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One teacher's approach to preventing gender bullying in a classroom
“It’s Okay to be Neither,” By Melissa Bollow Tempel
Alie arrived at our 1st-grade classroom wearing a sweatshirt with a hood. I asked her to take off her hood, and she refused. I thought she was just being difficult and ignored it. After breakfast we got in line for art, and I noticed that she still had not removed her hood. When we arrived at the art room, I said: “Allie, I’m not playing. It’s time for art. The rule is no hoods or hats in school.”
She looked up with tears in her eyes and I realized there was something wrong. Her classmates went into the art room and we moved to the art storage area so her classmates wouldn’t hear our conversation. I softened my tone and asked her if she’d like to tell me what was wrong.
“My ponytail,” she cried.
“Can I see?” I asked.
She nodded and pulled down her hood. Allie’s braids had come undone overnight and there hadn’t been time to redo them in the morning, so they had to be put back in a ponytail. It was high up on the back of her head like those of many girls in our class, but I could see that to Allie it just felt wrong. With Allie’s permission, I took the elastic out and re-braided her hair so it could hang down.
“How’s that?” I asked.
She smiled. “Good,” she said and skipped off to join her friends in art.
‘Why Do You Look Like a Boy?’
“People tend to teach girls to be "good girls" - to sit sill, do what they are told, engage in quiet activities, such as reading, and cooperate with others in their play. Boys tend to learn opposite behaviors - to be physically active, independent, an unruly. These socialized characteristics, it can be argued, place girls at an advantage in classrooms.”—Edward Morris. Interesting because this quote is an explanation to why women continue to excel on academics despite the fact that women still make less money across the board than males. The answer: sex role socialization. Hmmm………..
Stuff From My Class.
Gender refers to the social roles that are associated with each sex. That is, the meaning of each gender is culturally determined and these characteristics are acquired by members of each gender as they grow towards maturity. In this way gender can be seen as a performance, or a demonstration of what is deemed as the desirable traits associated with each gender which is in turn associated with sex.
Pre-dating outside contact the cultures of Hawai’i, Tahiti, Tonga and Samoa (at least) has room specifically for a so-called ‘third gender’. Fa’afafine, fakaleiti and mahu as they are variously known are people who are biologically male but raised as females. These people had intergral and important roles to play in the societies of the polynesian triangle.
This class gets more and more interesting!
Status update on the book
Hi friends! Just wanted to let everyone know how the book-making process is going. Fun facts follow!
- There are 70 pages total in the book.
- We have completed illustrations for 60 of them.
- We have (mostly) complete text for 52 of them.
- The pages left to color are the acknowledgments page, footnotes and further reading, the index, the two pages of glossary, and the inside front cover.
- The pages left to edit are the “Walk in our Shoes” pages I and II, How to Be an Ally, and this page.
- Meanwhile, we have a spreadsheet of short-run printers going that will make the first edition print for us (self-publishing), because
- We haven’t heard back from traditional publishers yet.
- On the plus side, thanks to Koomah we have a fabulous new video that might help with our kickstarter/other fundraiser to pay for that first round of printing.
We are super excited about how near to completion this book is and also entirely aware of how without big beautiful community support this project would go nowhere. Thank you, everyone who’s contributed so far, again, and if you see anywhere in the above where you could help, please get in touch and let’s collaborate together!