UNLEARNING THE LIE -- SEXISM IN SCHOOL by Barbara Grizzuti Harrison


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This report on the Sex-roles Committee of Woodward School, a ""private, non-sectarian, parent-teacher cooperative,"" turns out to say less about the group's success in finding ways to give children more options -- e.g., chances for girls to do woodworking and boys to use the doll corner -- than about its role as a consciousness-raising force. Having come painfully to the decision that ""femaleness is not to be despised,"" the members weren't always able to deal tolerantly with confused parents like the one who wailed ""but I don't want my son to be a mother."" Later there were also misunderstandings with the Black Studies Committee (some members resented the use of the word oppression in a feminist connection) and bitterness against male parents who tried to ""pontificate and preen"" themselves into leadership roles. Some good things finally did happen in the classroom -- teachers and kids did become more aware of sex stereotyping reinforced by books like Electricity for Young Boys. But Harrison's soul-searching, though somewhat self-righteous, is chiefly intended to encourage women to examine their own definition of ""what it means to be fully human"" as an integral part of re-socializing their own children. Perhaps most useful as a case history of the deep-seated hostilities that the question of sex-roles can arouse.

Pub Date: July 1st, 1973
Publisher: Liveright