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Gender and Sexualities in Education

A Reader


Edited By Elizabeth J. Meyer and Dennis Carlson

This volume is about the education of gender and sexualities, which is to say it explores how gender and sexuality identities and differences get constructed through the process of education and «schooling». Wittingly or not, educational institutions and educators play an important role in «normalizing» gender and sexuality differences by disciplining, regulating, and producing differences in ways that are «intelligible» within the dominant or hegemonic culture. To make gender and sexuality identities and differences intelligible through education is to understand them through the logic of separable binary oppositions (man-woman, straight-gay), and to valorize and privilege one normalized identity within each binary (man, straight) and simultaneously stigmatize and marginalize the «other» identity (woman, gay). Educational institutions have been set up to normalize the construction of gender and sexual identities in these ways, and this is both the overt and the «hidden» curriculum of schooling. At the same time, the «postmodern» times in which we live are characterized by a proliferating of differences so that the binary oppositional borders that have been maintained and policed through schooling, and that are central to maintaining highly inequitable power relations and rigid gender roles, are being challenged, resisted, and in other ways profoundly destabilized by young people today.
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11. Social Media Go Gaga: Mother’s Little Helper for Feeding Her Little Monsters



Chapter 11

Social Media Go Gaga

Mother’s Little Helper for Feeding Her Little Monsters

Pamela K. Smith

Students entering schools in the early 21st century come in with much more than just books in their backpacks. They bring cell phones from which they text, check e-mail, search for information on the World Wide Web, take photographs and videos of one another, listen to music, play games, and log into their social-media sites for their favorite friends and contacts. They also bring tablets of various types, and while educators may hope that they open them to view their assigned text material or to do research, they can also be used for a multitude of other purposes, including all of those previously mentioned. Essentially, in this era, technology has expanded the realm of the classroom far beyond the confines of the walls of schools, and opened what is taught, communicated, and learned to far larger realms.

Through Facebook, Twitter, and other social-media sites, students are exposed to dominant notions, ideas, and opinions of what is good, what should be believed, and what is to be done. They also have possibilities for seeing opportunities for resistance to that which has been supported as the dominant ideology of truth throughout their lives. Educators need to see how students make sense of the world around them, and engaging the world of social media is a significant way in which to learn how their ideas of...

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