Outside The Box Of Stereotypes

Outside The Box Of Stereotypes

Why Is It That The Worst Things We Can Call A Man Are Woman And Gay?
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This semester, I am taking a class at my university for future educators designed to promote diversity and inclusion in the classroom. As future teachers, we want to make sure that all of our future students will feel comfortable and included in our classroom regardless of who they are. I have learned and experienced so much in this course, but right now I want to share about an activity that we did about gender and sexual identities under the guidance of the LGBTQ+ Support Services at the University of Dayton.

We started out by simply filling in the statement “Act like a _____.” For girls, we answered, “Act like a lady.” For boys, we answered, “Act like a man.” This raises the question of why is it not act like a lady AND act like a gentleman? Or act like a man AND act like a woman? While our answers may not seem significant, both of these statements carry their own connotations and images of what that might look like.

After completing the statements, we took this a step further by writing “Act like a _____” and box. The goal was to fill a box with characteristics we associated with “act like a man” and another with “act like a lady” to help us visualize the connotations these statements carry. While our descriptions for “act like a lady” suggested being dainty and emotional, our descriptions for “act like a man” suggested strength and power. We found that these descriptions relied on many stereotypes that would be impossible for a person to embody all of them at once.

So then what were characteristics of those that did not fit into the ‘box?' Our class chose to focus on those who did not fit into the box of “act like a man.” As we listed some of the common insults used for those who did not fit the ‘manly’ stereotype, we found that most were feminine and or related to sexual orientation. These included “too emotional,” “pussy,” “gay,” “queer,” etc. This list shows that we consider the worst things that we can call a man are a woman and not heterosexual. This is seen in the idea of “You throw like a girl.” What kind of message does this convey then to children? This shows that we value heterosexual boys more than girls and those of different sexual orientations.

Sadly, this seems to be deeply ingrained and normal in our culture. So what can we do to be better friends, coworkers, teachers, mentors, parents and family members? We can try to help get rid of the boxes. We can start by not rejecting or making fun of someone for not fitting into the ‘boxes’ or the stereotypes. We can also try to be more inclusive in the way we approach situations. For example, we can make our speech more inclusive by replacing “Hey guys” with “Hey folks” instead so that we are not leaving any gender out. We can also increase awareness to lessen the stigma and weight the words listed as insults above carry. We can speak of women and non-heterosexual individuals more positively.

Sometimes the little things we do will add up and have the ability to change the world, or at the very least hopefully the worlds of our future students. Hopefully one day we will be able to fill in those statements with just “Act like a human.”

Cover Image Credit: https://www.pexels.com/photo/think-outside-of-the-box-6375/

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12 Signs You're From Jackman Maine

You know you're from Jackman just by these few things.
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1. You never lock the doors

The entire parking lot at the store is filled with running cars, all of them with the keys still in the ignition. All are so easy to steal and yet no one touches them.

2. You almost never miss a sports game

Whether you are a sports fan or not, you almost never miss a game. Either you go to watch a friend play or to hang out, there are very few games that you have missed.

3. The cold doesn't bother you

I can't tell you how many times I've gone out in 20 degree weather in a t-shirt to do chores, or have shoveled off the deck in bare feet. Almost rarely the cold seems to be a bother.

4. You own either a snowmobile or ATV

Because what else is there to do in town? Seriously?

5. You've walked down the street all night

And you know that after 5, the road is silent. Unless it's on the weekends when everyone from Quebec is driving through.

6. You go to Old Mill and not the Town Park

Let the tourists go to the park and enjoy it, we'll just enjoy our sandy little b each.

7. You LOVE going to Slidedown

If you don't love the falls, are you even from around here? How can you not love going to Slidedown?

8. The tourists are hilarious

Now we won't say that to any of them because Jackman is a tourist town and needs to have the tourism, but some of the things that people say or do are laugh worthy.

9. Everyone has seen a moose in their backyard

And I mean everyone. I've seen one walk around in the Post Office parking lot, if they're wandering around there, they will be everywhere.

10. Hunting is a way of life

So is fishing. I don't think I know anyone in town who doesn't hunt or fish.

11. Everyone is shocked at your graduating class number

Every time I tell people I graduated in a class of 11, people stare at me like I just grew horns out of my head.

12. You know everyone

Self-explanatory.

Cover Image Credit: Bill Jarvis

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If You Think Belly Dancing Is Sexual, You're Missing The Whole Point

Believe it or not, exposed stomachs aren't inherently sexual.

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What we know as belly dancing here in America started in the middle east as a way for mothers to teach their daughters how to isolate certain muscles that they would use in childbirth, thus making the process an easier one when it was their time to go through it.

This cultural dance began with mothers teaching daughters behind closed doors where men weren't allowed to watch. It's possible that this fact helped cause some of the negative stigmas behind it by people who do not know its true origin.

Long story short (because I'm not looking to place false facts in this article), belly dancing moved over to America after a while and it wasn't necessarily accepted at first. Today, there is a multitude of belly dancing styles, including belly dance fusion which combines more traditional dancing with modern takes on it by blending multiple cultures or dancing styles.

You're probably wondering why a white girl such as myself is trying to educate you on something that clearly isn't a part of my own culture. Well, for those of you who don't know (or who couldn't recognize me from the cover photo), I belly dance at my university as part of an extracurricular club.

This club is easily one that I am most passionate about. I joined the club in my first semester as a freshman and have stuck with it for the past six semesters, and plan to stick with it for my last two. I came into the club with little previous dance experience and no previous belly dance experience, much like almost everyone else I've seen come and go.

I've heard of professors at my school who said they wouldn't go to our shows because it "made him uncomfortable." Why? Because our stomachs are out and we're moving our hips? That doesn't make our dancing inherently sexual.

We have a rule within our club that if any of us go out to parties, we cannot use belly dancing moves to try to woo guys or girls. Because guess what? That's not the point of belly dancing.

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