ISACS Annual Gender and Sexuality Diversity


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Gone are days when boys are made of "snips and snails and puppy dog tails" and girls are made of "sugar and spice and everything nice"... or are they? Children are barraged with messages about gender and heterosexual norms everywhere they go - their homes, their schools, the media, and more. Do you know what hidden lessons they are learning? How do gender and sexuality affect everything from boys struggling in school to girls dropping out of the STEM pipeline, from sexual harassment to anti-gay bullying, from eating disorders to plastic surgery? How do parents, guardians, teachers, and schools provide safe environments for positive self esteem, healthy identity development, and acceptance of differences?

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  • Introduction -
    Who Am I?
    Why This Workshop?
    Goals and Outcomes?
  • 75 minute workshop
  • Keep in Mind - material speaks in generalities and norms. Girls and boys can fall outside of the information given, and they are completely normal. Making blanket assumptions are dangerous, and norms do not define normal or good. Gender norms can easily become Sexism. Adolescent norms can easily become adultism.
    Gender and sexuality can be discussed in lots of ways – gender binary and how gender bias affects both sides, gender identity and nonconformity, sexual orientation and heteronormativity. This workshop takes a look at the strength, persistence, and problem with the binary. As much as cisgendered and heterosexual youth suffer in this paradigm, it is important to acknowledge how much more transgendered and nonheterosexual youth suffer in this paradigm.
  • John Medina - Talaris Institute
    Watching boys and girls play. Boys play together through competition (Oh yeah? I bet I can toss the ball higher than you!) Girls play collaboratively (Can you toss the ball as high as me? Let’s try a little higher). Mix boys and girls (G-Wanna toss the ball? B-I bet I can toss the ball higher than you! G-You must not like me… B-What happened?)
    Rachel Simmons - Odd Girl Out
    Response to danger. Boys choose “fight or flight.” Girls choose “tend and befriend.” Males see aggression as a way to control their world, females see aggression as an end to relationships.
    Mary Pipher - Reviving Ophelia
    Boys see their failure in terms of external factors and see their success in terms of their ability. Girls see their success in terms of luck and hard work and see their failure in terms of lack of ability.
    Power Dead Even - women/girls will do anything to bring down another woman/girl to their level
  • Cannot attribute all to gender differences. Gender bias plays a huge role. We socialize kids into these behaviors. What happens when boys display behavior on left? “Boys will be boys…” What happens when girls display behavior on right? “Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice!” What happens when gender behaviors don’t match gender expectations? Boys are pushed into sports, fights, getting dirty, building things, scientific investigation by adults and pushed down by peers with words like “Sissy, girl, pussy, fag.” Girls are told to play nice, share, be ladylike, punished harsher for fighting, complimented on looks by adults and put down by peers with words like “butch, jock, bitch, dyke.” Boys punished much more in this paradigm. Girls enjoy more acceptance, even appreciation, in some circles when they show traits more along the masculine front.
    Rachel Simmons - Odd Girl Out
    Ideal girl according to girls = very thin, pretty, blonde, fake, stupid, tall, blue eyes, big boobs, fit, expensive clothes, un-proportional, naked, trendy, popular, boyfriends, smiling, happy, helpless, talking on the phone, superficial conflicts, looks older, girlie, dependent, impractical clothes, manipulative, sex = power, rich, good teeth/clear skin, smart, perfect, romantically attached with someone with status.
    Anti-girl according to girls = mean, ugly, excessively cheerful, athletic, brainy, opinionated, pushy, dark features, not skinny, imperfections, promiscuous, professional, insecure, dorky, depressed/unhappy, masculine, serious, strong, independent, gay/lesbian, artsy, PMSish, unrestrained, egocentric, not social, hard to get along with, bookish.
  • 1. Stereotype - A preconceived or oversimplified generalization about an entire group of people without regard for their individual differences. While often negative, stereotypes may also be complimentary. Even positive stereotypes can have a negative impact however, simply because they are broad generalizations. The stereotypes we hold form the basis of our prejudices.
    2. Prejudice - A conscious or unconscious negative belief about a whole group of people and its individual members. When the person holding the prejudice also has and uses the power to deny opportunities, resources or access to a person because of their group membership, there is discrimination.
    3. Discrimination - Prejudice plus the power. Discrimination can take many forms, including racism, sexism, heterosexism, ableism, ageism, etc. Many acts of discrimination build up over time, perpetuated against one relatively less powerful social group by a more powerful social group, lead to a group of people being in a state of oppression.
    4. Oppression - The systematic subjugation of a group of people by another group of people with access to social power, the result of which benefits one group over the other and is maintained by social beliefs and practices. Because oppression is institutionalized in our society, target group members often believe the messages and internalize the oppression.
    5. Internalized Oppression - The "buying into" the elements of oppression by the target group.
    When target group members believe the stereotypes they are taught about themselves, they tend to act them out and thus perpetuate the stereotypes which reinforces the prejudice and keeps the cycle going.
  • Alternative aggression – relational aggression, indirect aggression, social aggression. Friends and frienemies. Frienemy relationships and abusive relationships.
  • Women make 78 cents to a man’s dollar.
    The wage gap has been closing at a rate of less than half a penny a year.
    If equal pay for women happened right now, across the board, women would gain $319 billion in 2008 dollars.
    Unequal pay kicks in shortly after college graduation, when women and men should, absent discrimination, be on a level playing field.
    Women still are segregated into "pink-collar" jobs that are lower skill and lower pay. For example, women make up 87% of child care workers and 86% of the health aides.
    Women make up 51% of the population.
    Women comprise 17% of Congress
    The 2010 mid-term election was the first time women have not made gains in Congress since 1979.
    34 women have ever served as governors (compared to 2319 men).
    67 other countries have had female presidents and prime ministers.
    The U.S. is 90th in the world in terms of women in national legislatures (below Cuba, China, Iraq and Afghanistan).
  • 53% of 13 year old girls are unhappy with their bodies.
    That number increases to 78% by age 17.
    65% of women and girls have an eating disorder.
    U.S. women spend $12,000 and $15,000 a year on beauty products and salon services.
    The number of cosmetic surgical procedures performed on youth under age 19 more than tripled from 1997 to 2007.
    The average facelift costs $11, 429 (enough to pay for 5 years at community college and 2 years at a state university).
  • Separation between head and heart. Conflicts must be dealt with physically. If you do not/cannot, you are open to targeting.
  • Top down and enforcement style leadership. Competition driven in a world that demands more collaboration. Feel like need to make more money. Feel obligation to be the breadwinner. Have a harder time with emotional aspects of parenting. Have a harder time being equal partners in housework.
  • I was told I am smarter, faster, stronger, the player, the breadwinner, etc. but it’s not panning out that way – what’s wrong with me? Depression and suicide. Sexual harassment and rape.
  • U.S. advertisers spent $235.6 billion in 2009 (80% of countries in the world have GDPs less than this).
  • Final Tidbits:
    -teach first and refer to later. We have a tendency to see it happen & react with education.
    -there are times and places for interventions. What is important is that SOMETHING is done in the moment, and that there is ALWAYS follow-up
    -practice, practice, practice. The more clever, poignant, and effective language comes out on the third try :-)
    -Did you know that statistically, adults are more likely to comment on girls' looks and boys' skills?
    -Why do boys experience a big dip in self esteem as they enter elementary school and girls experience it as they enter middle school?
    -Why is bullying still most severe for boys when they are or are assumed to be gay?
    -How can we fully support our children no matter where they lie in the gender spectrum while protecting them from the pressures and bullying they face from peers should they not conform to gender norms?
    -Where is the balance between religious inclusivity and gender and sexuality inclusivity?
    -What if you believe in the "rightness" of certain gender and heterosexual norms?
  • ISACS Annual Gender and Sexuality Diversity

    1. 1. What Boys and Girls Are Made of: Supporting Healthy Gender and Sexual Identities of Children ISACS Annual Conference Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee Seattle Girls’ School Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
    2. 2. About Seattle Girls’ School Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
    3. 3. Agenda • Gender Differences • Gender Bias • Gender Bias and Girls • Gender Bias and Boys • Gender and Sexuality Paradigm • What Can We Do? • Discussions • Resources Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
    4. 4. Disclaimers and Other Food for Thought Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
    5. 5. Gender Differences Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
    6. 6. Gender Bias Brash Troublemaker Strong Competitive Physical Silent Clever Mistake-Prone Belligerent Intuitive Well-Behaved Delicate Cooperative Emotional Verbal Pretty Perfect Nice Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
    7. 7. Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
    8. 8. Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
    9. 9. Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
    10. 10. Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
    11. 11. Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
    12. 12. Girls and Gender Bias Where Does it Lead? Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
    13. 13. The “Good Girl” in Conflict Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
    14. 14. The “Good Girl” in the Workplace and Home Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
    15. 15. Beauty The “Pretty Girl” on Beauty Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
    16. 16. Boys and Gender Bias Where Does it Lead? Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
    17. 17. The “Tough Guy” in Conflict Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
    18. 18. The “Tough Guy” in the Workplace and the Home Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
    19. 19. Psychic Dissonance, Health, and Violence Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
    20. 20. Gender and Sexuality Paradigm Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
    21. 21. Process Break In what ways do you see your students: -internalizing and conforming to gender norms and stereotypes -feeling pressured to conform to gender stereotypes -being little affected by gender stereotypes -actively non-conforming to gender stereotypes What are the positives and negatives of these various states, as far as you can tell? What are the specific questions or concerns that come up for how to support children? Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
    22. 22. What Can We Do? Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
    23. 23. What Can We Do for Girls? • Teach the difference between self-sacrificing and good. • Talk about or compliment something besides her looks. • Value the quality of her relationships, not the quantity. • Give her access to diverse women mentors. • Role-Play difficult conversations with her. Rosetta Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee Eun Ryong Lee (
    24. 24. What Can We Do for Boys? • Teach the difference between strong and tough. • Talk about feelings and relationships. • Make it okay to be vulnerable. • Give him access to diverse male mentors. • Help them understand societal homophobia. Rosetta Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee Eun Ryong Lee (
    25. 25. What Can We Do for All? •Help them develop strong interaction and social skills. • Discuss nontraditional family and relationship models. • Show them diverse role models of all GSD identities. •Teach about gender and sexuality diversity. •Give them healthy outlets for their feelings. •Respect and nurture their true selves. •Teach “norm”, “normal”, and “good”. •Share your stories. •Model the way. Rosetta Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee Eun Ryong Lee (
    26. 26. Teach Media Literacy • Choose media FOR intentionally for the classroom. • Engage in media WITH youth. • Help youth understand the hidden messages of media. • Help youth think about how they want to internalize or reject these messages. Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee ( Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee
    27. 27. Younger Children • • • • • • Exposure Base Allowing Questions Gentle Guidance Modeling Comfort With Discussions Expanding Definition of What’s Possible Fairness, Kindness, and Rightness Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
    28. 28. Older Children • • • • • • • Experiential And Discovery Base Facilitating Questions and Discussions Media Literacy Patterns and Systems Values and Actions Autonomy and Choice Justice and Activism Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
    29. 29. Ads/ Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
    30. 30. Undoing Gender and Sexuality Bias Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
    31. 31. Questions and Comments Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
    32. 32. Presenter Information Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee 6th Faculty and Professional Outreach Seattle Girls’ School 2706 S Jackson Street Seattle WA 98144 (206) 805-6562 Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
    33. 33. Resources • Joshua M. Aronson, Ph.D., “Improving Achievement & Narrowing the Gap,” Learning and the Brain Conference, Cambridge, MA, November 2003 • Allan G. Johnson, Privilege, Power, and Difference. • Miss Representation, documentary film on media and women • United Nations Population Fund Statistics on Gender Equality as of 2005 _gender.htm • Learning to be critically literate of mass media • Media Guide for Parents and Educators Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
    34. 34. Gender Specific Resources • Jennifer Bryan, various trainings and publications on gender and sexuality diversity, From the Dress Up Corner to the Senior Prom • JoAnn Deak, Ph.D., Girls Will Be Girls: Raising Confident and Courageous Daughters, How Girls Thrive • Jackson Katz, Tough Guise, Wrestling with Manhood, The Macho Paradox • John Medina, Talaris Research Institute, various studies on early gender differences in competition and play • Mary Pipher, Ph.D., Reviving Ophelia: Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls • Rachel Simmons, Odd Girl Out, Odd Girl Speaks Out, Curse of the Good Girl • Michael Thompson, Raising Cain, Speaking of Boys, It’s a Boy! Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (