How many people still give serious thought to actually incorporating feminism into the mainstream academic curriculum? The majority of people continue to think, speak, act as they are trained to and follow the status quo.
However, if academic students are presented with unconventional ideas, they realize that, in history, people with different perspectives have caused much unrest, and from that very unrest, progress takes birth. This revolution of progress allows growing women to believe that being strong and confident is nothing to be ashamed of and educates young men that strong and confident women are to be respected and appreciated, not forced to become a marionette they can control.
Teaching feminism in classrooms can give rise to a new mode of thinking and behaviour. No human being will accept sexual harassment as a normal fact of life. Young girls will stop defining themselves according to male desire. Even self-proclaimed ‘informed’ girls fear that if they don’t let boys treat them in a ‘favourable’ way, boys will not like them. A normal girl’s confidence very often hinges on whether or not they look ‘right’ or fit in with the ‘right’ crowd of girls in college. True education must make it clear to both women and men that equality in consensual human relationships matters, and treating someone as if they are indebted to you for something as love or love-making is completely unacceptable.
Students of feminism gain language to describe their painful experiences of patriarchy and discrimination. Those who are born lucky learn to become passionate advocates for marginalized groups. Many people who believe they’re against feminism realize that they actually align with feminist goals.
Learning feminism gives wider awareness about realities like domestic abuse to young adults who will be future spouses. A well-qualified woman shall not be forced to choose ‘family-friendly jobs’ so that she will be obligated to be on time to serve an authority. A first-class graduate man will not feel guilty about not wanting to get married to a girl. Masculinity and femininity must not be the socially approved masks we wear to please others. Sexist comments as “Man-up” or “Behave like a good girl” ridicule those who dare to be original. A feminist teacher can best explain that you can recognise yourself as a beautiful girl even if you are not dominantly feminine or having periods is as natural as growing a mustache.
A textbook of feminism defines gender beyond anatomy. Paradigm shift about the idea of gender is vital. Gender perceived as a continuum than a biological classification breaks the societal shackles on freedom of expression. It allows productive individuals to make life choices that are independent of their natural sex.
Unfortunately, prostitution, eve-teasing and rape are not the words first learnt in a textbook. We need to find a place in the curriculum that interprets gender violence and sexist bullying in great detail so that a gen-next man won’t be ashamed to call out for help when he is abused by a woman. An intersectionally inclusive education dispels the idea that only women are feminists & men are not victims of patriarchy. Such a curriculum constructs mindsets that in the future can cheerlead initiatives like building a separate washroom for the third gender.
Looking forward to the day when facts as ‘June is the LGBT Pride month’ won’t be an additional general knowledge but something which will be regularly asked in exams and marked on. When “whore” and “pansy” won’t be cuss words anymore. By all means, let’s teach young adults about healthy relationships.