Recently, my mom and I have been cleaning out our storage rooms. In this daunting task, we’ve discovered a lot of trash and a lot of treasure. Some of the treasure consists of my old books and magazines from when I was a child. I was an avid reader, devouring any information placed in front of me, so my mom got me a subscription to a magazine called “Kids Discover.” I came across several of these issues while cleaning. One of them happened to be titled, “Suffragists”and it is all about women’s rights. It’s perfect timing that I happened across it as we are beginning this course in Feminist theory.
I wanted to share a few facts that were included within the magazine. When the constitution was written, each state was allowed to decide who could vote. Of the original 13 states, only four percent of the population could vote. The magazine includes a detailed account of the struggle women faced on the road to voting rights along with profiles of women who helped lead this movement including Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Julia Ward Howe, and Lucy Stone. In the beginning, women who spoke out for their rights were often punished. They were “attacked by community and religious leaders and sometimes by the men and women in their own families” (5). Even with the knowledge of this, brave women accepted the risk and fought for equality. Stanton proposed 12 resolutions for women’s rights and advocated heavily for them. She and Susan B. Anthony, alongside Frederick Douglass worked together to promote suffrage for women and African Americans (5). Lucy Stone and Julia Ward Howe helped to form the American Woman Suffrage Assosiation (AWSA). The magazine also includes an illustrated timeline of developments in women’s rights from 1648 through 1920. The spirit of feminism started long ago. The fight for equal rights has been going on for so long that I’m truly astounded that people still must fight for basic human rights.
My main point in this post is that this magazine is entirely centered on teaching children. It presents facts in an interesting and visual manner. I think this is a great way to teach children that all people are equal. By presenting history in this type of format, we can teach children about feminism, activism, and courage in a way that engages them. As I noted in my last post, how a child is raised impacts their beliefs and how they behave toward others. As a society, we want to teach our children to be well-informed, kind, and aware. I really like the idea of teaching these meaningful lessons to children. We also want to teach children that they have a choice in what they believe. This is such an important task, but how does one go about achieving something so complex?
One way is interactive and visual teaching tools such as this magazine. This material peaks the students’ interest, engages them in the learning process, and contains easily understandable and memorable material. As for other ideas, I found myself drawing a blank. So I started doing a bit of research into the subject matter and came across an interesting article titled, “Working Perspectives within Feminism and Early Childhood Education.” In the article, the authors detail their own experiences teaching and how to incorporate positive feminist ideas into the classroom. Below is the citation for the article. (Please disregard the issue with the format. I can’t seem to figure out how to do a hanging indent on this website). I encourage you all to read it if you have the chance! It may be useful in the future for this course and classroom settings.
De Lair, Heather Anne, and Eric Erwin. “Working perspectives within feminism and early childhood education.” Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood 1.2 (2000): 153-170.
To conclude this week’s discussion, I’d like to remind everyone that children are easily impacted by the things we teach them. It shapes who they are, so why don’t we teach them something positive?