Fighting with the Sky

Posts Tagged ‘education

Trigger warning.

There have been some great posts lately about sexual assault and rape culture.  Here are some ones that I thought were particularly interesting/well-written.

Ms. Blog: Silence and Sexual Assault on College Campuses

I am compelled to speak up because sexual assault breeds in a Petri dish of silence. Certainly the potential danger in coming forward is critical for rape and sexual assault survivors. Yet even vocal bystanders risk violating a tacit cultural agreement to keep such problems hushed up.

Equality 101: Incorporating Discussions of Violence

One of the things that I’ve been thinking about is that we need to have conversations about violence with our students and not just lecture about statistics and the plight of “those” women. Those women can be us, our students, mothers, sisters, daughters and the boys and men around us. We need to have conversations about this reality, but also empower women and girls, so that the conversation is not merely about the victim.

The SAPAC Voice: CouchSurfing ignores violence against women

In fact, CouchSurfing seems to continuously ignore the various complaints from many women on their own message boards, and only give out the standard response, that members need to look into their potential hosts more closely. The only way it seems to get CouchSurfing’s attention is through proof of legal action, where the responsibility is completely on the survivor to lodge a complaint and seek the authorities.

Gender Across Borders: Dear Jezebel

Just over two weeks ago, Jezebel published an article entitled American Guy in Paris Freed From The Idea Of “Consent”. In said article, an American named Edward Pasteck described a recent trip to Paris and certain revelations that struck him while embarking on his relationship endeavours. As the title of his piece might suggest, curious Edward discovered that, in Paris, it was okay to rape women!

Shakesville: Ugh.

Steve Harvey is back with more of his wisdom about men and women and relationships. (If you’re not familiar with this guy’s shtick, here is Renee’s “Steve Harvey” archive.) And, like all the rest of his gender essentialist, heterocentrist, deeply misogynist claptrap, this “men and women can’t be friends” garbage is about as fresh as pterodactyl droppings. It’s also one of the key narratives of the rape culture.

Since I haven’t been doing a lot of writing this week, I have been doing a lot of reading.  Here are some of my favorites!  Also, check out some of the stuff that I have been posting on tumblr.  Or you could even ask me a question!

Womanist Musings: Jesse James and the Fallen Woman

I like Sandra, from the interviews I have seen with her – she seems like a woman that I would really enjoy sharing a beer with; however, the Madonna/Whore binary that this story is creating in her defence is harmful to ALL women.

Professor What If…?: What if she SHOULD be able to run/walk/hike along? Thoughts on the rape and murder of Chelsea King

Yet I must admit that this quote reverberates because it was one of the first things I thought when I heard a young girl was missing after going to run alone in a local park. Living in a rape culture which blames the victim, I recognize that even I, a feminist scholar and teacher, have had a “she should have” commentary beaten into my brain on a daily basis.

fbomb: A Call to Arms

If women are going to continue to break down barriers and keep the fight of feminism alive, we have got to lay off the girl on girl crime. This is something that affects women of all ages. Several weeks ago in Salon Magazine I read an article by Martha P. Nochimson, an established former NYU professor and author, take down Katheryn Bigelow simply because she didn’t like her movie.

Equality 101: Social Contexts of Education: Teaching Social Justice to Privileged Kids

Because children come from privileged backgrounds are the ones who need to know the most about power, privilege, and access; in other words, it is a necessity for these children to understand the foundations of social justice education.

feministhemes.com: That’s Ms., Not Miss, Thank You

Actually, Ms. is a way of privacy. Ms. does not convey age like Miss might indicate youth and Ma’am might indicate experience. Ms. does not convey marital status like Miss implies single and Missus implies married. Ms. implies female, woman, lady. It allows a woman’s name to stand on her own, without being defined by social roles.

Happy Bodies: Gender in the classroom

And yep it was Gender Day! The one day of the term where professors pay lip service to feminism and allow us to read female authors, and perhaps even women of color (if we’re lucky.) And while I never enjoy gender days, finding myslef inevitably getting worked up about the sexist, homophobic, transphobic sentiments usually expressed only latently in classrooms, this day was particularly rough.

Womanist Musings: Male Figure Skating Highlights Homophobia and Sexism in Canada

In an interview with Salon, three time world medal champion Elvis Stojko, made clear that the greatest danger to figure skating is the feminization of male skaters.

Global Comment: Vancouver Games & First Nations resistance

First Nation dancers welcomed the athletes and the world to the Vancouver Olympics, and thus the lie that Canada not only recognizes Native rights, but is proud of our Indigenous citizens, was upheld.

Gawker: More Adventures in Olympic Racial Drag

Whereas Russian duo Domnina and Shabalin drew outcry with their warpaint-slathered didgeridoo routine, Americans Meryl Davis and Charlie White are receiving multicultural accolades for a Bollywood routine that has Meryl sporting bindi and a modified sari. It’s a hit in India, and Indian-Americans are apparently down with it, too. How did their racial drag avoid Domnina and Shabalin’s pitfalls?

Hopefully more on this later this week….

As some of you may know, I majored in Women’s and Gender Studies in college.  How did I come to this decision?  I’m not really sure.  I didn’t really wake up one day and suddenly realize that that is what I wanted to do.  It was more of a gradual understanding.  My interest in Women’s and Gender Studies academically started in my Introduction to Anthropology class the second semester of my freshmen year.  My professor had a way of discussing feminist issues in an academic context that drew me in, even though it wasn’t specifically a Women’s and Gender Studies course.  I owe my career in Women’s and Gender Studies to Kim Mills, that anthropology professor that I learned so much from.

But what if I had been exposed to academic feminism and women’s studies earlier than the second semester of my freshmen year of college?  I went to a high school in a pretty Christan, conservative community.  Feminism was a dirty word so much to the point that, even though I held feminist beliefs, I NEVER would have called myself a feminist and my mother never referred to herself as a feminist even though I got most of my feminist beliefs from her.  How would I have turned out differently if I had taken a women’s studies course in high school?

I don’t even know if I would have had the guts to step out of the box and take a women’s studies course in high school.  I don’t even know if I would have given it a second thought as something of possible interest.  I was a completely different person in high school.  But that doesn’t mean that women’s studies and academic feminism should not be a part of high school (and even middle school) curriculum.

My high school, of course, had the obligatory “special sections” in units including history about specific women or looking at one or two female authors.  But this in no way could be considered feminist or women’s studies.  It’s what schools do to avoid being seen as prejudice or exclusionary.

Women’s studies classes can offer high school students a way of expressing social justice interest and ways of looking at how different forms of oppression intersect.  Women’s studies is not just about looking at the history and interests of women.  It’s about looking at the world as different intersecting forms of oppression and what can be done to address these issues.

There has also been debate as to whether high schools should have specific women’s studies classes or if feminism/women’s studies should be integrated into the entire curriculum.  I believe that, ideally, feminism should be integrated into the entire curriculum…if it’s done right.  Specific women’s studies classes are a good way to start.  They kind of test the waters for the acceptance of working women’s studies into the entire curriculum from teachers, students, parents, administrators, and anyone else who could possibly have an opinion.

Working feminism/women’s studies into the entire curriculum has some obvious benefits (getting maximum exposure, etc.), but it also has some drawbacks.  We have the issues of non-feminist teachers.  While, I believe that everyone should be a feminist, we can’t force anyone who is not.  Forcing never got us anywhere.  It just makes people mad and resentful.  And forcing a non-feminist teacher to teach a feminist curriculum would probably pass that resentment onto the students, which is not helpful at all.

I don’t know how my life would have turned out differently if I had been more exposed to feminism in high school through a women’s studies class.  Maybe I wouldn’t have seen women’s studies as something new and exciting when I got to college and I would have ended up majoring in something else.  Who knows.  But even though I am happy with the way that my life has turned out, I think it would have been better to have women’s studies classes in high school!!

Further Reading:

Ashley’s Teaching Feminism series at Small Strokes

Equality 101: I wish my high school had offered a women’s studies class

As some of you may have noticed, I had a little problem this weekend.  My blog was hacked and I couldn’t even get into my dashboard.  But thanks to the amazing meloukhia, my blog is back and almost entirely squared away.  I still have to work on the sidebars a little bit and address some minor things here and there.  But all in all, I’m back.

And I know I didn’t get to do a Wednesday link love this week as I was busy on Wednesday in addition to not feeling too well.  So here’s an extra long link love for the entire week!

Zero at the Bone: The Thirteenth Carnival of Feminists

Equality 101: Thoughts on the “Politics of Correction”

“How can I help kids gain fluency in Standard English – the language of power – without obliterating the home language which is a source of pride and personal voice?” – Linda Christensen

Gender Across Borders: Welcome to the Hip Hop, Resistance, and Feminism Series

This series focuses on hip hop and its interactions with patriarchy, racism, and other forms of oppression — both within and outside the mainstream pop world. From Nicki Minaj and gender-bending to resistance movements in Mali, this series reveals the varying faces and voices of hip hop.

I’ve really enjoyed this series from Gender Across Borders and this “welcome” post has links to all of the posts in the series, so make sure to check them all out!

Girl W/Pen: POP GOES FEMINISM: Deciphering Island Patriarchy: Finding Feminism in Lost

Lost has often presented ‘gender outside the box’ characters, suggesting being human is more important than being a masculine man or a feminine woman. After all, when you are fighting for your life, ‘doing gender right’ is hardly at the top of you priority list.

Small Strokes: On Body Image: Men and Advertising

Men suffer from body image issues just as women do, often as a direct result of the bombardment of images from the media. You’ve got your total binary here: men in commercials, movies, and TV shows are either super awesome ladies’ men with washboard abs and sweet sports cars or doofy husbands incapable of doing much of anything.

This was a very big weekend for me.  We sold our house and bought a new one.  And then I found out that I got into the University of Michigan School of Social Work.  So all in all, a good weekend.

I have been noticing in myself that Thursdays are really not a good day for posting for my schedule.  So I think I am going to change link love posts to ones on just Sunday and Wednesday.

Equality 101: Gender Equality on College Campuses

Leaders of such institutions, the editorial notes, are responding to students’ interests in having relatively equal numbers of men and women on campus. However, as the dean of admissions at Kenyon College puts so well, “What messages are we sending young women that they must . . . be even more accomplished than men to gain admission to the nation’s top colleges?” Why are good women students being turned away so that more mediocre men students can attend college?

FWD/Forward: The Opposite of “Disabled” is Not “Employable”

According to the United State government, disability is “the inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment(s) which can be expected to result in death or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months.” Or, in non-regulatory terms, disability is when a physical or mental impairment will last at least a year and will make someone unable to work. The ability to work is right there in the definition. A person who cannot work is disabled. If that person can work, they are not disabled. Disability and employability are mutually exclusive states of being.

Gender Across Borders: Equality in Marriage. Is It Possible?

In college I swore I’d never get married (The Sexual Contract by Carol Pateman is to blame/thank). These days I find myself fighting for equal access to the very institution I once denounced.

Bitch Blogs: Race Card: From Adopting Haitian Kids to Giving Them Your Breast Milk

Moreover, in recent days, the adoption community has expressed its concerns about Americans clamoring to adopt Haitian children following the quake. Racialicious.com reports that a group called Adoptees of Colour released a statement asserting that desire by those from privileged nations to adopt Haitian children “contributes to the destruction of existing family and community structures in Haiti.” In addition, group members, many of whom were adopted under questionable circumstances themselves, are alarmed to hear that “Haitian adoptions may be ‘fast-tracked’ due to the massive destruction of buildings in Haiti that hold important records and documents…”

Everyone make sure to check out the new group blog, Equality 101:

Equality 101 is a group blog for teachers. Here, we will post lessons, articles, and thoughts about diversity in K-12 and post-secondary education. Diversity can mean anything from tackling issues like racism, sexism, and classism in the classroom to inspiring diverse learners in any sense of the word.

this ain’t living’: Your Privilege: Check It

There’s an idea which some people have that if they name themselves “good allies” they are allowed to assess their own behaviour, and that they can even do so accurately because, you know, they are good allies. This is a fallacy. It’s a fallacy in part because even the very best allies mess up. Sometimes royally. Allies are like banks, then: You cannot rely upon them to regulate themselves. In part, it’s in their nature, in part, it’s because it’s really hard to self-regulate because you have no distance and perspective.

Bitch Blogs: Race Card: Chris Brown, Charlie Sheen, Race and Domestic Violence

So, is TMZ vilifying Brown in ways that it has failed to vilify Sheen? I’m inclined to agree with commenters who said that TMZ not only hasn’t vilified Sheen but has also tried to garner sympathy for him. After reporting that Sheen’s wife, Brooke Mueller, had accused Sheen of domestic violence on Christmas Day, the Web site first moved to discredit Mueller, reporting that she was legally intoxicated when police showed up to intervene. And the commenters above are correct when they say that there’s been underlying sympathy throughout reports about Sheen needing permission to visit Mueller in the hospital when she developed a high fever related to oral surgery.

Spare Candy: “Living Dolls” could generate big conversation

Author and writer Natasha Walter has a new book coming out (Feb. 4, I believe), called “Living Dolls: The Return of Sexism.” If you pay attention to UK newspapers, you know it’s already generating a number of columns and stories in the press.