ELA 20 Your Future Gender Roles and Values
It has likely been mentioned in class during the last Section’s discussion that, more and more, you as students are recognizing a difference between you, between males and females. Until recently, you may not have been quite aware of different treatments or expectations placed on you because of your gender. If your class participated in the open discussion between girls and guys about dating topics, wanting an honest opinion and perspective from the opposite sex, there is your proof that you’re not in a group as one anymore – that you are two groups of males and females learning together but experiencing lives outside of school that may be quite different from each other.
The last topic explored through literature for us this year is Gender Roles in Your Society/Future.
The roles of men and women in society are often used for comedic purposes. Here are two video parodies of topics that fall under this subject.
- Twitter Thread: The Downsides of Being a Man
Read through the Tweets of this Twitter Event after a conversation was started about the challenges of being a man in 2018.
- Article – Men Reveal the Difficult Parts of Being Male: men share the difficulty they experience in being male in society.
- June 2021 A discussion on gender was triggered when some prominent men in the carpentry/construction industry in Canada laughed after a guest on their podcast made comments about catcalling or touching women on worksites. A woman used part of the podcast and created her own video on social media, interjecting statistics of sexual assaults on women. The men of the podcast responded by triggering a 15 million dollar lawsuit against her for damages to their reputation. Others in the construction industry have spoken out and supported the woman, saying there is no room for and should be no acceptance of sexism or misogyny in their field of work.
- Twitter Thread: The Downsides of Being a Man
Gender is a construction – the idea of what it is to be male or manly versus female and feminine in your culture.
This is different than the biological Sex you are born as – male or female.
There are a number of older and newer documentaries that focus on gender issues for today’s society. Some of these concepts, the way males and females are viewed in society and the construction of these roles, have become established so gradually over time because of your exposure to them that they don’t seem dangerous. The dangers are there and they’re revealed by statistics: the amount of sexual assaults on women or murder/suicides committed by men towards their wives and children, or the amount of steroid users among male teens and high suicide rates for males.
A number of appropriate documentaries have been assembled for you. Some include mature subjects and images, but they have been developed for classroom and educational use. View what you’re comfortable viewing – skip forward if there are upsetting images. You’ll be viewing a documentary on your own, so you have control over your choice and viewing.
There are dangers in being female in our society.
There are dangers in being male in our society.
Documentaries Related to Gender:
- Tough Guise: looks at the overwhelming evidence connecting violent crime with masculinity as displayed through media. Over 90% of violent crimes are committed by men. Film-maker states “masculinity should be designated as a health hazard” – the influence of it is bad for your health. (53 minutes long)
- The Mask you Live in: a recent documentary looking at how media and society influence males by a harmful and narrow view of masculinity, leaving young males to navigate a maze of identity issues in order to understand how to be a “real man”. (1 hr 30 minutes)
- The Codes of Gender: a study of how media constructs the allowable portrayals of males and females through images and representation. These “codes” create what is allowable behaviour for males or females if they want to stay within their gender roles. Through these images, it often contributes to the idea that men are powerful and women are objects. (1hr 12 minutes)
- The Bystander Moment: studies the role of bystanders in perpetuating sexual harassment and sexual assault contributing to the normalizing of sexism and misogyny. Focusing on the shift following the #metoo movement, it aims to encourage viewers to become active bystanders to help challenge and change sexist cultural norms. (50 minutes)
- Audrie and Daisy: a look at the trend of young teenage girls in the United States sexually assaulted by their male classmates. It considers the way the justice system responds to/minimizes reports like these and the trend of images/videos of the rapes being posted online as a type of “trophies”. (1hr 30 minutes) Notice: Suicide trigger warning.
- Miss Representation: (Trailer only) If you have access to view this film, it looks at the media’s role in creating an expectation of women in society as valued only for their beauty, youth, and purity, instead of their roles as leaders in society and culture.
- Killing us Softly: A look at the use of print media and magazine ads that depict and create the stereotypes of sexist and misogynistic representation of women contributing to violence, eating disorders, and sexism against women.
After you’ve watched your documentaries of choice, you’ll participate in a class group discussion, to share the focus of the documentaries you viewed and personal responses you have as a result.
You’ll soon pick a topic of Inquiry or Research related to gender – a number of topics to consider are posted on the Blog Post that follows this one on the ELA 20 page.