Feminist Friday #8

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Friday Friday Friday Friday Friday Friday Friday. Let’s go!

-Look at this graph of male vs. female representation in the current election coverage of various issues in American politics, and then be not that surprised. Quite the gap, especially when you look at female-specific issues like abortion, birth control, and women’s rights. (Source)

A great article on body image and how women often feel as if they can’t  hit the beach because they don’t have their “bikini body“, and instead spend that time in flux denying themselves the privilege of just being, wishing they possessed a body that they just don’t have-and maybe never could have anyway, no matter how much they starved themselves or slaved away at the gym. As someone who spent my teens/early twenties with a fairly *coughcough*”desirable” body type (I was skinny as a rail and didn’t really gain anything no matter how much shit I ate until I was 23 or so) only to be hit by what I like to call a second puberty in my mid/late 20s that I don’t handle well some days , I can completely relate to feeling as if I want to just wait to go shopping until I lose a few pounds. Or twenty pounds. Whatever. I struggle sometimes, and every woman I know does as well, for a variety of reasons. I like the theme of this article-if you want to lose weight or change your body, that’s all well and good-but don’t spend time hiding yourself away because you’re ashamed of the body that is currently all yours. Go. Do. Be. Live. I could stand to soak up that message. And I think this applies to men too!

Men may be subconsciously looking at women in the workplace through the lenses of the relationships they have with their wives. For example, if a man is in a “traditional” marriage where he is the breadwinner and his wife stays home (although that doesn’t really seem traditional anymore) he is more likely to “(a) view the presence of women in the workplace unfavorably, (b) perceive that organizations with higher numbers of female employees are operating less smoothly, (c) find organizations with female leaders as relatively unattractive, and (d) deny, more frequently, qualified female employees opportunities for promotion.” So interesting! I was discussing this with Jon and we both thought that it seemed like a logical connection but the fact that studies are being undertaken to back it up is an important step. What’s awful is that men with such stymied views of the capabilities of women can so firmly effect those same women’s professional opportunities.

      Now for something a little personal . In my classroom at school right now I currently have 8 students in the morning: 3 Sudanese girls, 2 Sudanese boys, 1 Kazakh girl, and a Spanish brother and sister. The children are lovely, all aged 10-11 except for one who’s 8, and generally we get along well with our learning-except for one. One Sudanese boy has very good English and obviously comes from a very privileged life, but he has been a terrible student from day one. He is rude, disrespectful to the other students and myself, and just plain mean. Every day he calls one of the girls fat, both in English and Arabic. After three weeks of that today she broke down and cried, and I nearly did too, seeing her in so much pain. His victim is ten. Ten years old! And she’s not fat, not that it matters. She’s not skinny but why is it that we live in a world where a little boy knows that the best way to hurt a female is to comment on her body type? He also told one of the girls that she is “too black so she’s ugly” (awesome race politics, he’s black too by the way) and that another girl is “so skinny, like a ruler”. He specifically picks on parts of their appearance to hurt them. It is disgusting and enraging. And I have been struggling with this aspect of my classroom management every day.

       What can one do with a student like that? It is a painful reality that we as a class have been dealing with every day. Mostly it makes me think his parents spoil him rotten and do very little in the way of providing discipline or good role models who respect others; they also haven’t bothered to teach him about humility and not having an ego. I thought this issue would be worthy for inclusion in today’s post, as it has weighed so heavily on my mind and heart lately. I take my position as a teacher very seriously-not in teaching English (I could go on for days about English hegemony and how I don’t think anyone should have to learn English if they don’t want to, particularly at the loss or detriment of their own Native tongue), but I see my role as a teacher as one of instilling strength and self-esteem into children, and teaching them not only how to use my Native language, but how to be good people, how to respect other cultures and those who are very different from them. And this has been a really difficult experience for me. A classroom is a microcosm of the outside world. And issues of feminism and a need for equality and justice come up so early-we can’t ignore them or assume that they will sort themselves out with time, because they won’t.

4 thoughts on “Feminist Friday #8

    1. uh…i’m pretty sure violence or bad attitude isn’t the way to teach a kid that having a bad attitude is unacceptable.

  1. Love that infographic. I’m literally gob-smacked that a media agency would think “Hmmm need a thoughtful quote on women’s rights….Dave? Dave, do you want to take this one?”

    I’d disagree with the wife-lens (though I do like the phrase). I much prefer working for women as there is a fractional buffer between personal and business that doesn’t exist between men and men (or women and women I’d wager) meaning you don’t end up as emotionally invested in work and hence battered when it goes badly.

    1. that’s an interesting angle, re: wife-lens. I’d never think of it that way! and also, yeah, why would ANYONE in any sort of media or business be like “alright guys, who wants to comment on this lady stuff??”

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