When I have children (*sometime in the not-so-near future), I hope identity comes easy, and gender-roles are anything but traditional–little girls catching snakes, before going to tap class and playing ice-hockey; or boys who learn to sew while building lego forts for their pirates to take back from Raggedy Ann. When we grew up (maybe growing up isn’t quite the right word), I don’t think many of us realized the indoctrination the world had in for us. Why should it be possible that I can still hear echoes of what young women (or young men for that matter) can or can’t do, can or can’t become?
Let’s not even consider the current disgust I hold for politicians who feel they have the right to take away from half the population, the right to control their own bodies. Let’s focus on the messages we send our students.
It’s bad enough that I have students entering my classroom with the idea that math is too hard for them, or that they’re just plain bad at it. It’s worse that I’ve had administrators thank me for making math interesting, because they know how hard it must be to make something so hard and boring anything but…
When we make anyone represent more than themselves (i.e. one young woman representing her sex), we deny her the chance to make a space for herself as an individual, and run the risk of creating an oversimplification and overgeneralization that is harmful to not only the person, but the society we live in.
As teachers, isn’t it our job and duty to fight these types of mindsets?