Schools are the foundation for our thoughts, views and help us shape our minds and future but can it be that the school system is also rooting the problematic ideas in our heads? Schools propagate ableism, sexism, and misogyny very subtly.
Here are a few examples of misogyny and casual sexism you might have experienced in your school:
Dress Code: Girls in school are often told to pull their skirts down or wear skirts that cover up their knees because even a little skin show could distract boys, so girls are often shamed for how they dress. The teachers might mean well, but what they are doing is teaching little girls and boys to judge women based on what they wear and how they wear it. They should really teach not to judge someone based on what they wear and how they wear it.
Problematic girls Vs. Charming boys: A class clown, or a prankster, is labeled as Charming Boys. However, if a girl is mischievous, she is seen as problematic and lacks ambition and manners. The prankster and class clown were the teachers’ favs, while “problematic” girls were shamed everywhere.
Courses: Assuming that girls are better at literature while boys excel at reasoning, science, and math is one example of sexism at the start. The average male student may be bad at studies; he is just distracted or mischievous; however, he still has a lot of potential while the average female student is not smart enough.
Okay, now we have a little idea about sexist behavior at school; let’s move on to ableism. What is ableism, and where can you find it in school? Ableism is defined as the practice of a dominant attitude in society that devalues and limits the potential of persons with disabilities. Most people who do not have disabilities or who are not close to disabled individuals are unaware of the challenges disabled people face or experience. The opposite of ableism is neurodiversity, which means that everyone thinks differently. This is as important as diversity and makes the students learn and grow better.
Here are some ways school promotes ableism:
- Students with different abilities are often treated differently and are expected to act differently. What schools forget is that those children too should be treated with the same love and respect.
- They highlight the problems of the differently-abled than the strengths and victimize the disability. Teachers should focus more on the strength of the student than the problems or offer a solution.
- Organizing events or accommodation that helps or promotes the participation of differently-abled kids.
The new wave of schooling stresses the importance of educating students about sexism, misogyny, and ableism in our society. Educating kids about it all makes them better individuals personally and professionally. It helps them break out of patriarchal norms and focus on what they find most important in life, so they take ownership of who they are. Stepping out of the box is not just asking students to think differently; it asks them to unlearn the conditioning of society and to be more comfortable with themselves as individuals. It can cause a significant change in the development of students when schools start taking sexism, bullying, misogyny, and ableism seriously from the beginning, and children are free to express themselves and grow much more freely.
It would be helpful to try something different from the textbook because that is the best way to engage and stay relevant to today’s generation. It is okay for schools to break sexist rules, make rules that support neurodiversity, and treat all genders and students as equals.