Even though it makes me feel uncomfortable, I still read it. I want to be an educator. If I do not become a teacher, I will educate as a parent hopefully. These are issues in today's world and I need to stay open minded about it. I am used to reading and learning about men most of the time and women are used to learning about men too. In my high school, we students are used to "add women and stir" approach to gender equity." I bet some of the girls feel uncomfortable reading some of our female authors too. Studying such a wide range of issues in this class has been a bit overwhelming, but, I am reading everything I am supposed to and trying to keep an open mind and overcome misplaced feelings of discomfort. I am glad that these issues are really hitting me hard and that I can try to become a more well rounded teacher and learner.

3. "Of seventy-five surveys handed out to boys, only twelve were returned. Among those, the responses were often facetious, such as "I harassed her because she desrved it," or "because her butt's too big," or "because she has big tits."
"So what they're saying," Ms. Logan points out, "is that the responsibility for the harrassment rests with the female."

I feel that some guys will try to act tough around their friends when they fill out their surveys and do not really mean what they say. If my friends did this in front of me in high school, I probably would have just turned the other way because they would have made fun of me. When I was asked to fill out the survey, I honestly would not make comments like this just because my friends would try to pressure me to. Also, I've had debates in classes about sexual harrassment. Many people will say that when a girl wears a short skirt or skimpy clothing, she's asking for it. This is called Blaming the Victim. We are totally ignoring the fact that it is not the women's fault if a man takes advantage of her. Ignoring structural problems and in turn putting the blame on the individual is when you Blame the Victim.
The girls were also asked to take surveys. "The girls in these surveys are trying to be inconspicuous so they won't be harassed. They're trying not to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, trying not to dress a certain way. They learn to become silent, careful, not active or assertive in life. That's what the hidden curriculum teaches girls." This is an example that goes along with what Ms. Logan was talking about. This is another issue in today's world that needs to be addressed.

At first, as I mentioned earlier, I felt a little uncomfortable reading this article because it is all about women's power and I feel like that has been a constant theme throughout the semester. But then I really started to think about how almost everyone of my other classes focuses on men's power. It is okay that I feel this discomfort. Why wouldn't I? I've been brought up learning about important men for twenty years. I feel that this reading was the one that did it for me in acknowledging women's struggles.

No comments:

Post a Comment