A “Women Studies” class being offered to middle school students at the K-9 Eleanor Hall School in Clyde, Alberta, has solicited the usual outrage from political correct politicians and the academic gender police.
The class itself along with its name may be ill-advised, as according to the course syllabus it offers instruction to girls on how to choose flattering hairstyles and clothing, shop online and field trips to learn nail care expertise, meal planning and to “review dinner party etiquette and polite conversation.”
However, considering the class is optional, it hardly warrants the Minister of Education David Eggen and University of Alberta Professor Cristina Stasia going into gender politics emergency mode and getting involved.
And as girls do style their hair, paint their nails and shop for clothes, as does an overwhelming portion of the adult population, if girls wish to learn to do these things proficiently, while many may claim it is not a productive use of their time, being allowed to make choices is important.
Young girls who chose to attend “Women Studies” classes are hardly so impressionable as to have their idea of themselves as women or their perception of women in general fundamentally altered.
Neither are they likely to head down a path to blissfully embracing a dreaded female stereotype that now survives mostly in archaic, chauvinistic conclaves and gender political, academic diatribes.
This meddling in aptitude and orientation is a form of militant social engineering.
To avoid stereotyping is constructive but the tendency to pressure young people, especially young girls into pursuing non-traditional careers is unconstructive.
It is the opposite side of the proverbial coin, somewhat like reverse discrimination.
There is too much “encouragment” given to young people in helping them choose their careers and their role in life, rather than inspiring faith in their own ability to recognize their own sense of vocation and inherent aptitude.
It should be enough to ensure that boys and girls grow up having equal expectations and that they are offered the same educational opportunities to realize those expectations.
Having a 16 year old girl in the home, many young women come by the house, as do a number of young men the same age and it is clearly apparent in terms of career aspirations that gender is a non-issue.
This generation of young women will study hairdressing and cosmetology if they so wish, or they will elect to train as a heavy-duty mechanic, a physicist or a schoolteacher, but when making those choices they won’t be brow beaten or bullied by either feminism or chauvinism.
The feminist movement played a huge part in earning the autonomy that the upcoming generation of girls and young women possess, so those who were instrumental in effecting those changes should now learn to stand back and respect young girls’ autonomy.
Today, if a young woman decides to learn hairdressing or to cook it is an autonomous choice and older women should not keep insisting it is a role that is thrust upon her.
The generation coming up evaluate themselves and others on merit regardless of gender. It is import to admit that society and social movements evolve and to accept that certain perspectives of early feminism are now almost as dated as the stereotypical 1950’s American housewife.