Our second seminar was all about reflection – reflecting on our thoughts, questions, and opinions from the past few weeks. Carrie asked us all to discuss questions that we have regarding the topics we’ve learnt about so far and the various tasks we have completed. Straight away our group jumped to the last seminar about resource allocation. This had a significant impact on each of us and was a stand out moment which made us really think about equality and how we can be so blind to those who are less fortunate than us. Other groups highlighted that the recent lectures had made them realise the shocking extent of racism which is unconsciously embedded within our society.
There was one key thing missing from the room, making our group completely unbalanced in terms of society. Within this huge group of students, there was not a single male. This is a key example of gender roles within our society, primary teaching is seen to be a female role and ‘un-masculine’. This prompted discussion into why this gender role is so prominent – thinking about the history behind it, as well as the clear stereotypes.
We then moved onto reflect upon our feelings towards homophobia – watching ‘Panti’s Noble Call at the Abbey Theatre’ where Panti states her belief that we are all homophobes.
Carrie asked us to discuss what we thought of that statement and whether or not we agree with it. My group and I were clear on the fact that we agreed with this statement, we agree that we are all slightly homophobic. Although usually unconsciously, we can all be homophobic in our daily lives through simple things that we may not have previously realised as homophobic. We all discussed the fact that we almost automatically recognise homosexual couples in the street, where as we wouldn’t necessarily notice every heterosexual couple we pass. Furthermore, we talked about homophobic statements and phrases that we all unconsciously use. Another example that many of us hadn’t thought of was that people are seen to have to ‘come out’ as being anything other than heterosexual as that as seen as the ‘typical’ behaviour. We are all seen as being heterosexual unless other wise stated, why is this? We did all conclude that progress in society is evident as our generation is overwhelmingly less homophobic than generations before us and we are now recognising the need to recognise homophobia from an early age and open the minds of children.
Our last discussion point revolved around gender stereotypes, particularly revolving around a BBC experiment which was done to show how we treat boys and girls differently. In the experiment, boys were dressed in typically ‘girl’ clothes and vice versa with the girls. Adults were then asked to come in and play with the kids using a selection of various toys on the floor. In every case, the adults automatically picked up the pink fluffy stuffed animals and dolls for the kids in ‘girls’ clothes, while the kids in ‘boys’ clothes were given puzzles, ride on cars and robots. We discussed how girls were being disadvantaged in terms of mental and physical development as the toys they were given weren’t mentally stimulating or challenging. We raised questions as to why toy shops have such clear divides between toys for specific genders? Why has our society become so focused on the idea that pink represents girls, while blue represents boys? (being seen recently through the current trend of gender reveal videos on social media). Why must companies, for example Lego, bring out girl versions?
This seminar really challenged us to think deep into our views and challenge our views and beliefs. We were able to discuss all the topics that we had learnt about in the past few weeks and share our own interpretations of what we’ve learned. Through discussion, we stimulated each other to think of things we hadn’t previously thought about. This was a great change from the usual lectures and we all left feeling like we had gained a lot.