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Anyone articulate why I don't like this?

(30 Posts)
madwomanintheattic Tue 06-Nov-12 23:57:36

Just had an email from school letting me know that the grade fours are participating in two externally facilitated programmes - 'boy's council' and 'girl's circle'.

My teeth were itching at quite why the boys needed a council, and the girls got a circle, but I clicked on the link about these programmes, and it appears to be a whole industry here

I assume this is all for the best of intentions, but I am still uncomfortable that an organization supposed to be about breaking down gendered stereotypes uses 'council' and 'circle' in a gender exclusive manner (and that apparently the girls need friendship training, to prevent peer feuds).

Someone please have a rational look at this, and persuade me I'm overreacting. And it's All Good. It must be, right?

summerflower Wed 07-Nov-12 23:57:07

Re the peer feuds, DD's school has a peer mediation system - it is not gendered. Both sexes act as peer mediators, both sexes can access peer mediation. I realise this not what you are saying, but I would be wary of saying that it is only girls that have conflicts and police each other's behaviour. How else does patriarchy work if men/society don't reinforce/police masculine norms too?

I'd be really curious to see any research or evidence which suggests that girls use social media to be more cruel/exclusive than boys.

summerflower Thu 08-Nov-12 00:01:01

I guess the point may be that a good deal of male bonding seems to encompass devaluing women, which I think is a different issue - surely it would be better to engage with the other sex than have them in a separate meeting.

SolidGoldYESBROKEMYSPACEBAR Thu 08-Nov-12 00:03:36

This looks like superstition-based bullshit to me and I would be protesting vigorously. Perhaps by marching up to the school and hitting the board of governers over the head with a copy of Delusions of Gender.

AbigailAdams Thu 08-Nov-12 16:16:09

I wasn't dismissing conflict between girls at all. But obviously boys have peer feuds. There is plenty of bullying between boys and from boys to girls too. So why is it only girls being taught about relationships and "being nice" to each other? And as for online bullying there are plenty of high profile cases where girls have been bullied by boys and had photos distributed without their permission etc. My experience (anecdotal) is that male-dominated chat sites etc tend to be far harsher than the (very few) women dominated sites. As summerflower says there is a certain male bonding going on with objectifying and devaluing women. So surely we should be targetting ALL sources of bullying and peer pressure not just expecting the girls to deal with this shit.

madwomanintheattic Thu 08-Nov-12 18:36:38

That's a really interesting explanation, kritiq. And much less adversarial to point out the root cause, rather than focusing on the end result. <ponders>

I get the impression that they are trying to broaden the definitions of masculinity, but I don't think I'm getting the same vibe towards femininity...

Coincidentally, this is running at the same as dd2's teacher is emailing me to give permission for social support. Dd2 does not meet the patriarchal definition of femininity, she has both a physical disability and is gifted, which leaves her at the bottom of the potential BFF pile. I'm pretty used to viewing this fact from a disability model, but hadn't really considered it from a patriarchal viewpoint... Hmm. For her it isn't feud or conflict (yet) just dismissal due to not fitting in.

<solid gold, you did make me laugh grin>

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