Misogyny at Cleveland? The most socially developed and politically forward PPS high school? Yes. In recent months, five unnamed, female teachers under the age of 40 have come forward toward administration regarding blatant and micro aggressive misogyny in their classrooms.
Misogyny is easily defined as the dislike of, contempt for, or ingrained prejudice against women. This is a discriminatory ideal, and a belief to be buried, not brought to school.
Dr. Adam Driscoll of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and Dr. Andrea Hunt of the University of North Alabama recently wrote, “What’s in a Name: Exposing Gender Bias in Student Ratings of Teaching,” after conducting a study of this issue. Forty-three college students were divided into four online discussion based classes, two taught by men, and two by women. Both men and women professors then switched names, giving the men “feminine” names and women “masculine” names. At the end of the term, students were asked to rate their teachers in 12 categories. Both courses, those taught by men and those taught by women were identical; even essays were graded in the same amount of time. However, students who believed they had a male teacher rated higher than those that believed they were taught by a female. This study takes away all the variables of a classroom dynamic, and leaves students with a single name that still incites gender biases.
“As a young female teacher, I think that my competence and intelligence is questioned a lot more than a male teacher of the same age and experience,” English teacher Maggie Appel explained. She believes that her authority must be proved by her and granted by her students, while male teachers receive class authority undoubtedly. An example, as small as it may be, is choices of literature. Ms. Appel described a scenario in which a male student questioned her choice of literature, and wondered if the novel was in accordance to his reading level. However, when this was discussed with a male teacher, they had never experienced this scenario, as students tend to not question male authority.
From male student to female student, boundaries are continually broken. The word “b****” is thrown around as if its deeper meaning does not exist. Boys randomly touch other girl students, grab them, sit on their desks, without consent.
As usual, in such a diverse school system, the solution to this issue is education. But whose job is it to educate? Women shouldn’t have to educate men on how to treat them with respect; however, it might be necessary in order to create a safer, more accepting environment for female students and teachers.
We’re in the 21st century now, women are half of the world’s population, half of the work force, and major contributors to society, so where does this objectification and misogyny stem from? How many centuries must it take before women are all seen as role models and given equal respect as men, out in their communities, and inside their workplaces? Cleveland high school teachers shouldn’t experience these injustices. It is time for male education and female prevention tactics to further our school community and release understanding and respecting students into college and the work force.