Sunday, January 31, 2010

Assumptions Regarding Educational Interests

During my pursuit of an education minor at Rhodes I have experienced an intersection between Frye’s Oppression and Bartky’s Psychological Oppression. Apparently, when I decided to pursue an education minor, my education chair advisor and professors automatically assumed that I would be leaning towards becoming a professor. While I do not rule this option out, it was definitely not my first option, as I would prefer to teach middle school if I chose teaching as a profession. However this assumption represents some of the aspects of oppression that Frye and Bartky note. First would be stereotyping, as it is uncommon for males to pursue teaching in the elementary and middle school levels (though this is currently changing), as the assumption is that it is a “woman’s job,” because some would (unrightfully) assume that a woman role to take care of children. It seems that my professors had the same stereotype in mind, as they did not fathom I would prefer teacher children of a younger age than college or high school. While this hardly as oppressive as the kinds of psychological oppression that women experience everyday, it is an interesting oddity, and reinforces Frye’s notions of oppression. She asserts that women are oppressed as women by men, and it is possible that my choice is seen as radical because men’s collective wills have forced the job of school teacher (unless it is a coach, I assume, which again, is another stereotype). That is why this is really not a strict form of oppression; because other men have regulated this notion of teaching that make this such an oddity.

Current literature in the education and ethical field do not aid the stereotypes, as one of the books that I have encountered multiple times throughout my college career might be guilty of such reinforcement: Nel Noddings’ Caring. I tend to agree with her notions of ethical relationships as mirroring a mother’s relationship to her child, although it does not weaken the stereotype that women should only teacher smaller children due to their caring nature. Her insistence on using the feminine as the caring and the cared-for as the masculine (which has nothing to do with gender, I know) only reassert why men would probably keep holding to the notion that women should continue to only elementary aged children and not pursue a doctorate to be a professor.

Once again, this is hardly oppressive, just an observation I have witnessed. It is in no way the equivalent of the inhumane psychological oppression that women have to face everyday

1 comment:

  1. I do agree with you that what you experienced is a form of stereotyping and not of oppression. What i wonder is if more men experienced what you experienced on some level, would they have some of the same realizations that you had? Would they acknowledge the flaw in the system that men long ago established ant that most men today perpetuate?


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