Wednesday, November 18, 2009

X School for Boyzz

This is Spirit Week at my school and so each day has a theme--I went as Twiggy for "British Invasion" Tuesday and today I dressed up at Nick Carraway for "X School for Boyzz" day (I work at a girls' school). It was fun wearing my oxford shirt, grey vest and shoulder-paded suit jacket; I felt satisfyingly swaddled all day.

However, it was NOT fun in the 9th grade class meeting when the girls played "boyzz trivia" in which they asked questions such as: What is a shot in basketball called if it goes past the hoop without touching it? and How many downs are there in football? Apparently, only boys play sports these days--who knew?

It was also not fun when they competed to tie a tie--a competition suggested by a teacher because it "is good for girls to learn to tie ties for their husbands." When did tie-tying become a major life skill for young women? Do I work at a finishing school? Why must we assume that these girls will even have husbands and/or won't be the ones wearing ties themselves?ARRRRGGGGGHHHHHHH!

This takes me back to good old Rossi's obituary (see last Sunday's post) and her brilliant idea of "de-sex-linking" occupations to open up more opportunities for women. It appears that, as a society, we have failed miserably to de-sex-link sports from their status as "men's work." Despite all the progress of Title IV and the fact that most of my female students consider themselves athletes of one sort or another, when asked to come up with questions relating to "being boys," they ask a bunch of sports trivia.

We all know that jobs are still highly gendered--male nurses are a joke, as are "mannys," and at my school there are only two male teachers (not counting coaches) in grades 4-8. I don't think this is unusual--at my husband's school, there are NO male teachers in grades k-6! So, while women seem to have some success breaking into traditionally male jobs, men appear to have had much less success breaking into traditionally female jobs. Why is this?

"Women's work" is still devalued by society. Why should men lower themselves (and their pay rates) to do jobs that are largely considered less important? The reason a woman still makes only 70 cents to every dollar a man makes is complicated, yes, but it's also related to Rossi's notion of sex-linked jobs.

How should I break this to the "boyzz" in my classes?

1 comment:

  1. Interesting note about the tie-tying task. Back in 8th grade I wore them atleast once a week, and I'm trying to remember who helped me with or dad? I'm guessing even if these gals end up with a girlfriend it could be helpful to have this skill.
    I'm wondering if or when an androgyne will be given more focus in our society?
    much love,