"Why do we teach girls that it’s cute to be scared" is a great New York Times opinion piece written by a firefighter about how girls are steered away from being brave and bold.
I watched this video on the Huffington Post website about these cute French kids: When they talk you see how much stereotyping is already affecting them, but they still play with all toys.
Jared Mauldin, a senior in mechanical engineering and school teacher wrote a letter to the editor in which he acknowledges the stereotypes and other difficulties women face he never had to deal with. Nothing new, he knows that. But the more people who raise awareness and speak out against sexism, the better!
Inclusivenetworks here features "Let Toys be toys", an organization in the UK that is asking toy companies and publishers to stop limiting children’s choices by labeling their products “for boys” or “for girls”. In the feature, the role of schools is also highlighted:” Schools have an important role to play in making sure that gender stereotypes are not perpetuated by other children, or even by teachers in the classroom (i.e. by asking for ‘strong boys’ to move tables, or by reinforcing differences by lining boys and girls up separately)."
Also check out Ten ways to challenge gender stereotypes in the classroom on the Let-toys-be- toys website.
Here is a great posting about J.K. Rowling as a feminist and also supporter of Emma Watson. She tweeted “Hermione would have been proud of you.”
Recently I came across this positive NYT article about an 18-year-old playing for her school’s varsity football team.
3 April 2015
Hi again. I hope you are enjoying the Easter holidays. Here is part of my interview with the founder of Pinkstinks Germany, Dr. Stevie M. Schmiedel. She is a very clever and thinking person who has put a lot of thought into the subject of sexism. I interviewed her in 2014 because I had hoped that it would make people at my school more aware of everyday sexism. There is a lot of sexism at my school. People mostly don’t even notice it. This is especially surprising when it comes to P.E. (sports) where, as of fifth grade, we are not only taught in separate groups of boys and girls, but the boys are taught by men, the girls by women.
Pinkstinks was founded because of the stereotypic and one-sided way girls and women are presented in the media. Pink is a great color – Pinkstinks just objects to how it is used to differentiate between things for girls and things for boys and the limited images of boys and girls it has come to represent.
K: What do you think of the standard comment: "Girls can’t throw"?
Stevie Schmiedel: There are more differences between girls than there are between girls and boys. Some girls can’t throw well, others throw better than boys. In our culture, we are used to belittling girls – they are not challenged to let out their anger and energy. If girls learn to climb, throw and run at an early age – like boys traditionally do – they can throw just as well as boys.
K: What would you say to someone who claims prejudice is a good thing?
Stevie Schmiedel: Prejudice creates fear. If I constantly hear that athletic girls won’t find a man, I start to believe it. And then I am scared of behaving “like a boy”. And suddenly I only see athletic girls who don’t have a boyfriend – my eyes are closed to the many female athletes that very much have partners. Prejudice is anything but good.
K: How would you explain the meaning of prejudice and sexism.
Stevie Schmiedel: Prejudices are opinions about someone or something formed before one has really come into contact with them. Sexism is prejudice related to the sexes. „Girls can’t throw“ is a prejudice and sexist. The person saying it didn’t really look or is no longer able to see properly because prejudice has created too much fear. What if girls can also throw well? That would confuse the image we use for orientation (girls = not athletic, pink, sweet, fragil; boys = athletic, wild, blue, fast). Confusion creates fear.
K: Do you think it is right to separate boys and girls for PE without giving them the choice of switching to the other PE class?
Stevie Schmiedel: No, of course students should be able to choose, which PE class to take. One should group by interests, not by gender: One class is more challenging, in the other, the pace is a bit more relaxed. That would also make many boys happy, who are often under a lot of pressure to excel in sports.
K: How do you think we can make the world less sexist and less prejudiced?
Stevie Schmiedel: By expressing our fears. We should talk more about the images we have in our heads, where they come from and whom they benefit. And then we can slowly mix the images. This requires compassion. An old man said to me once: „But a woman is a woman, and a man is a man! That’s what I have always thought – and now you are mixing it all up. That scares me. What you are saying fascinates me, but please, say it slowly. Otherwise I might shut the door on you. You have to be very gentle with me.“
Stevie Schmiedel: If we approach one another very carefully and look closely – then we see the strong girls, the weaker boys and notice that they are all likable. Pause the flood of images and form your own opinions.
8 Feb. 2015
Prejudice, stereotypes, discrimination and sexism – how do they fit together? What is the difference between sex and gender? What is sexism and how can we get people to treat us equally and respectfully – in school and also everywhere else?
These are a few things I would like to communicate about with you guys.
I am an eight-grader at a bilingual school in Berlin, Germany. For today, I want to draw your attention to the fabulous and thought-provoking human-rights speech Emma Watson gave as UN Women Goodwill Ambassador to the General Assembly of the United Nations in New York on 20 September 2014. For all of you who love the Harry Potter series (like me) I am sure you know Emma Watson as Hermione Granger. But even if you don’t, this speech is very much worth watching. It is on point and made me feel like there are other thinking people on this earth :-). Thank you, Emma Watson!
More next time – have a great week :-),
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