For those who read my blog regularly, I’m sorry that I haven’t posted anything in a very long time. Things seem to always get in the way, and with a blog dealing with so many passionate issues, I just can’t write anything if I’m not in the mood to do it. Luckily, after such a lengthy hiatus, I’ve vowed to start posting more often. Don’t forget about this blog! It’s still here!! I promise!!
Moving on to the topic of this (hopefully much anticipated) blog post. I wanted to talk about the importance of education on feminism and other related issues.
It comes as no surprise to many that education within schools seems to be primarily focused on what I consider to be the ‘less important’ aspects of learning – maths, science and English. I highly doubt the amount of people who argue for the ‘importance’ of these subjects has changed over the many, many years of education within this country, and I also highly doubt that these subjects will be considered any less ‘important’ in the coming years. I definitely see the significance of these subjects – science teaches about the natural world, maths about logic and English about everything from how to write properly to how to enjoy novels. However, I do not believe in the amount of importance we place on doing well within these subjects.
My main point is that today we focus too much on subjects such as English and Maths, and perpetuate the idea that they are essential to success and development as people, and then we place almost no significance and importance on subjects that should help us explore ourselves as individuals. By this, I mean subjects such as Life Skills and PHSE. These subjects are the ones where we should be being taught about our sexuality, how to understand and relate to one another, how to determine whether we believe in a particular political or social movement. It is within these subjects, supposedly created to help our development in society, that we should be taught about feminism. It is within these subjects we should examine racism, homophobia, transphobia. It is in these lessons that children should be taught to remember Leelah Alcorn, or admire and respect Laverne Cox, or understand why slut-shaming is detrimental to females within society. Yet this isn’t happening, and nobody seems to mind.
The reason why education on these subjects (feminism, sexuality etc) is so important in school is that since we spend so much of our lives within educational institutions, this is where we do most of our developing into adults, and the time where we most need to be taught about important issues to help us form into well-rounded human beings. It is while we are in school, this clouded, hazy period between childhood and becoming an adult, that we are most susceptible to influence about important societal issues, yet the time where we are offered the least exposure to poignant contemporary social/political/economical issues. We learn more from the things we are exposed to in school than we would on our own. As we spend the most crucial period of our development during the secondary school period, it is only logical that we should be taught about subjects such as sexuality during this time, as it would only serve to help us in developing who we are.
Feminism needs to be talked about to young adults and children from a relatively young age so that they understand the concept of equality between the sexes and the concept of fighting for that equality. If more children were taught what feminism really means, from a young age, and repeatedly exposed to discussions about feminism and what it’s trying to achieve, I believe that feminism would not be subjected to so much negative stigma and controversy. The basic principle behind it is almost irrefutable, why would you not want equality between the sexes? However, due to the fact so many people did not grow up knowing exactly what feminism is really about, and therefore not understanding why it was so important, there is constantly an argument about whether it’s necessary or not. The more we educate children, the more information they have about it and therefore can form an educated opinion about feminism’s relevance and importance. The less you know about something, the less likely you are to care about it. The more we teach others about feminism, the harder it becomes to ignore.
We desperately need to be educated. I, for one, have had to discover feminism on my own. Not once, in my entire school career, have I ever been taught about feminism and what it means. Yes, I was briefly taught about the suffragettes, but the entirety of that lesson revolved around the shocking spectacle of women throwing themselves under horses, and not the principles and beliefs that they did it for. In fact, since I was not so enamored with the concept of feminism as I am now, I don’t think I even paid attention. Only now, since I have thrust myself into the fight, do I engage in proper discussions about it. If I didn’t know what feminism was, and had not exposed myself to it, I could quite happily go on throughout my life never knowing, and never coming into contact with the movement and what it signifies. This blog might not even exist. How terrifying.
I don’t want feminism to become blacklisted. I don’t want people to spit out the word like it’s milk gone sour. I want people to know what it truly means, and understand why we need it. I want everyone, from children in Year 7 to nearly-adults in Year 13 to know exactly what feminism is and to know why people want it. I want them to know what pansexuality is, to know why someone may suffer if they are transgender, and to want to put a stop to people who commit suicide due to harassment from people who refuse to let others be themselves. The only way we can achieve such a ‘revolution’ is if schools are encouraged to teach their children about poignant issues such as these, and that will not happen with the students being willing to hear.
Feminism is important, necessary, essential. Not enough people know it. Not enough people care. But they will, if only we try and educate people about issues they most often know nothing about.