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Monday, February 20, 2006

GENDER BIAS

When discussing kinds of jobs with my students some days ago, a question reminded me that bias gender is still very strong in the mind of youngsters of Indonesia, in this twenty first century, while in Princess Diary written by Meg Cabot, or Bluejean, a book full of articles written by female teenagers from other countries, I found out that feminism ideology (read  equality between men and women in all facets of life) is very familiar to teenagers in other countries, especially in America.The question is “Which job is done better by men than women, and vice versa?”My students’ answer was unfortunately still following the stereotyping of male and female. For example, my students came up with an idea that men will make a better chef than women. Their reasons varied, from “men are stronger than women so that it is okay for them to carry big pans.”, “men are more creative than women. As a chef, he/she must be creative to decorate food before serving it to the guests/diners.” “No female chef is famous, mostly men.”In another side, women will be better nurses coz women are more patient to take care of patients rather than men; women will be better fight attendant than men with the same reason; women will be better secretaries to “comfort” and “amuse” the boss, with the assumption that the boss here is a man.My being feminist really encouraged me to talk a lot about that unfair stereotyping. How much I wanted to lecture my students that those stereotyping things were just constructed by society, and not created by God. I didn’t have much time though to do that. I realize that I don’t have much time coz I have to catch up with the material provided, many lessons to cover, to follow the curriculum made by my workplace while I must not forget that my role is not to teach feminism but only to teach English as a foreign language.How much I detested to see my female students’ facial expression when hearing the boys said, “Men are created to be superior, Ma’am.” Or “Men are created to be stronger than women.” When I asked my male students, “What is the definition of being strong here? Being able to Lift big pans? How about if we change the definition of ‘strong’? Why did God decide to create women to be pregnant and deliver the baby and everybody must know that it needs a lot of energy to do that? Why not men who claim themselves as stronger?”When saying that, I saw my male students’ expression annoyed while my female students excited. I went on saying, “Have you ever heard that there are more women than men in this world? Do you know that it happens coz women are stronger to survive in this harsh world rather than men?”When my students said that men make a better pilot rather than women, they gave reason, “If women become pilot, they will go often, to fly planes. They will not be a good mother, then, coz they often leave their family.” It made me argue, “Well, if men become pilot, they will go often too, to leave their family. It means that they will not be a good father, right, coz leaving the family, and don’t spend much time with the children?”My students, especially the males ones, got numb, looked at me as if looking at a weird creature, while the female ones smiled wildly, and some nodded their head.Again, coz I didn’t have much time to elaborate more about this gender topic, I didn’t talk a lot. If I went on saying, I am afraid that my students wouldn’t have enough time to practice their speaking or writing English. I would be the sole speaker. Who the hell needs to practice, the students or the teacher? LOL.

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