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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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30. Challenging Gendered Practices Through Drama



Chapter 30

Challenging Gendered Practices Through Drama

Jack Migdalek

This chapter interrogates how we might adopt and inspire a more gender-equitable consciousness in our practices as educators. Referring to empirical ethnographic fieldwork, this chapter theorizes the potential of the drama workshop as a practical professional-development tool through which to raise awareness of, deconstruct, and disrupt dominant, patriarchal, gender-oppressive, and inequitable ideologies and norms that manifest in educators’ classrooms and other practices, particularly in regard to the embodiment of femininity and masculinity.

In the context of this chapter, where I refer to gender, I refer to socially constructed aspects of femininity and masculinity by which an action is performed, and not to biological sex. While gender categories of masculine and feminine may be dependent on culture, setting, and time, and as such are difficult to define (Butler, 2004), I feel compelled to use these terms in order to draw attention to predominantly unproblematized social tendencies to align masculinities to bodies that are recognized as being male and femininities to bodies that are recognized as being female (Francis, 2010).

My definitions of the descriptors for the contexts of this chapter are as follows:

Feminine: gentle, graceful, delicate, soft, pliant.

Masculine: strong, forceful, powerful, unyielding.

It is problematic to assume that males or females think, learn, and/or perform in masculine or feminine ways simply as a result of being male or female (see Lingard, Martino, & Mills,...

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