Tuesday, January 28, 2014

SciFi Girls

I was observing a kindergarten class today. They were watching interactive movies about numbers and counting in the library for about a half hour. At the end of the fun math show all the kids were sad they had to go back to their regular day. One boy announced, "We should watch more movies! I want to see Star Wars!" I actually agreed with this boy and his assessment of the situation.

A young lady responded, "What would the girls do?" I sighed.

Another, different gentleman responded, "You could watch Cinderella or something in a different room!" with excitement. It took everything inside me to not stop the class. If it wasn't my first day with them and if I was more than just an observing pre-practicum student teacher I would've sat those six year-olds down and asked them why the girls can't watch Star Wars. I would have investigated with these tiny humans the gender biases that make geeky, nerdy girls everywhere feel ashamed. If I had any power over that class I would've stopped the whole situation. I would've done it gladly because somebody needs to tell the girls that it's acceptable to love a beautiful action-packed, romantic space opera and somebody needs to tell the boys that it's fine if they love fairy tales that make life seem easy and fun.

I think it's hard to be a girl that is in love with SciFi and it's hard to be a boy that's excited about medieval princes and princesses. It's so challenging because even in Kindergarten everybody already knows the norms. I thought it started later. I thought you got to just be yourself until you were in elementary school, but I was wrong. Apparently, kindergartners already are acting out gendered activities. Isn't that depressing? No one tells them that Leia gets a gun or that there are some pretty cool princes in fairy tales. I want to be that person someday.

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