Wednesday, April 14, 2010

JMO - Teaching history

It seems some parents prefer their children not to enjoy history, by experiencing it personally, and even playing and having fun about it too. Apparently, it's not about history but gender norms. A teacher with the Maple Shade School District in Burlington County, New Jersey decided to teach the history of women's fashion through history. And to do that, asked the students, but girls and boys, to dress in some attire of women's clothes for the period of their choice.

It also opened the door to helping boys learn about gender. We're talking elementary school when and where you can open boys minds to teach them to see the world differently and even better, especially when they get older. It's both a lesson and experience in history and gender. But apparently some parents objected to it, because it violated their view of the gender norms.

To them, boys don't do anything girls will and even worse will do. Heaven forbid it will corruupt the boys into being better boys. They would rather their boys become sexist young and then older men and not really understand girls and then women by having fun learning what it was like being a girl and a women in the past.

Apparently the parents fear the clothes will corrupt their boys' mind. Like how? It was optional. All the parents had to do was opt their boy out of wearing the clothes. As Steve Martin so artfully said, "But Nooooo!!" They wanted everyone to follow and believe their view of gender norms, and if their boy couldn't dress up, then no boy should dress up.

Killjoys. To say the least. Did they let the children say what they wantd? The school said if girls can wear boy's and boy's like clothes (remember many women's fashions have come from men indirectly or directly), what's wrong with the opposite? Nothing. It's just fun for children to learn and experience history. That's all it is.

It's not about God, the Bible, gender norms, or anything, just teaching history and putting some fun in it for the children. And sadly, the school caved and cancelled the idea. And now sadly the boys won't learn what's it was like to be a girl and what's il's like to be on the other side of clothes, something boys tease girls about.

I'll bet if the lesson was about men in history, the parents would jump at the chance to let their boys wear "men's" clothes. It's just clothes, and it's not just clothes. It's our history and last I heard men and women were there, in all their clothes. So what's wrong with celebrating that?

Apparently women's history doesn't count with parents when it comes to boys. Only men's history counts. And this is the lesson the parents want their boys to learn? Being sexist? Well, you're winning their hearts and minds, and don't be surprised if they turn out just like you, just a bunch of older sexists. Yes, even you moms.

And we wonder why women's issues aren't on the minds of men? Except of course for keeping women in their place? Both in history and today? Remember the adage about repeating history? It applies to women's issues too.

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