August 4, 2005

“ Gender Discrimination & Ill Treatments of Children” by Vernellia R. Randall and chapter eight of Boys Versus Girls?How gender shapes who we are, what we want, and how we get along by George Abrahams and Sheila Ahlbrand

Today, I read a very heartbreaking article called, “ Gender Discrimination & Ill Treatments of Children” by Vernellia R. Randall and chapter eight (Beyond “ Boy versus Girl”: Finding the real you) of George and Sheila’s book called Boy versus Girls, How gender shapes who we are, what we want, and how we get along. Doing these two reading together was a great combination because they are related to each other in a way. These reading both discuss about the working status of boys and girls as they grow up, judging mostly from their gender and also basing on race. I think that one of the greatest thing about these two reading was that their topic are linked together.
In chapter eight of George and Sheila book, they discuss about how society also expected different jobs for boys and girls as they grow up to be adults. For example, women was expected to work as administrative assistants, cooks, retail and personal sales, etc. that was label “ women's work” from society. George pointed out that eighty percent of women in the workforce are employed as secretaries, salesclerks, nurses, and teachers (pg.160). While men were expected to work as construction workers, machinists, engineers, doctor, and other works that society defines as “ men’s work”. Men were not allowed to do “ women’s work” because if they do “ women’s work”, they will be harassed, excluded from other dominant men. Women were also not allow to do “ men’s work” or they will labels as bad women, who want to take over men work, and have to work harder to prove that they can handle men works. Women was often pay lower than men because of their gender, even though there was law restricting that women and men should be pay equally.
In chapter eight, George and Sheila gave some advises about how boys and girls should find their true selves, such as planning what they want to be as they grow up, regardless of those jobs expectation from the society, how they want act or what types of roles they want to do. George and Shelia recommended that these children should let their feelings out about gender stereotypes from their parents, teachers, and peers by talking about it. These two authors think that these children shouldn’t let society expectation influence their thinking about themselves. They argues that these children should recognized their good and be able to choose what roles they wanted to be and let the world know about it.
In Vernellia’s article, she talks mostly gender discrimination being used a lot in the U.S. society. She argues that women did not receive the same constitutional rights compared to men (Vernellia). That women in the United States have weak voice in politics, are discriminated in terms of employment, job status, and wages. The labor protection standards for women are below the international norms, and sexual violence, sexual harassment and domestic violence against women are also rampant in the United States (Vernellia). She emphasized mostly in her article about how women were mistreated because of their gender in work situations and jail, and how certain race and class status influence gender mistreatment. Vernellia found that women are paid an average of 26 percent less than their male colleagues from a November 2000 report released by an American institute studying policy on women (Vernellia). She also pointed out those men of color get pay lesser than white men.
She also found that there have been an increases numbers of women in prisoner that have also become victims of various abuse. Women of color were mostly those ones that were abused in the jail from harassment to raped, where some of those women gave birth in the cell. Vernellia also talks about many women and children being taken from Asia, Latin America, and Eastern Europe to the United States to work as slaves. In the United States, these children were mistreated badly, force to work in factories, mines, farms where the working conditions are very dangerous, being shot constantly for not working hard, no matter what races or genders they are. These children's life were threatened by poverty (Vernellia). There were little foods for them and immigrants children who, were not citizens of the United States, was not given medical insurance. Some of these poor children live on the street. So when these children get sick from injuries, pesticide poisoning, which can cause disability, most of them choose not to get medical help because of the fear that the medical bills will be too expensive that there wouldn’t be enough money for the food.
I enjoyed reading these two reading because these two reading made me realize that the whole gender roles issues isn’t much of a problems if we are able to overcome society expectation and that every boys and girls knows what roles they want to be. However, when adding race to gender roles, this become a greater problem because people that used race discrimination toward gender, are often unconscious of their agency. I was aware of the facts that women get pay lesser than men, and that women and men have different jobs from society, but I was surprised to know that this issues could cause race discrimination.
I think that in Vernellia’s article, she made a good argument about how women of color, men of color, and children are being mistreated badly because of their race. It is sad that those people are unable to help themselves because of their poverty statues, and than they have to work harder to just to be able to feed themselves. I didn’t like the fact that women are raped and abused in jail because of their gender, because I think that when people are in jail, they all have the same right. There is not a written law that say women in jail would have lower status than officers (men), and that officers should have the right to abused those women as a punishment. I think that this is just not fair. I think that every males and females should be treated equally because we are all the same human beings. Just like what George and Sheila argue in their book about boys and girls equal right to choose how they wanted to portray their gender in school, works, family, and the society, and they should be treated equally regardless of what races they are or whether their class status is poor or rich.

Here is the link to the article by Vernellia R. Randall:

Reference for the book:
Abrahams, George. and Ahlbrand, Sheila. Boy versus Girls, How gender shapes who we are, what we want, and how we get along. Free Spirit Publishing Inc. Minnesota, 1951.

Posted by chan0719 at 11:58 PM

August 2, 2005

' How Does it Get into My Imagination?' : Elementary School Children's Intertextual and Gendered Storylines, by Elizabeth Yeoman

Today, I read an extraordinary article called “ ‘ How Does it Get into my Imagination?’: Elementary School Children’s intertextual knowledge and gendered storylines” by Elizabeth Yeoman. Elizabeth Yeoman is a professor at Memorial University of Newfoundland who also teaches women studies, focusing on culture, language difference, postmodern, postcolonial, and feminist studies ranging from motherhood to family life(1). Elizabeth also wrote other interesting article beside this one, such as a review essay for the article, Transforming the Culture of Schools: Yup'ik Eskimo Examples, a book review for Single Mothers and their Children: Disposal, Punishment and Survival in Australia which was written by S. Swain with R. Howe, a article called, The other within the self: Black daughter, white mother and the narrative construction of racial identity and other interesting articles.
Elizabeth’s article is related to the article, “ Ella Evolving: Cinderella Stories and the Construction of Gender Appropriate Behavior” by Linda T. Parsons because these two articles discussed about how fairy tales portrayed gender roles in children and the effect it have on them. However, there are also differences in these two articles. For example, Linda’s article is written from adult’s perspective of the influence of fairy tales in gender roles, focusing mostly on the sets roles, where there is no exception of changing those gender roles. Conversely, Elizabeth’s article is written from looking at the children’s perspective of fairy tales. Her article used a lot data from case study of children’s response to stories to examine how intertextual knowledge contributes to their understanding of what it means to be male or female (pg.427). She focus on having students rewrite the fairy tales that they read from their own experience or what they see from other sources such as videos, books, and picture, to examine their new stories and to if there is any changes in gender roles. Her article examines how the conversations and writings of the children who participated in the study revealed aspects of their shareable imaginative world. Her article also inform about how gender roles, race, and class are involved from the presenting of unexpected characteristics, plots, outcomes, detail from the children’s imagination from theirs made believe storyline (pg. 429).
In her article, she worked with the teacher and students from a fourth and fifth grade classroom who ages range approximately from 9 years old to 11 years old at Charles Street Public School (pg.428). Elizabeth choose Charles Street Public School because Charles School is an urban Canadian school with a diverse population consisting of national and ethnic origin, and socio-economic situation (pg.428). She stay in their class for a six month period, reading a variable of fairy tales ranging from The Three Little Pigs by A. Wolf, two of the best known European fairy tales, Little Red Riding Hood and Cinderella, The Princess and the Goblin, Willow, The Little Mermaid, Pocahantas and Mulan to the classroom. In her research, she was surprised to found out that if through she didn’t specifically asked the children to focus on gender, the discussion that she have with the children encourage them to reflect on the range of discourses available to them about what it means to be male or female. For example, in her article, when she asked the students to rewrite a fairy tales from their experience, a girl name Samantha wrote about a story called “ Something Different” talking about this beautiful princess named Caroline was kidnapped, but was very intelligent to save herself and her knight Henry, who was very stupid, from the dragon and live happily after as his tutors. There were also two other stories that were rewritten from the story Cinderella and The Little Red Riding Hood.
Elizabeth analysis from those three stories that these children wrote their stories expressing that in fairy tales it doesn’t always have to be in the mode where the male are the dominant one and helping the princess. That it could be the other way around where the princess is the strong one saving the prince. Or in Bart story about the Red Riding Hood, where she invents a Red Riding Hood who is more than able to look after herself without any help from armed woodsmen. Elizabeth think that both stories are also clearly disruptive and can be placed within shifting discourses of what it means to be a woman (pg. 433). She think these stories can be seen as part of a changing narrative theme where such resolutions are possible, where women do defend themselves and live interesting lives without marrying princes (pg. 433).
In her article, she talks about how she saw other children-using race with gender during their discussion. After reading the stories, Cinderella, The Talking Eggs, and Munro’s Beautiful Daughters, where the last two stories was the same version as Cinderella, but from different place like Louisiana and West Africa. She asked those students to draw what they would imagine the girl in the stories to look like, without looking at the real pictures. Elizabeth saw that mostly of the children drew white characters, no matter what color they were themselves. When she show them the picture of the black girl as the main character, those children was shocked and explaining their reasons for drawing a white character. She also found out that a lot those children who are different race draw their character white, with the assumption that white or blonde equal goodness, where black equal evil.
Reading Elizabeth’s article was interesting because her article shows her reader, even me, a different perspective of gender roles for children. I agree with her about how she think these stories can be seen as part of a changing narrative theme where such resolutions are possible, where women do defend themselves and live interesting lives without marrying princes (pg. 433). She is implying that girls being tough and strong are acceptable, and boys don’t have to always be the powerful. However, I think that her main point in this article was that children also already learned about what the society expected of them on their gender roles. However, these children are using that knowledge to consider what gender characteristics they want to express about themselves from their imagination to the outer world from their experience. For example, in the article, the girl, Samantha who fully aware that her story did not conform to the usual standards of accepted narratives, that she was challenging the status quo when she wrote her story, ‘ Something Different’ but she still wrote it anyway because she wanted to see a change in the gender roles (pg. 431).
It was amazing how Elizabeth point out that as those children talks about gender roles, they are also using race unconsciously by drawing a white character for the main girl in those three stories. I found it understandable that maybe those children don’t understand about how is it that they are being racism. Or maybe it is might be that those children do know that by drawing the character white with blonde hair that they are being racism, but doesn’t want to admit it. For example, there was other girls who wasn’t white, drawing the character white and when they were ask, they just answer it be saying that white is about being good. It is like they don’t want to admit it incase other will think bad of them.

here is the link where I found some information about Elizabeth Yeoman:

Sorry that I couldn't get the website of the article, but you can find it at U of M library Website.

Posted by chan0719 at 11:16 PM