Who’s Your Daddy?

Read it. From Rethinking Schools–a terrific progressive publication about schools and education and teaching and learning. The New Misogyny: What it means for teachers and classrooms

This is going to seem pretty far out there to some folks, but I do believe that the editors of Rethinking Schools have come up with some valid and interesting insights into some of the motivations involved in attacks on teachers, schools, and public education.

I was born in 1950, and grew up within the radicalism of the 60’s and early 70’s. I had no trouble stepping into the role of feminist or standing up for women’s rights. The fact that I attended two separate womens’ colleges did not hurt.

As a 3rd and 4th grade teacher, it did not take me long to figure out that many elementary schools were organized around the idea that the principal was the Daddy and the teachers–almost all women–were the children in this little family. Everything was fine unless or until the teacher/children stepped out of line, then Daddy had to reprimand them and put them back in their place. Father knows best. If the principal was female, it could still work–substitute a stern and bossy mother/father figure. Who are you to question my authority? Who’s your Daddy?

I started sharing this analogy with collegaues and they understood it right away. Lots of head nodding and story-telling. It resonates even today. I do believe that middle schools and high schools see a bit less of this management model–I would guess that a greater proportion of men might seem intimidating to the powers that be. But, it does happen.

So, take a look at this editorial and give it a long, hard think. I think that they may be on to something here. Obviously, this kind of war on women goes well beyond the Daddy in charge arrangemnt described above. Misogyny is ugly. Combined with other nasty -isms, it can be downright toxic and dangerous.

Recognition of the “new misogyny” should be a wake-up call. What to do about it is up to us.

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