It seems like such a simple plea to the world, and not feminist like the bra burning kind, or feminists who hate men and want them out, but true feminists. The kind who believe in equality for all, not just gender equality but racial and sexual equality.
For those of you who don’t live in Alberta, Canada, you may not have heard about what I’m going to present to you in the coming paragraphs. What I hope is that you will be just as appalled as I was when I first caught wind of this yesterday in the news. So here’s the scoop…
Picture this, you live in a rural community and you are a Grade 6 – 9 girl and your school offers a women’s studies course. I for one, likely would have totally jumped on board and wondered what amazing things about women are we going to learn? I would have been intrigued and so proud until I learnt what the course curriculum had outlined for my learning. After day one, I may have turned into one of those bra burning feminists to be totally honest. Turns out this course isn’t about amazing women in society and the role women have played to shape our world, it’s an etiquette course for girls, with focus on cosmetology, community care, food and aesthetics. There would later be a technology focus in terms of social media presented in the course. My interpretation, you are teaching girls how to look good when they go and take selfies and post them to social media.
Of course, there has been backlash by many. The Alberta Government and Education minister have now stepped in to re-evaluate the course and its content. The superintendent of the school board; however, continues to defend the course content, but does admit that the course title was perhaps not accurate. To me, neither are accurate nor appropriate. The school claims that they were trying to offer support to girls in the school to combat self-esteem issues and navigate adolescence. If that is in fact the true goal of the course, it would be offered to all students at this rural school and not just girls, because let’s face it, regardless of gender kids will struggle with self-esteem and everyone goes through puberty and adolescence.
Alison Poste, the organizer of the Women’s March in Edmonton states that the whole thing feels very 1950s, and she’s right. We seem to be struck in a time warp, and it isn’t just rural communities that are stuck, it’s pretty much the human race as a whole. When are we going to examine the messaging we are sending to youth and kids about gender and gender roles? Things as “simple” as how we label a course, or what we offer in a course sends a message. When are we going to pay attention to the fact that what we say or promote as adults becomes children’s future ideologies?
You see examples of this everywhere. The other day I was looking for a craft for my children. First stop? Pinterest of course, so that I can feel very inadequate as a parent scrolling through the amazing feats of others. As always, I endure this torturous journey for my children, so that we can create “cool stuff” at home. You would think searching crafts for kids would be simple on Pinterest and not gender specific at all, but boy, was I wrong! After searching “crafts for kids” I was amazed by the sub headings that I could click on, boys or girls. Are you kidding me world, we now have to gender categorize crafts? Crafts are crafts! They are created on paper with glue and scissors and do not reflect or at least should not reflect gender stereotypes. Let kids be creative without putting them into a box.
All of this to explain my stance on feminism and my outrage at courses called “women’s studies”. Kudos to my amazing husband for this brilliant picture from Paris, WE SHOULD ALL BE FEMINISTS.
Please go read the full article on the school in Clyde Alberta (click Clyde). I would love to hear your perspective on the issue, whether we agree or not. It would also be interesting to hear how you help to promote self-esteem and self-image in your children. Please be respectful in your comments if you choose to leave one.
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