The society shades

I remember when I was 15 in my first year of Kungsholmen’s Gymnasium Ms Ingulfson subbed for our social sciences teacher once. The class became an interactive session where everyone got to say what they thought about something. Every time someone said something she would write a tick on the board, later she said, she would describe why she did that.

At the end of the class she showed us; the upper ticks were the boys speaking and the lower ticks were the girls, and it turned out that in our class, for every ten guys that said something, a girl said something.  Why do you think it’s like that? she asked.

It was like woaah! Mind blowing. This shit was real. Also I was so confused.

She went on explaining how the school system was created without consideration of the different maturity levels between boys and girls while growing up, how society’s view of what being a girl means affects our behavior (a girl is for example supposed to be a “good girl” and sit calmly waiting for her turn to speak), and why it was important to be aware of the society structures in our lives.

That year I was also blessed with Dr Drake as my English teacher who taught us how to analyze every single piece of literature from different perspectives, including a feminist one. If it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t know what misogyny was and it was important to have someone actually point out how even our buildings were shaped like giant phalluses.

We live in a patriarchal society and I guess before realizing that, I was walking around with imaginary society shades. Thinking everything was fine, thinking that everyone had equal opportunities and that it was normal for men to generally be favored for for example leadership positions. Now I’d never be able to put those glasses back on. Life just wasn’t the same anymore, gradually I started criticizing all the norms, and actively work to break free from them. We all have a long way to go for equality but I have found a place to share my thoughts, learn more (shout out SSU!) and make some real change for at least a few young people’s lives for now. But everyone does not get a chance to learn about this until it’s very late.

Some people might say that this is not that important there are other things to teach. But if you go through your entire “adolescent” life not understanding or even noticing the inequalities, how can you then work for equality when you are older? That is why I think it is so important to include this kind of statistics and gender related studies in our curriculum. Everyone deserves to know why they should easily be able to call themselves feminists without thinking there is some negative connotation that comes with. On the contrary, all it means is that you see the unfair structures of society and take an active stand to change them.

This french movie shows what it would be like if roles in society were a bit reversed. (Thankyou Saif)

I don’t really like the part about Hijab as a know that many people view the Hijab as something spiritual, personal and liberating and that perspective is lacking in this film. Nonetheless it is a powerful piece of a movie.


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