Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Celebrating Women

I feel slightly conflicted about the various time increments that the U.S. government has allocated for us to recognize underrepresented groups of people. I think the most well known is February, which is Black History month. Don't get me wrong--I applaud the idea of educating people about African Americans' contributions to U.S. history. But my more radical solution is to make black history or African American studies, more specifically, mandatory curriculum, at the high school level preferably, but definitely at the college level. Perhaps I'd want to broaden it to a history of race in America--again, as mandatory curriculum starting in elementary school preferably, but at least by your senior year in high school, this would be a year long course you would take, and whiteness would also be studied as a racial category too.

I just feel like one month feels like a bit of lip service--a small gesture to make up for centuries of oppression.

[Got this image from doing a google image search using the phrase "Women's History Month"--will include 3 others from this search--interesting that none of these women are from our recent past, but it is important to remember our foremothers, and I'm glad they made at stab at diversity with the inclusion of 2 non-white women]

And March is Women's History month. And, again, my more radical idea is that gender should be something we talk about and analyze starting in kindergarten. Because gender is something we digest subconsciously every waking moment. I remember reading a study years ago that the very first thing that all humans notice about another human is gender. In other words, when someone walks into a room, the first thing we are programmed to think about, in a split second, without even being conscious that we are doing this, is whether the person is male or female. When we can't do this instantaneously--when we are forced to pause and decide, this creates cognitive dissonance for us--we feel confused and troubled. Which is why those "Pat" skits on Saturday Night Live worked so well. We are not comfortable with gender ambiguity.

[Rosie the Riveter--she's feminine but also tough and she's positive!]

Now, radical curriculum ideas aside, I do appreciate the well intentioned spirit behind this gesture--that we should pause and remember the history of African Americans in this nation, and we should acknowledge the role of women in American culture.

[Rosa Parks--this image is so powerful--it speaks for itself]

So, in honor of Women's History Month I'm going to direct you to the blog, What Tami Said (click on name for link) because Tami and another blogger, Heart at Women's Space, have come together to create a Women's History Month Blog Carnival. This is the first entry in this month-long series (click here) and yours truly has entered a post that should be appearing in the next days or weeks.

[It's funny because it's true (sigh)]

What Tami Said is one of my daily blog check-ins. I think that Tami is incredibly saavy and smart and thoughtful--so if you haven't taken a look at her blog, I recommend it.


Tami said...

Thanks for the shout out, Jennifer!

Jennifer said...

My pleasure! I'm really enjoying the carnival!

Heart said...

Hey, Jennifer, thanks for the link! And for your fine contribution to the carnival which I have been thinking about and mulling over. I'm so happy to be reading you and to have found you thanks to Tami!

Jennifer said...

Right back at you Heart! I've gone to your blog and read through some of your past posts and am really glad to make your blogosphere acquaintance. Also, as I said above to Tami, I am really enjoying the various entries--thanks for hosting the Carnival!