Posted in ECS 110

Storying the Learning Journey

This is my powerpoint that I created to show my most memorable moments from ECS 110 where I feel that I learned and grew the most.

ECS Storying the Learning Journey

Works Cited

Adventures in Depression 

Weekly Slides: Week 9 Day 2

Treaty Backgrounder

#Treaty Ed Camp 3.0

 

Sensoy, O. & DiAngelo, R. (2017) Is Everyone Really Equal?: An Introduction to Key Concepts in Social Justice Education. 2nd Ed. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.

 

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Posted in ECS 110

The Self in Relation: Gender Stories

i. Normative Narratives

It is expected in our society that we all conform to the “norm”, in many cases this norm does not even represent the majority population, rather it describes those who have used their power over others to ensure that they keep it for as long as possible, and they do so through whatever means necessary. As I read through my classmate’s stories I saw examples of those who felt they performed their gender perfectly as well as examples of those who felt like they differed from the norm. In my own blog post “it.,” I described how I was affected by the societal norms surrounding gender, specifically femininity, and how my physical appearance, my baldness, isolated me from my identity. While searching through the blog posts of my classmates, I noticed that both  Hayley and Trevor shared instances in which they felt they didn’t perfectly conform to the societal norms pushed on us all from birth. There is an underlying normative narrative to these situations, like an unspoken rule that everyone must fit on one side of the gender binary. As we have learned in class the gender binary is the socially constructed, strict stories (stereotypes) of what it means to be a male/female (biological) > boy/girl (gender)” (Slide 5). We also learned about how gender is actually on a spectrum and that you can really identify wherever you please. The gender binary also produces a problematic view of how women and men should act: men need to be hypermasculine at all times and never express any feminine traits, and women are seen as weak and emotional.  

Within my own story, I told of how I felt that I didn’t look how other girls and women looked. All throughout my life I had seen this image of what I was supposed to grow into and  “I didn’t feel like the young woman that I was supposed to be growing into anymore.” In Hayley’s blog post she recalls the time she had her makeup professionally done for her graduation. She criticizes the tradition around graduation, especially for women, and how we are supposed to celebrate this huge milestone by making sure that everyone knows how much money we put into looking beautiful. She even mentions that she felt as though “we are not truly graduates unless our success can be measured in beauty.” Although she recognizes that she looked beautiful, “[she] was still left feeling that [she] had done [herself] a disservice.” Further, she says that she performed her gender perfectly but her feelings around the whole situation were definitely not the norm. Most young women have internalized this rigid binary structure that has been applied to gender, and similar to how our social positionality is like the water we swim in, these internalized ideas about what women should look like are unseen to us unless we are the “other”.

Similarly, I recalled that I felt like I could no longer identify as a woman because I looked so different from my female classmates. Trevor tells about a situation he had with his mother in which she confronted him about why “[he] wasn’t the stoic hard masculine figure that she wanted [him] to be.” He too, felt that he did not necessarily fall into the strict dichotomy separating male and female. He “[loved] the colour purple . . . painted [his] nails . . . [had an] interest in makeup . . . [and] preferred to practice piano over playing sports”. The “rules” in our society surrounding gender are expected to be followed and for anyone to deviate outside of those rules, whether it be accidentally like myself or not, there is a label attached to them that identifies them as the “other” and they are outcasted. In Trevor’s case, he was attracted to things that are seen as more feminine, by societies standards, and this was looked down upon by his own mother. I also found it interesting that he mentioned that “if [he] wanted to do things like that [he] might as well just become a girl,” demonstrating how heteronormativity also plays a role in how we perceive our own gender. It is seen as one or the other, rather than a spectrum like it should be. Of course, we have to move past this place of gender binaries and heteronormativity, and in order to do so, we have to let go of the long-standing and problematic traditions that precede us.

ii. Creating Counter-Stories: Disrupting Normative Narratives

In the stories mentioned above, my own, Hayley’s, and Trevor’s, we spoke on how the normative narratives surrounding gender and how we present said gender was and is displayed in our lives. On the opposite, another student in the class shared his story of how he came to understand this normative narrative and helped to disrupt it. Braden told a story of the time he was required to wear a pink shirt for anti-Bullying Day at his school as a young boy. At first, he rejected the idea going as far to “[try] to throw it in the garbage before [his] mom could see it because [he] knew she would make [him] get a pink shirt and wear it.” Of course, this is a common sentiment for young boys to have should they be faced with a situation that they were previously told is wrong. Braden says that he grew up thinking “girly colour[s]” such as pink and purple were strictly for girls and women. His opinion changes however, when his father confronts him about the pink shirt situation. In order to make a point, he pulls out a pink tie from behind his back, showing Braden that it is not a bad thing for men to wear colours that have traditionally been gendered as female.

In class, we read an article on how gender roles are introduced to toddlers and reinforced by their parents. The article summarizes a study done on toddlers and how the parents treated the children differently based on their gender. (I am sure that this is done unintentionally but it is still done nevertheless.) It was revealed that during snack time “fathers tended to encourage assertive behavior while mothers encouraged cooperation and fairness.” It also pointed out that with children in the same family, they also experienced different play-time experiences based which parent they were exposed to. These cues may seem little, maybe even insignificant, but it is proven by this study that it gives children indirect ideas about gender roles. As these children grow up, they carry these preconceived ideas about gender roles and it allows for third-party groups, such as friends, peers, the media, to further reinforce and internalize the same ideas. Further, the article gives some useful tips on how parents can start to disrupt the gender roles that are placed on their children. Instead of buying ‘gendered’ toys, “buy[] toys such as Legos for girls, which encourage “the kind of visuospatial skill that is linked to higher mathematic achievement,” and perhaps getting your son a pet, as it encourages boys to be nurturing and patient.” Instead of noticeably making changes to the things your child does, parents should focus on making little cues that will have a deeper impact that children can carry forward into the rest of their lives.

Braden’s article spoke to a bit of hope for me, the hope that we can slowly but surely move away from the silly practice of gendering everything imaginable. No colour or type of toy or clothing should ever be directly marketed to children based off of their gender. I guess because pink was a girls colour I never questioned wearing it for Anti-Bullying day and was not embarrassed to be seen in such girly colours. Braden’s article, therefore, gives me a bit of insight into how it was for him, growing up with negative feelings towards looking or being girly, and how he was able to resolve those feelings through a strong male figure in his life. I will admit though, I was almost disappointed with the results. It seems that his father swooped in and saved the day and it was almost as if he could only accept this change from his father, a man. I am not saying that this is a fault in his story or that his feelings and understandings are invalid. But, I will say that it demonstrates another level heteronormativity that he, and almost all other children, are exposed too. For young boys, they are subconsciously taught that they do not have to listen to women or respect what they have to say. I guess I do not know enough about Braden’s story to say that his mother tried her best to get him to wear the shirt, it was just something that sparked inside my mind when reading his story.

It is nice to see that young people are slowly being introduced to more and more diversity in their lives, and soon enough maybe we will not have to walk through clothing racks of boys clothes and girls clothes, through crowded aisles filled with girls toys and boys toys. One day we may even get to the point where the general public will be able to rid themselves of their hetero-, cisnormative, and gender binary views (that should have been gone long ago).

References 

Class Stories:

https://hayleysblog348.wordpress.com/2017/10/26/the-time-i-felt-most-beautiful/

https://flemintrblog.wordpress.com/2017/10/25/boys-shouldnt-be-that-way/

https://bradenmaclean.wordpress.com/2017/10/24/the-pink-shirt/

Class Readings:

Smith, Hortense (2010). Girls Are Pink, Boys Are Blue: On Toddlers and Gender Roles. Retrieved from https://jezebel.com/5561837/girls-are-pink-boys-are-blue-on-toddlers-and-gender-roles

Hildebrandt, Katia (2017). Weekly Slides: Week 9 day 1. Retrieved from https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1lByuXfXvWkP-kZMQA1rhja6apV-xrQwqEbEAYAG2ELo/edit#slide=id.g298a5e12c9_0_67

 

Posted in ECS 110

Deconstructing the Gender Binary

Sometimes we may hear the term ‘gender binary’ brought up in our conversations about sex, gender, and the roles we play in society. The gender binary is the categorization and separation of two distinct genders, male and female. This dichotomy is often seen as being based on the alignment of a persons gender and sex. As we know now in our society, gender is an expression of our identity however, everyone has unique identities and it is impossible to separate all people into this restricting system. As a result of our societies views on gender children are taught from a very young age what it means to be a boy and girl and then that soon turns into what it means to be a man and a woman. Of course, there are roles that each of these groups plays in all aspects of society and it is the belief that we are not supposed to deviate from these predisposed roles chosen for us.

Many of these gender roles and the strict dichotomy between male and female were brought to what is now Canada long before we got here. And, many of these roles come from a euro-centric ideology or way of knowing that is drastically different to the indigenous ways of knowing that existed here for thousands of years. In most discussions about colonialism that I have had, the gender binary is almost never discussed yet it is so important that we start to move away from these constricting guidelines that govern our expression. All children should be taught the same morals and values, and be raised the same. Just because your child is assigned female, it doesn’t mean that they have to wear pretty, pink dresses, or play with dolls. Similarly, if your child is assigned male, they shouldn’t have to wear blue, and want to get dirty and play rough. Children should be able to grow to their full potential, and they can only do so by fully expressing their true being.

In my life, undoing gender could mean that I personally express myself regardless of silly rules that are imposed upon me. As well, encouraging others to take part in undoing gender by expressing themselves is a step in the right direction. Becoming more educated and therefore educating others is another way that I can help deconstruct this binary as a future teacher. I would want all of my students to feel comfortable with themselves and be free to express who they are.

Posted in ECS 110

MythBusters – Canada as a Welcoming Country for All

For the MythBusters assignment, our group decided to bust the myth that Canada is a country accepting of all cultures and people. In order to bust this myth, we took to the streets to ask some strangers as well as asking our friends and family. When doing this project we found a lack of indigenous representation in many of the peoples answers unless they were specifically asked to address issues of indigenous acceptance. Also present was the common rebuttals we learned about in class. People cited exceptions to rules or used personal anecdotes to prove there points, while these were used to help disprove the normative narrative, it was also used to further it in some responses.

We also found that it was very hard to ask people this question and that it was hard to find people who wanted to answer honestly. When I asked my dad if he would like to give his opinion he said no to me at first, worried that he needed to reply with a specific answer that wouldn’t make him seem like a bad person. I assume that some people did think this and instead of giving their honest opinion they said what they thought we wanted them to say; that Canada was, in fact, welcoming of all peoples and cultures. As for us as interviewers, it was uncomfortable to ask people this questions. Maybe it was just me, but I almost felt like people saw me as trying to push the m=normative narrative as well and think that maybe that’s why some people were uncomfortable answering.

Posted in ECS 110

it.

If at any point in time you asked when I last thought about it, I would most likely tell you that I am right now, just was, and after this conversation is over, I will continue to think about it. It is always running through my mind. Sometimes in the form of words, both those said to me by loved ones and strangers alike, and the internal ones that spill from my mouth like black tar when I look at myself in a mirror. I would be lying if I said that I wanted to go back and change the one pivotal moment that I still believe led me to this place where I am now. I find it hard to say to myself that I wish I could go back and stop it but at the same time it is hard to ignore the crying 12-year-old in my head that wished I could just be a normal little girl again. It has brought me many good things in life, I’m more confident in myself, I’ve learned to work harder for the things I love, and as my mother likes to remind me, I could always have it worse and I am grateful that I don’t. However, it has also caused me more suffering than I care to admit to the people that I love. I hid for so long that in the end, I didn’t really know who I was anymore. I pushed away all of my friends, scared to go over for sleepovers only to accidentally reveal my deepest secret. I hated gym class for much of the same reason and it became so bad that I could barely walk down the hallways in school or turn my back to my classmates. Most of those classmates and friends still do not even know about it.

It happened in the summer between grade 6 and 7. A critical time for myself and the female classmates around me as we would be moving out of the elementary wing of our school and into the high school wing. We were growing older, more mature; we were going through puberty. Now, puberty is a hard time for everyone involved. There is so much happening to your body all at once, most of it evolving your physical appearance. These physical changes also change us mentally and psychologically, making us become insecure and we start to question ourselves. This was a time when my friends and classmates really started to express themselves as young women. They started wearing makeup and dyed their hair or started wearing different clothes. For me it was a little different. Instead of using bright eyeshadows and voluminous mascaras, my mom drew fake eyebrows on my face and put eyeliner around my eyes to make my lash-less lids seem less noticeable. Instead of dying my hair cute and bright colours and curling and straightening it, I got fitted for over-priced synthetic wigs and searched for hours to find a hair salon that could actually cut and style it. When at home instead of wearing clothes that expressed my personality, I wore hooded sweatshirts and toques so that I didn’t have to look at the pale, ugly expanse of bald skin where my hair was supposed to grow. I think it is hard for others to understand the impact this has had on me and how something so little, like strands of hair, stripped me of my identity. I didn’t feel like the young woman that I was supposed to be growing into anymore.

It wasn’t until very recently that I started seeing other bald women represented in the media, ones that actually have no hair, rather than those who choose to shave theirs off. It was a pleasant surprise for me to start seeing others closer to my age that weren’t afraid to express themselves. It also wasn’t until recently that I learned about the idea of gender fluidity and the idea that it’s okay not to feel like simple pronouns truly express who you are. Moving forward, I hope I am able to leave behind these negative feelings of being abnormal and start to express myself without the restrictions of mainstream ideas of gender.

 

Posted in ECS 110

#TreatyEdCamp 3.0

This past Saturday, our ECS 110 class attended Treaty Ed Camp. It was an overall great experience for future educators, as well as those already teaching or working in schools, and provided a great amount of insight and new knowledge for me personally about treaty education in Saskatchewan. The day started off with a pipe ceremony, which I was unable to attend, an opening blessing, and a keynote speaker.The keynote speaker for the event was Charlene Bearhead, an indigenous woman from Alberta. She also made sure to mention to us that she was both a mother and a grandmother. Throughout her speech, she discussed a couple main topics including who treaty people were, and the current state and possible future of treaty education in Saskatchewan.

She told us that we were all treaty people. This was something that I never thought about. I never considered that I would be a treaty person, I thought that only Indigenous people were considered treaty people. However, if you think about it, it is quite obvious that, because we live on this land, Treaty 4, we are benefiting from the treaty and are therefore treaty people. Of course, it is important to recognize that as a white person I benefit from the treaty in a completely different way. As a result of the benefits that I have through treaty, I am never required to actually step back and look at the privilege I have. It is simply the water I swim in and I think that’s why it took me so long to really understand what being a treaty person meant.

Mrs Bearhead also spoke to us about treaty education in Saskatchewan, the lack of it really. Saskatchewan is actually one of the provinces that are supposed to be more progressive in terms of treaty education which is something that I was very surprised about. I used to live in Alberta and,  maybe it’s because I was young, but I didn’t really notice a difference in the treaty education provided between my school there and my new school in Saskatchewan. In Alberta, we had whole days that were dedicated to teaching us kids about Indigenous culture and the treaties. This might have been something that just my school did, but I feel that this small bit of treaty ed. early on in my life benefited me immensely.  This was actually something the Mrs Bearhead mentioned, it is easier to teach young children about treaty ed. and expose them to the issues that Indigenous people in Canada are facing rather than trying to teach someone who has already solidified their views, no matter how terrible they are.

After breaking off after the keynote for our different sessions, I attended an open discussion about Treaty 4 representation on Treaty 4 land. One of the women in our discussion group recalled how she had been to a football game and saw the Canadian, Saskatchewan, and Regina flags flying in the stadium, but no Treaty 4 flag. In fact, there is little to no indication that we are on Treaty 4 land in any public spaces here, especially in Regina. My biggest takeaway from this discussion is that there is simply not enough recognition of the treaty in this area and the only way to fix this is to educate as many people as we can.

As a future teacher, this experience has been very helpful in opening my mind up to why we need to continue growing our treaty education in schools, not only in Saskatchewan but all over Canada. I will continue to educate myself on indigenous struggles, past, presemt, and future, and with this education I hope that I can educate those around me in every environment I am put in.

 

 

Posted in ECS 110

Did He Drive Like a White Man?

The quad speeds towards the yard and I can see some of my family standing at the end of the driveway waiting for us to return. I clutch my arms tightly around my cousin’s waist as we come to a stop in front of my dad, uncle, and grandpa. As we roll up, the wide grin plastered on my face slowly falls and my cousin slides off the quad my tiny six or seven-year-old body in tow. Of course, I’m disappointed at having to come back but with the promise of another ride after supper, my mood brightens once again.

My dad questions me excited about my first ride around on the quad with my cousin. “So, did he drive like a white man?”

How do you drive like a white man? Do you really drive differently if you don’t have white skin? I’m confused. I express my confusion to the small audience gathered around me; I ask them these questions running through my head. At first, I can see that they too are now confused.
However, I doubt that they are confused for the same reasons I am, instead they are probably pondering how they are going to explain to me that the poor and uncivilized Indians are incapable of driving properly because all they care about is drinking and then driving to the Liquor Board to get more alcohol. Maybe I’m being a bit too harsh on my own family but they really must have been thinking something similar about how they would explain this elusive concept to me. Growing up I wasn’t very exposed to different cultures and I lived in a very segregated neighbourhood only seeing people with different coloured skin at the school I attended. I only saw other kids that had slightly darker skin and as far as I was concerned they just had darker tans than I did. I didn’t recognize that these different skin colours meant they were weird and different and in some cases bad. It wasn’t until I started hearing negative comments and stereotypes about these kids that I went to school with, my friends, that I actually questioned the fact that we really did look different. They didn’t want to talk to us about it in school so I had to resort to my family and my classmates for more information.

My parents always liked to tell me that we should never treat anyone differently because of how they looked or anything superficial like who they wanted to marry or what god they wanted to believe in. It seemed however that they didn’t practice what they preached and they could never explain to me why not everyone followed these rules. If I’m not supposed to treat others unfairly because of their skin colour than why do you get to say mean things about them and why do my classmates get to use the N-word or bully my friends who looked different? If I called them right now and asked them in this very moment that same question, they still wouldn’t be able to tell me. They wouldn’t be able to tell me why they tried to make it seem like I wasn’t part of the reason those friends of mine didn’t graduate. They wouldn’t be able to admit that we were a part of and perpetuated a system that resulted in my friend having to drop out of school in grade six because her parents couldn’t afford to get them special learning materials after she went partially blind and had to learn how to read again.

People that look like me don’t need to have an explanation for any of these problems though. We aren’t the ones facing these issues so it’s not our problem to fix, you can just hope that we children go out into the world spouting on about how you raised us not to treat others differently based on superficial traits like skin colour.