I have been inspired this week to write about gender equality. A number of wonderful people have written blogs or given speeches in support of gender equality. I have decided to “man up”, stop “crying like a girl” and join the cause. After all, as Emma Watson said in her inspiring speech to the UN
“If not me, who? If not now, when?”
So why me? And why now?
I see boys singing and loving it. I see 4 year old girls laughing at them because boys shouldn’t sing.
I see girls playing football on the school team. I see schools telling those girls they can’t play for the team this week because a tournament is boys only.
I see sexist books that try to tell us how to raise boys or raise girls, that contain opinions debunked by modern neuroscience and psychology (Read Cordelia Fine instead!)
I see toy shops and book publishers colour coding toys. Putting arts and crafts in the pink section and science and construction in the blue section. Sorry girls, no science for you. And who’s ever heard of a male artist? Ermm…
Even books about inspiring women annoy me. Why can’t we show that strong women are normal and widespread, not special and super-strong.
I could go on and on and on!
So what’s this got to do with my teaching? What’s it got to do with music?
Every day, every member of our society has a responsibility to educate our boys and girls. We all must try and eliminate gender inequality. It’s all about the small stuff.
It’s the assumption that a girl will prefer a beautiful romantic expressive song or piece over a loud and driven boogie woogie. It’s the assumption that a boy who may be losing interest in their music lessons needs a fun, fast student saver that’s “good for boys” and won’t respond to something soft and expressive.
It’s realising that when you illustrate a music book, or any book, with pictures of girls having picnics or boys playing football that will have an impact on your students. They will notice, they will care and it will affect which music they think they are supposed to like. It will also affect their view of those activities.
Diane Hidy has written a brilliant blog about cover art, titles and lyrics in piano books. http://dianehidy.com/teaching-tips/2014/9/18music-has-no-gender
Inspired by the passionately written blog by Carly McDonald about “music for boys” http://creativepianoprofessional.com/2014/09/10/7-reasons-why-there-is-no-such-thing-as-music-for-boys/
Toys are for everyone. Books are for everyone. Colours are for everyone. Feelings and emotions are for everyone. Strengths and weaknesses are for everyone. Jobs are for everyone. Love is for everyone. Courage is for everyone. Fear is for everyone.
Music is for everyone.
So this is me, standing up right now in support of Emma, Diane and Carly. In support of any man or woman who also feels they want to improve gender equality. Let’s do this!