How would you teach the Problems with the patriarchy to male teenagers?

(22 Posts)
RibinaPet Mon 07-Mar-16 17:43:54

I am doing a session on international women's day tomorrow with my students -age 17-18. They are all male and I'm wondering how I can get them to care about the problems faced by women, and what living in a patriarchy means.

They are reasonably bright as aiming for uni, but they have very short attention spans.

I also have a core gang of Muslim teenagers in the class who don't speak perfect English and who thrive as a gang both in and out of college.

I don't want to bang on about something they are not interested in, but at the same time international Women's day is a legitimate reason to discuss this topic.

Any pointers on what kind of thing I should be saying?

partialderivative Mon 07-Mar-16 18:02:24

I think the number one thing is NOT to alienate them. Keep them involved at all times.

I watched the video that was posted on here earlier, something about 'Dear Daddy' in which a 'daughter goes through the sort of crap and abuse a female may have to put up with.

Maybe ask the boys to think about how their mothers would have liked to have been a whore, bitch slut etc.

Please let us know how you approached this

partialderivative Mon 07-Mar-16 18:09:12

EEK! I mean called a whore, bitch, slut

Serious proof read issue

BarefootAcrossHotLegoPieces Mon 07-Mar-16 18:48:26

The @everydaysexism twitter account

BarefootAcrossHotLegoPieces Mon 07-Mar-16 18:51:09

And the @hollaback one

Ask them which expressions eg cries like a girl would be acceptable if black were substituted for girl

Ask them to think about when they first saw porn and if they've ever asked a girl for a naked picture - point out child pornography laws.

The DisrespectNoBody campaign has some resources on sexting and controlling behaviour.

BarefootAcrossHotLegoPieces Mon 07-Mar-16 18:51:32

Adam Johnson? Ched Evans?

grimbletart Mon 07-Mar-16 18:54:06

Good luck with that Ribena is all I can say. I suspect you will be lucky if they will even accept there is such a thing as patriarchy.

Seriously, rather you than me. smile

grimbletart Mon 07-Mar-16 18:55:19

Sorry, that sounded a bit abrupt. Didn't mean to. I'm an oldie and in my lifetime have not yet managed to persuade teenage boys that women have any problems at all…..

SueTrinder Mon 07-Mar-16 19:00:36

The Man Who Has it All Blog?

What subject do you teach and why are there only boys in the class? Is there an opening there?

BarefootAcrossHotLegoPieces Mon 07-Mar-16 19:01:41

Good Call, sue!

noblegiraffe Mon 07-Mar-16 19:08:12

I agree that they won't think there are any issues at all. They need showing how uneven the world is. Proportion of women CEOs, MPs etc despite girls doing better than boys at school.
Proportion of films that pass the Bechdel test.
Wasn't there a YouTube video comparing photos of women in a newspaper versus photos of men?
The Hawkeye Project.

You need things that they can see, understand and relate to.

PalmerViolet Mon 07-Mar-16 19:12:03

The story today that in the Equalities Minister's own office, there is a gender pay gap, one that she vowed to do away with as a matter of urgency the week she was appointed...

EcclefechanTart Mon 07-Mar-16 20:04:22

Can you do some sort of reverse scenario, where it is they who suffer the inequality? Perhaps a role-play? I suppose I'm thinking of the different treatment for different eye colours thing that is done with primary school children, without telling them it's about racism. Perhaps if you can do an age-appropriate version of that, without actually selling it as about sex discrimination initially, they might be sucked in?

FimbleBlizzard Mon 07-Mar-16 20:35:44

Pick a few of them, not half, just a few, and say right, these out of you are now women (nothing else changes, same GCSE results, same classes for same subjects)? Then perhaps role play some job-related scenarios or point out differences in how they'll then be treated when applying for jobs? The key thing there I think is to point out how out of their original group, some are now being held back and paid less and some aren't, and those that are being held back didn't do anything bad to deserve this.

I think before they are likely to care about women being treated differently they need to feel that women are not mainly 'other' (which makes different treatment less objectionable). The route to establishing a feeling of commonality with women could to be to focus on the group of women that are students - as like them as possible academically - then move on to getting them to think about why it's fair that the male students E and G who were picked to be 'women' for the purposes of the exercise are going to be treated worse, despite having worked just as well or better than all the rest.

I think if you try to look at how women are treated across all walks of life, not just as students/job applicants/workers, you risk coming up against ingrained feelings that it doesn't actually matter that much how women are treated because after all most of these women are 'other'. So a narrow focus on women who are exactly like them academically might get them empathising a bit more, just as a first step.

EcclefechanTart Mon 07-Mar-16 20:39:29

I think what Fimble says sounds great, but I don't think I'd tell them they were actually women until the end of the class, otherwise they will immediately think "oh, but that's OK for women, because...". Just pick some of them to suffer the discrimination without their knowing why - it will then seem wrong and unfair to them.

RibinaPet Mon 07-Mar-16 21:34:21

Phew - thanks for all the suggestions, now I'm going to have a look at those ideas and a think what would be best for them.

I had been planning to ask them 'what is the patriarchy?' And see if they'd heard that term before, and then discuss what's wrong with it. Any ideas on talking about what the patriarchy actually is and the problem with that? Or do you think that's too theoretical?

BarefootAcrossHotLegoPieces Mon 07-Mar-16 21:48:36

Yeah, I think it's too theoretical.

BarefootAcrossHotLegoPieces Mon 07-Mar-16 21:50:47

You colic finish won't it "and the prevalence of these examples of sexism at work and home, in religion and society, is often referred to as patriarchy"

Movingonmymind Mon 07-Mar-16 21:52:37

Parallels with race seem to interest mine- so comparing anti apartheid movement with th sffrusgettes and then going from there to modern day with specifics -so rather than theory the facts eg 2 women killed a week in uk by partner, pay gap, social media objectification? Consent?

IShouldBeSoLurky Mon 07-Mar-16 23:46:21

I don't know, I'm not a mother or a teacher. But I wonder whether it might be worth dealing first with what I think is the elephant in the room with boys: that they want sex and only girls (if they aren't gay obvs) can give them that. And then talking about what their desire for sex and sexual validation makes them do (harassment, slut-shaming etc) and how the dangers those behaviours pose are different for them than for girls (looking like a fool vs unwanted pregnancy etc) and then kind of unfolding that into a bigger patriarchal structure to encompass employment, sport, caring responsibilities, DV etc and asking them, "Is this fair? How has this come to be? What do you want to do about it? etc."

But I may be way off the mark.

SueTrinder Tue 08-Mar-16 14:34:56

If you're going to talk about sex then rape and the myths of that would be an incredibly useful thing to teach them. Don't know if it's appropriate for your subject though. Stuff like this is very scary and they are probably too young for it: asking men about rape.

RibinaPet Thu 10-Mar-16 23:11:03

Hi all, well the session went fine. We just talked very briefly about the problems women are still facing today, despite all the progress we think has been made. As I suspected they had a very short attention span, so we didn't get much of a debate going, and I wasn't able to brainwash them too much!

But today I tried it again on a different class and it went much better. I focused on the theme of international women's day this year, which is on closing the pay gap. We talked about why women are still paid less despite the legislation. The reasons being, women's subjects are valued less by society. Women don't ask for a higher salary, and why they don't ask (I mentioned the excellent book 'why women don't ask') and that women should 'lean in' to their careers before they have a baby, so they can return from maternity leave and go into a top job, rather than a crappy one.

We also talked about the additional bind that women now face which is student fees of £9000 a year. When they are on maternity leave their student loan isn't being paid off, meaning it's taking them longer than men to shift that debt.
it was a really good session, and the boys were actively engaged in it. The only problem was the two girls in this class. They didn't contribute to the discussion, and they both looked like broken women by the end of it. I think I needed to highlight these issues, but it did put a division between the boys and girls, as they considered all the disadvantages they would face in the future. While at this point in time they feel 100% equal to their male counterparts.

I suppose I'm wondering - have I actually helped anyone at all with what I was saying, and if so, how?

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