Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Single Minded Schools

Today, in my Women and the Law class, there was a much heated debate about single-sex schools. Are they discriminatory, what are the benefits, the downfalls, the underlying social ramifications?

One of the major arguments was that women who receive a same-sex education gain better self-esteem, confidence, and leadership skills.

There are studies that support this argument, but I want to look at the bigger picture here.

What is it about co-ed schools that cause women to feel so shitty?

Can we truly base educational separation on the fact that men are assholes and women are emotionally weak? This seems like a stereotypical argument.

If women have terrible self-esteem in co-educational systems, why? And how can low self-esteem be fixed inside the system?

I remember when I was in a 5th grade math class; our desks were divided into groups of 4 around the room. In my island there were three boys and me. Two of the boys tried to copy off of my test. I raised my hand in protest. The (female) teacher came over, heard my plea and informed me that I had to be lying since no boy would ever cheat off of a girl since girls’ aren’t good at math. Talk about being beat down by stereotypes. Talk about perpetuation. Talk about confidence killing—and from a woman who got a fucking degree in mathematics. WTF.

I don’t think the issue should be about same-sex schools, I think it should be about making co-education anti-sexist, anti-narrow-minded, anti-stereotypical and anti-degrading for all people. A place where people aren’t told they are better or worse at something because of their natural born placement into the world, but earn their better or worse status by what they do (or don’t do).

But that might just be too obvious of a solution (or too idealistic on my behalf).

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