Elective Unit Sharing Task 1 Reading 1 of 2

Understanding Patriarchy by Bell Hooks (Gloria Jean Watkins)

This is Melissa Genc’s readings for Inclusive Teaching & Learnings.

1. What have you learnt from the text? and what provocation(s) do you have, if any? 

I have learnt that the ability to inflict a set of rules without rationale is still possible today! (What!) This article brings back memories of a friend’s mother-in-law who uses demands that my friend uses her hand as a spittoon. This is widespread, especially, in my Asian heritage background context.

The text focuses on how bad the situation is. I was wondering if a suggestion of how to change that would be better. (And there is!) and this is mentioned briefly: “Dismantling and changing patriarchal culture is work that men and women must do together.”

It is interesting to note that the writer’s close bond (a man) has turned from opposing patriarchy to accepting and affirming such behaviour in his workplace and rationalised by his desire to get ahead. I guess this issue has to be addressed from a societal level and accepting that we all have to change.

2. How do you avoid discrimination on gender within your own teaching practice?

In the teaching context, it would be very biased to use “patriarchy” rules to teach. This would be even more inappropriate in student’s assessments.  I mean, what benefit would it have for a tutor to behave in this manner? Not only this will cause a division in the student and the tutor, it will also create unnecessary tension.

To avoid this type of gender discrimination, I will be talking and discussing such social issues. I once showed a video by Nike and in it features the Hijab. I wanted to show the material of the hijab and the design of this headscarf, which is heavily influenced by the cultural background behind the users whom are very restricted in their expressions and daily lives. The Nike designers are predominantly western-based and through a single material: polyester, the women in these countries can now have the ability to do sports “properly”.

I also talked about Sarah Attar who made Olympic history for Saudi Arabia when she took part in the London 2012 Olympics. She was Saudi-born and had to comply to Islamic laws so she ran in a hijab for the 800m race. Click to see her here.

Through examples like these, I hope to ensure that discussions and lectures are driven to enrich the student’s sensitivity in their cultural environments and allow the individual to flourish according to their strengths.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.