Feminism In The Classroom
What are the responsibilities of a school teacher? Should they tackle the complex and sensitive social issues that exist in modern society? Education plays a vital role in the mental and emotional development of children as they approach adulthood. Education in America has failed to provide a proper understanding of social issues to its millions of students. Most schools and teachers relegate the teaching of subjects like feminism and racial equality to parents. Unfortunately parents too often support the status quo, or even worse, completely ignore their duty of educating and informing their children. You may ask why any of this matters, Why should children be forced to learn about matters of opinion? Isn’t there a danger of schools choosing the opinions of impressionable youth?
Feminism is the pursuit of equal and fair treatment of women in all pursuits, and facets of life. Feminist social change transcends opinion, there are very real challenges faced by women in this country and students must be taught to care, to be concerned about the issues faced by others or risk creating a world where women are locked in a state of permanent disenfranchisement. Feminism should be introduced in junior high to begin the process of exposing the ills faced by women in our world. By introducing the topic early teachers can foster tolerance and understanding and build on it with more complex ideas in high school. Identify the problems of misogyny in the media, pay inequality, and sexism, to younger children so that they can recognize those issues as they experience them. Early education is a defense against misinformation not indoctrination.
Feminism in the classroom should not be hyper opinionated or radical. In fact it should combat these things. Radicalism has only harmed the feminist movement as it drives a wedge between moderates and radicals and enrages opposition. Early exposure to feminism dampens radicalism by revealing complexities and providing facts and information. Radicals, both for and against feminism, prey on the uninformed and emotional, exploiting their vulnerabilities to serve their own agenda. Radicalism polarizes, exacerbating issues and disrupting conversation and independent thought. Teaching feminism in an emotionally conscious but honest and factual way will mitigate radicalism and help students grow to be socially aware and informed.
Education has the power to change the way an entire generation views feminism and the roles of women in general. Teaching children will lead to politicians, businesspeople, police, and people of all persuasions championing women’s rights and equality. Education encourages an entire generation to shift toward an ideal. Society could see feminist ideals become the norm, helping usher in an era of legitimate equality for the genders. Integrating feminism into standard, nationwide curriculum, is the key to moving the country away from the negative ideals and stereotypes that have held down women and girls for hundreds of years and prevented half of the population from reaching their true potential.
Feminist issues are the issues of all people and of society as whole. Women have been forced to take diminished roles in their own lives and in the lives others. Education is a major component in the solution of these problems. It has the power to expose the often ignored plights of women and girls and bring these issues to the attention of the people most vulnerable to the corruptive forces of the status quo. Feminism does not have to be radical and it does not have to be divisive. It should all inclusive and help people of all genders and sexual preferences to reach an understanding about equality in all aspects of life.