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Bigotry in Literature: Is Racism Worse Than Sexism and Why?


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Why does everyone get so worked up over racism in vintage books, but not sexism? 100% of homeschooled students are females or will interact daily with females, but no one ever seems to worry about how females are portrayed in classical and vintage literature.

 

I think everyone here knows how disgusted I am with racism. Often I have refused to use vintage literature lists and curriculum because of the racism. I've been adding more in lately, more out of exhaustion, than for any other reason.

 

Honestly this is just a question, not a rant. Why is everyone so much more concerned with racism than sexism? Are more people hurt by racism than sexism? If racism is worse than sexism, why is it worse?

 

When currently teaching my adult tutoring students, why am I so quick to try and shield my students from every subtle racism comment, but make no effort whatsoever to protect them from blatant sexism? Am I so brainwashed that I think what happens to women every day doesn't matters?

 

I choose to teach and focus on human rights in general, rather than focus on any one individual marginalized group like African Americans, and have seen the benefits of doing so. But when SHIELDING students from bigotry, I think I've been very narrow and rigid. By refusing to use any racist literature, but surrounding them with sexist literature, what type of message am I teaching?

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Many homeschoolers are sexist themselves. The sexism in literature is simply not seen outside of a representation of culture.

 

I think we shouldn't look to shield children from either, but use the written language as a jumping off point for discussion on everything from the author's own way of thinking to cultural understandings.

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Sexism is overlooked often and I believe it is because sexism is still "culturally acceptable." Just look at advertising, entertainment, the way people talk about gender (How many times have I been told "I'm so sorry you have so many girls! They are SO much harder to raise than boys."), the way some cultures value one gender over another, and many religious views where there are limitations on what one can do based on gender.

 

In our home, I will point out both racism and sexism in things we read and see. My children, as young as they are, are at the point now where they can recognize it without me having to tell them.

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Hunter, what a good conversation.

 

1. I find it harder to label the sexism in our books because much is "negative" sexism I think. Not so much women portrayed as lazy or as idiots, but women portrayed only as partial humans. It is so much easier to label racism when it comes in the form of obviously offensive images, or claims that groups are lazy or evil, than sexism which comes in the form of constant comments about women's youth & attractiveness -- or lack thereof. It seems clear, on reflection, that I need to address this more directly and explicitly and am not sure how ...

 

2. The oft-quoted ideal of "beauty" is, in my experience, often associated with de facto sexism because cultural ideals of beauty in women are almost universally tied to: youth (as in, ideal being roughly 16 years old until quite recently); indications that she is not a manual laborer (relatively pale skin in Caucasians and Asians, tiny feet -- think foot binding here, smooth and unblemished hands, expensive clothes that are fragile and of quickly-changing fashion and impractical for labor); physical beauty (a while ago I heard -- and replied to -- a comment that physical beauty in an evil woman is misleading, it is "false advertising" .. the idea that a person's attractiveness could accurately reflect the state of her soul is repellant and pervasive).

 

3. Sexism is more complicated because there are real difference between the average aptitudes and temperaments of women and men, but there are not fundamental differences between the aptitudes and temperaments of different races -- observed temperament differences in races seem to be a matter of culture. Now women also have cultural differences, but there absolutely are biological ones. I think this complicates the matter a bit.

 

Hunter, how do you address this? I try to avoid those fairy-tale princesses with good looks & daintiness as their main value but haven't gotten much farther than that ...

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I think that the sexism I see in older books is about roles for the most part, not personhood or character. So many female characters in older books are fleshed out, full characters, who are intelligent, speak clearly, have realistic lives, but lives that arelimited by their roles in life, which we can, of course, discuss contextually. On the other hand, black, Asian, Native American, etc. characters are often stereotype characters who act and speak in ways that are unrealistic, even for the time period. That, to me, is the difference.

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I don't really get worked up over either if they are written in older books that are representative of the prejudicial cultural context in which they were written. It existed. Reading it from our current point in history is neither accepting nor condoning what was factually present in the societies and in the writings of the past.

 

I see these issues as good ways of teaching my children about the changing of human perspectives, philosophies, religious views, propaganda, how the dominate views of a culture prevail in books (whether historical or fictional), etc.

 

FWIW, there is prejudice in modern works as well as in historical works. It just happens that the prejudices today are the current PC versions of today's views. 100 yrs from now people will be reading books published today making the same sort of criticism over whatever cultural issues have shifted.

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Sexism is very prevalent and culturally acceptable today, so many people do not even recognize it as a problem - whereas the cultural consensus is that (overt) racism is not acceptable (covert racism is still rampant).

 

Like 8FillTheHeart, I am not bothered by old books because they clearly portray the values of their time. I have no problem with racism or sexism in classical literature; I can use this as a teaching opportunity. There is no way to understand Huck Finn or To Kill A Mockingbird without understanding the racist attitudes at the time - it is essential to confront the attitudes.

It is impossible to understand Jane Austen or the Brontes without understanding the sexist attitudes of the era. Both need to be discussed.

 

I have MUCH more of a problem with sexism in the current culture, because that is the time *I* live in, and that affects my family. So, while I don't get worked up about Victorian era portrayal of females, I DO have a problem with Disney and much of contemporary popular culture because they cement stereotypes that have been recognized as detrimental.

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I do think racism is worse because while females used to be treated as second-class citizens, they were not dehumanized (except by virtue of their race).

 

 

Not entirely true: females who were considered property of their husbands, to be abused according to husband's will, and with the husband exercising "authority over the wife's conscience", who were not allowed to work or to own property and instead were forced to marry a man and subject to his will in order to have a livelihood were not granted their human rights.

(Independently wealthy women could, to a certain degree, escape this; poor women could not.)

 

In my opinion, rape and abuse under the protection of law IS dehumanizing.

 

Girls far below what we would consider the age of consent today being given to a man like a piece of property? You find that not dehumanizing?

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Why does everyone get so worked up over racism in vintage books, but not sexism?

 

 

Who is everyone ?

 

In the current "Why not follow AO" thread I mentioned sexism being a big problem with many Victorian and post-Victorian books on their book list. Or more exactly I referred to problems with "race, gender, and religion."

 

All of these are problematic areas in the musty old books.

 

Unfortunately what we might see as "problematic" is seen by some organized forces as "virtuous," and the perpetuation of these values though these books is an active part of their agenda. These works are not being promoted "on accident."

 

Bill

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3. Sexism is more complicated because there are real difference between the average aptitudes and temperaments of women and men, but there are not fundamental differences between the aptitudes and temperaments of different races -- observed temperament differences in races seem to be a matter of culture. Now women also have cultural differences, but there absolutely are biological ones. I think this complicates the matter a bit.

 

 

 

 

 

This is more or less what I was going to say. There are far more actual differences between men and women than between a black man and a white man. Sexism is unacceptable, but it is a much more complicated problem than racism.

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I think that the sexism I see in older books is about roles for the most part, not personhood or character. So many female characters in older books are fleshed out, full characters, who are intelligent, speak clearly, have realistic lives, but lives that arelimited by their roles in life, which we can, of course, discuss contextually. On the other hand, black, Asian, Native American, etc. characters are often stereotype characters who act and speak in ways that are unrealistic, even for the time period. That, to me, is the difference.

:iagree:

 

 

 

I think we shouldn't look to shield children from either, but use the written language as a jumping off point for discussion on everything from the author's own way of thinking to cultural understandings.

 

This is how we have handled it. My dd recently read Jane Austen (hated it!) but we had some interesting discussions about the time period and the roles of women and the way that men and women were seen back then.

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FWIW, there is prejudice in modern works as well as in historical works. It just happens that the prejudices today are the current PC versions of today's views. 100 yrs from now people will be reading books published today making the same sort of criticism over whatever cultural issues have shifted.

 

Let's hope that there is human progress a 100 years from now. Let us also remember that there were people a hundred (and more) years ago who saw clearly that racism, sexism, and religious bigotry were wrong in their own times. We have the same option of "joining the future now."

 

We do not have to accept the bigotry of our day as "part of the times."

 

Let's be the ones future generations look back on and think, "at least some of them had it right."

 

Bill

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Understanding differences is a fabulous way to come to understand one's own deeply held cultural values. In fact, seeing the differences is often a person's awakening to the idea that he has a cultural identity. Silly me, I didn't really understand I had a "white culture" until I was mothering a child from another culture!

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Thanks everyone. I have so many thoughts about this topic, that I don't know how to narrow and organize my thoughts enough to write about them. I have been putting off starting this thread for awhile. But the recent AO thread pushed me into it.

 

Last year there were some billboards in my city with this slogan:

Women Are Humanity's Greatest Untapped Resource

 

Every time I try to write something I delete it. I'm just going to let others talk for now, except to say I'm going to stop elevating the shielding of racism above the shielding of sexism. I think it's sending a mixed and dangerous message.

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Not entirely true: females who were considered property of their husbands, to be abused according to husband's will, and with the husband exercising "authority over the wife's conscience", who were not allowed to work or to own property and instead were forced to marry a man and subject to his will in order to have a livelihood were not granted their human rights.

(Independently wealthy women could, to a certain degree, escape this; poor women could not.)

 

In my opinion, rape and abuse under the protection of law IS dehumanizing.

 

Girls far below what we would consider the age of consent today being given to a man like a piece of property? You find that not dehumanizing?

 

Their treatment was certainly dehumanizing in many instances, but I'm not aware of a general societal sentiment that white females were sub-human by virtue of their gender the way non-whites were considered sub-human by virtue of their race. Slavery of white females was seen as abhorrent, unlike slavery of blacks or Native Americans.

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Slavery of white females was seen as abhorrent, unlike slavery of blacks or Native Americans.

 

 

Yes, when it was called slavery.

White females existing in slavery like conditions with their husband in the position of an owner was simply not seen as slavery, but accepted as the normal order of things.

(Until the 1970s, rape by a spouse was not against the law. Only since 1993 has marital rape been a crime in all states of the US. Twenty years.)

 

I agree that one can not compare the situation of black slaves and the situations of women, but I also do not feel comfortable stating that one is "not as bad". The mechanisms and justifications are just different ones. But the societal status and treatment of women did stem from the widespread notion that women are inferior to men.

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But we're not really comparing the situation of non-whites with the situation of white women in history here... Which is a whole other can of worms. At least, that's not how I took it. We're comparing the portrayal of those groups in older literature. While there are many examples of older books that are extremely sexist and I wouldn't read those books to my children, when taken as a whole, there's no contest in my mind. Racism is a much bigger problem in vintage children's books than sexism - for the reasons I mentioned above, that there are many older books that show fully fleshed out, realistic female characters and are written by women. There are so many fewer that show black characters that are fully fleshed out or realistic and most of these older books are written by whites.

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Hunter, I have been doing some reading this spring that has been enlightening. The book (among many others that I've picked up) is called, Honor, Patronage, Kinship and Purity:Unlocking New Testament Culture by David DeSilva. Yes, this is a book primarily discussing the mediterranean culture of New Testament times, but it has been a huge eye opener to my modern culture. Reading this book has helped me gain a stronger understanding of honor issues/women's roles/stations in life/cultural expectations as I read works written as late as the 19th century. Understanding an author's cultural background whether it is Biblical reading or Jane Eyre (which I am currently reading to dd12) is invaluable. Our American culture that highly values measurable achievement and the individual is very different from a culture that highly values kinship (and thus particular roles for status and gender) and honor. Thus, what I might see as an terrible thing for a woman because of my cultural "lenses" would not necessarily have been seen as a terrible thing by a woman who was fully enculturated in her own kinship/honor society.

 

I think that what I am trying to say is that I might view something as sexist because my culture values things differently than others.

 

I feel really grateful to my study this semester so that I can better articulate where I'm at and also better understand other's POV.

 

I never understood why family honor issues in stories like Pride and Prejudice were so vital to the characters until I understood the kinship/honor culture.

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Yes, when it was called slavery.

White females existing in slavery like conditions with their husband in the position of an owner was simply not seen as slavery, but accepted as the normal order of things.

(Until the 1970s, rape by a spouse was not against the law. Only since 1993 has marital rape been a crime in all states of the US. Twenty years.)

 

I agree that one can not compare the situation of black slaves and the situations of women, but I also do not feel comfortable stating that one is "not as bad". The mechanisms and justifications are just different ones. But the societal status and treatment of women did stem from the widespread notion that women are inferior to men.

 

People from my old life called my husband "oldschool". Now my doctors and social workers call him a "terrorist" and use the words "brainwashing" and "torture" to describe what he did to me. Words are funny things. I just kinda sit and listen and don't feel comfortable using either spectrum of words.

"Abuse", "rape", "kill" are all words people seem to have very different definitions for in my old and new life.

 

I just know I was considered to be some type of sub-human by the people in my old life. I didn't question it. It just was. It was all I knew. Yes, I knew some women had very different lives than I did, but...it didn't ever occur to me that any of what I saw might apply to me.

 

It's funny that things are illegal on the books, that are still a part of many women's daily life. When we play games with the definitions of words, I guess that helps some.

 

I'm rambling. I really don't know how to discuss this topic. But on a few recent threads when people were discussing the specific types of racism in vintage books, I realized all those things were also done to women then, and often today, and that many people still condone it. I used to condone it. I didn't know it was wrong.

 

Isn't that what people are so afraid will happen to children who read a lot of vintage racist books? That they will not know "right" from "wrong"? Do we, as adults, know "right" from "wrong" in sexism? Do we recognize it in vintage and current books?

 

I know I'm rambling. That's why I put off starting this thread. But I think something is seriously wrong when we elevate disgust of racism above disgust of sexism.

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Hunter,

I wanted to like your post, but I could not - because that would have seemed like "liking" the painful things you had to say.

So I'll just respond to let you know that I appreciate you sharing. You come to the discussion from an entirely different perspective; my outrage is theoretical, because I have never encountered these kinds of attitudes in my own life.

 

People from my old life called my husband "oldschool". Now my doctors and social workers call him a "terrorist" and use the words "brainwashing" and "torture" to describe what he did to me. Words are funny things. I just kinda sit and listen and don't feel comfortable using either spectrum of words.

"Abuse", "rape", "kill" are all words people seem to have very different definitions for in my old and new life.

 

I just know I was considered to be some type of sub-human by the people in my old life. I didn't question it. It just was. It was all I knew. Yes, I knew some women had very different lives than I did, but...it didn't ever occur to me that any of what I saw might apply to me.

 

It's funny that things are illegal on the books, that are still a part of many women's daily life. When we play games with the definitions of words, I guess that helps some.

 

I'm rambling. I really don't know how to discuss this topic. But on a few recent threads when people were discussing the specific types of racism in vintage books, I realized all those things were also done to women then, and often today, and that many people still condone it. I used to condone it. I didn't know it was wrong.

 

Isn't that what people are so afraid will happen to children who read a lot of vintage racist books? That they will not know "right" from "wrong"? Do we, as adults, know "right" from "wrong" in sexism? Do we recognize it in vintage and current books?

 

I know I'm rambling. That's why I put off starting this thread. But I think something is seriously wrong when we elevate disgust of racism above disgust of sexism.

 

As others have pointed out, sexist attitudes are still so prevalent today that many people, women included, do not SEE how wrong they are because they are, in some circles, the norm. And, most infuriatingly, often under the guise of "protecting" the woman.

 

I cringe when I see young adult fiction portray stalking as romantic. Fortunately, my 16 y/o DD is very perceptive and critical to those things.

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People from my old life called my husband "oldschool". Now my doctors and social workers call him a "terrorist" and use the words "brainwashing" and "torture" to describe what he did to me. Words are funny things. I just kinda sit and listen and don't feel comfortable using either spectrum of words.

...

Isn't that what people are so afraid will happen to children who read a lot of vintage racist books? That they will not know "right" from "wrong"? Do we, as adults, know "right" from "wrong" in sexism? Do we recognize it in vintage and current books?

 

I know I'm rambling. That's why I put off starting this thread. But I think something is seriously wrong when we elevate disgust of racism above disgust of sexism.

 

I think what I worry about in racist books and images is that my children will incorporate the images unconsciously, and -- you are correct about this -- be less able to tell truth from untruth, and be less able to act according to what is right.

 

You are so, so correct about the varying vocabularies of different groups. And about the really ugly undercurrent of sexism. I'm too tired to respond well to your post but wanted to thank you for it and support your observations.

 

I think many people are really, deeply ignorant of the reality of sexist -- and particularly anti-female -- trends and behavior. At the relatively superficial level, women are chronically under-treated for pain because doctors don't believe their self-reports. The more horrifying level is genital mutilation; child marriage; women as property.

 

Regarding knowing "right" from "wrong" in sexism or anything else, a lot of my current thinking has been guided by the zeitgeist of work from cognitive neuroscientist Steven Pinker. His Blank Slate summarizes a good deal about what is known about the circumstances under which people can thrive, which to me seems a good point of departure from standard biases. Also his Better Angels of Our Nature: The Decline of Violence. It is hard to summarize (esp. when sleep-deprived!) but he takes the position that humans are a certain sort of creature (he makes evolutionary arguments, though the supporting data are largely from modern humans) and we must take that into account when thinking morally about them. You can't just imagine what folks ought to be like and get them to behave that way; you have to start with the persons themselves.

 

Now, I just like Pinker. I took a class of his when I worked as a technician at MIT, and he used to come to scientific seminars, and I just sort of like the guy. He is definitely brilliant and insightful, and also makes some mistakes, and bugs most neuroscientists, so he may bug you, dear reader. ;) But if you can squint past his hard-core secularism and occasional hyperbole, you will emerge with an improved understanding of humans and culture.

 

Anyhow, the urgency of starting one's ethics with persons themselves ... this is why I've put "humanist" in my siggie and what I think is at the heart of treating our fellows respectfully and morally, esp. fellow persons of different cultures and/or genders than ourselves. We start with the absolute value of the human individual, and the absolute moral equivalence of different persons: what some Christian theologians have described as the "radical equality" in the teachings of Jesus is an idea that catches my imagination. We make some assumptions -- that persons desire meaning, security, autonomy -- and then we check these assumptions against what other people report about themselves and their experience. We do not privilege the purity of the soul over the well-being of the human: no cruelty to the body for the sake of the immortal soul.

 

I also think we must hold ourselves accountable to prevent abuse not only for the sake of the victim, but for the sake of the abuser: it damages the soul -- if you prefer, it degrades the character and deepens abusive tendencies/impulses -- of one person to abuse another. We ought to be concerned for the guards in our prisons as well as the prisoners. I am in no way excusing abusers; in my personal life I have taken a rather hard line toward unpenitent abusive persons. But I think it is essential to recognize that part of identifying a bad moral situation -- an abusive father or husband or mother, for example -- is by noting the ugliness and evil done to the evildoer. I am teaching my children that they have a moral responsibility to prevent themselves being harmed, even if they were willing to be harmed, because of the damage done to the one harming them.

 

well, these are some of my thoughts as I have moved between spheres. I like what Bill said upthread about being accountable here and now for ethical behavior, about expecting ourselves to be the ones who see evil and oppose ourselves to it when others do not see or choose not to make a stand.

 

I've become especially interested in Quaker theology around these issues, and have been blessed to read Quaker Jane's thoughts on contemporary society as well as Quaker theology (her site deals a great deal with plain dress, because of her personal call to witness in this way and her observation of others in need of support, but her writing and thinking ranges more broadly than just outer dress).

 

but I haven't got the details figured out. in real life the boundaries are not so neat ...

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I think what I worry about in racist books and images is that my children will incorporate the images unconsciously, and -- you are correct about this -- be less able to tell truth from untruth, and be less able to act according to what is right.

 

 

Yes. And in this sense, I worry a lot more about sexism in recent children's books than in vintage ones. This is not to say there isn't racism in more recent books, just that the sort of sexism that's in there is much harder to contextualize. I mean, it's one thing to read Little House and say, those were the times. It's another thing to try to explain to a 13 yo girl why stalker boyfriends are not sexy - even if he's a vampire, the context is contemporary.

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I

I think many people are really, deeply ignorant of the reality of sexist -- and particularly anti-female -- trends and behavior. At the relatively superficial level, women are chronically under-treated for pain because doctors don't believe their self-reports.

 

 

I thought this was interesting. I don't go to the doctor much, but I go to the chiropractor for my scoliosis occasionally. He has people self-rate their pain, so he can compare them against themselves from visit to visit. He is a family friend, and I asked him how that usually went. He said it was very individualistic but that women tend to rate their own pain lower than men rate their own pain. I rated my chronic pain (my neck always hurts) that causes my back to go out several times a year and gives me headaches 2-5x per week at a 2. Of course, he didn't mention how Dh rated himself (Dh is his patient), but I asked him later. Dh called his "I'll feel better after an adjustment pain," a 6. :lol: Doc knows who is in more pain. He is an extremely mild man who doesn't believe in telling other people what to do, but he, with great seriousness, recommends I come in more often. He does not make the same recommendations to Dh.

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Hunter, thanks for the thread and being willing to share.

 

I know several people who feel that the man decides whether the wife should cut/color/perm her hair. That forbid their wives to take bc. That decide what their wife will wear - I have seen this done both in the name of modesty AND the with the intent of putting a "trophy" on their arm. (these are NOT joint decisions/discussions with dh giving his opinion) There is little outrage when a family states that the boys will go to college but the girls will not. I could go on and on. I don't want to equate this with the abuse you experienced, Hunter. I just point this out because many, many people do think that women are less than 100% human. It is still okay in our society to belittle and degrade women. I have so many personal stories from my own family members that I won't share for the sake of their privacy, but (like Regenetrude said) even the women think it is for the best. It is incredibly disheartening to watch. Anyway, so many great points have been made. This is very thought provoking.

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Hunter, first of all let me say that I am very sorry about what you have gone through. That isn't right and it never was right no matter when it happened in history!

 

That said, I like reading older books because the language is usually so much more beautiful. So many modern books REALLY dumb down the language. I am not saying that they all do and I judge books more on a case by case basis.

 

I also think that it is easier to see the bias in older books. If I am reading the book aloud (which is most of the time since my kids are are still very young), I just substitute words as I see fit. This is very easy for me to do. If it is a picture book or a book my son is reading, we have a little discussion about things. The bias is OBVIOUS to my kids and they mostly just laugh about it and say that people were a little weird back then.

 

I actually think that the bias of today's books is harder to discern since we live in the society. I have found that lots of animal books (which we read a lot of) have such a focus on how humans are destroying the planet. I am an environmentalist, but I do not believe that humans cause every.single.problem. I also don't believe that there is the huge overpopulation problem that is so in vogue right now (which allows for abortion to stop it). I don't want to pick a fight here. There is overpopulation in certain areas, but not worldwide. There is a lot of empty space in this earth! I also find a lot of over the top feminism in books. I got a picture book about an Olympic swimmer from the early 1900's and the whole book was about how she was not only as good as a man, but even better. It was just a really weird vibe. I am obviously a feminist since I am female, but I don't need things shoved down my throat.

 

So, I guess what I am trying to say is that all books have a bias. Some are worse than others, but they are easy to see in old books. I guess I haven't come up on any books so far that put women in a bad light. Which books have you seen with this problem? We haven't really gotten into history that much yet so maybe I just haven't gotten those books yet. I'd love to hear which books to avoid!

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Hunter, first of all let me say that I am very sorry about what you have gone through. That isn't right and it never was right no matter when it happened in history!

 

That said, I like reading older books because the language is usually so much more beautiful. So many modern books REALLY dumb down the language. I am not saying that they all do and I judge books more on a case by case basis.

 

I also think that it is easier to see the bias in older books. If I am reading the book aloud (which is most of the time since my kids are are still very young), I just substitute words as I see fit. This is very easy for me to do. If it is a picture book or a book my son is reading, we have a little discussion about things. The bias is OBVIOUS to my kids and they mostly just laugh about it and say that people were a little weird back then.

 

I actually think that the bias of today's books is harder to discern since we live in the society. I have found that lots of animal books (which we read a lot of) have such a focus on how humans are destroying the planet. I am an environmentalist, but I do not believe that humans cause every.single.problem. I also don't believe that there is the huge overpopulation problem that is so in vogue right now (which allows for abortion to stop it). I don't want to pick a fight here. There is overpopulation in certain areas, but not worldwide. There is a lot of empty space in this earth! I also find a lot of over the top feminism in books. I got a picture book about an Olympic swimmer from the early 1900's and the whole book was about how she was not only as good as a man, but even better. It was just a really weird vibe. I am obviously a feminist since I am female, but I don't need things shoved down my throat.

 

So, I guess what I am trying to say is that all books have a bias. Some are worse than others, but they are easy to see in old books. I guess I haven't come up on any books so far that put women in a bad light. Which books have you seen with this problem? We haven't really gotten into history that much yet so maybe I just haven't gotten those books yet. I'd love to hear which books to avoid!

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I thought this was interesting. I don't go to the doctor much, but I go to the chiropractor for my scoliosis occasionally. He has people self-rate their pain, so he can compare them against themselves from visit to visit. He is a family friend, and I asked him how that usually went. He said it was very individualistic but that women tend to rate their own pain lower than men rate their own pain. I rated my chronic pain (my neck always hurts) that causes my back to go out several times a year and gives me headaches 2-5x per week at a 2. Of course, he didn't mention how Dh rated himself (Dh is his patient), but I asked him later. Dh called his "I'll feel better after an adjustment pain," a 6. :lol: Doc knows who is in more pain. He is an extremely mild man who doesn't believe in telling other people what to do, but he, with great seriousness, recommends I come in more often. He does not make the same recommendations to Dh.

 

You are right, women do self-report much lower levels of pain! Through pain studies, it has become clear that women have a lower pain threshold than men -- that is, the weakest poke or prod that seems painful to women is milder than the weakest one that seems painful to men -- AND a higher tolerance: the strongest stimulus they will tolerate is higher than what men will tolerate.

 

The chiropractor you have sounds excellent. I have had practitioners like this too, who work to understand pain reports. Some hospitals are adopting protocols for assessing pain that allow better treatment.

 

The problems with undertreatment are not just women report less pain, though. I myself have had some notable problems in this domain. During the delivery of my first child, which was complicated and resulted in A. being born in extreme distress and not breathing, I was receiving epidural anesthesia and in excruciating pain. I clearly remember making eye contact with every medical person who came into sight of me, and asking if they would help me because my pain was extraordinary. Nothing was done. AFTER I delivered and my pain was still so bad that I could not see -- everything was black -- they checked my anesthesia and discovered I'd been entirely unanesthetized for for several hours. The next day one of the labor & delivery nurses came to visit me on her off hours to explain what had happened and express her anger and distress at the management of the birth.

 

I also had the experience of being in extreme pain for the last three months of my second pregnancy; it was something in my throat. When I swallowed it felt as if my throat was just raw, as if it were cut. My OB would not do anything for this pain, nothing, though I reported it as extreme and explained to him that it was so bad I'd be huddled in a corner crying if I didn't have a child I had to care for. After I delivered I made an urgent appointment with a primary care physician who treated me and explained that it could have been easily treated during the pregnancy -- my OB had simply not taken me seriously enough to consult with a colleague or suggest I see primary care, and I had been too hormone-stupid to do it myself.

 

I had a hand operation and there was severe post-op pain not from the injury or repair, but from blunt tissue trauma due to one of the retractors used on my thumb. I reported this to the surgeon very gently but firmly, emphasizing that I wanted him to have this information so he could prevent it in future cases. He repeatedly told me that I could not have had pain on my thumb. It wasn't possible. I carefully showed where it had been, how it could have resulted from retraction (I was awake during the procedure), and that it was terribly painful. He insisted there had been no pain in that place. At all. I imagined it.

 

And so on.

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I agree with Bill that it's certainly NOT the case that everyone is outraged by racism.

 

But additionally, most children have interactions with women and/or girls. Even a boy being raised in a household full of men, in some weird Smurfs like family, will likely have a woman in his life in some regular capacity, maybe a teacher, whereas it's rather less likely that nearly every white child has an extended relationship with a black person. I have been told about white kids who watch too much tv (news, especially) who are scared of black people. In fact, I once read a really idiotic book that proposed some discussion points with white children that suggested most white children were utterly flabbergasted by black skin, and had never even seen it. I mean, really? I didn't think it was that rare to see black people on tv or something, but this book was written maybe in the 1980s, but no one would assume the typical boy has never been up close near a woman. So maybe it was possible then. Who knows.

 

There's an interesting chapter in Nurtureshock about how many liberal white parents spend plenty of time telling their kids girl-power type messages, but never (even once) discuss race, either why people have different skin colors or an anti-racist message. These are NOT parents who are racist or who say anything racist, but their children grow up in a void that can, in some cases, be filled with negative stereotypes that surprise the parents. The solution the authors propose is making anti-racism as important and direct a topic as anti-sexism talks. So in addition to saying girls can be scientists, emphasize that skin color does not determine intelligence and similarly showcase examples of achievement.

 

I do want to say that I noted the sentence in the Dictation Day by Day book about our fathers going to vote on election day, and mtcougar832 found several incidents of unsavory statements about Native Amerians, so it is important to me, too.

http://forums.welltrainedmind.com/topic/283250-free-spelling-ebook-on-google-books-used-by-hod/

http://forums.welltrainedmind.com/topic/270457-spelling-by-dictation-free/

I would not copy these books' use of only asking about the child's father, either. I try not to read lots of books about retiring, boring girls and active, interesting boys, and we do discuss anti-female comments in books. I also do mention women's careers regularly. However, having just read a copy of The Great Gilly Hopkins, which was written in 1978, I can say that I have not found a children's book that says anything similar about females repeatedly, e.g. that they are dumb or ugly or scary to be around. I was honestly shocked by the implied n-word (she made a poem for her teacher with an implicit but missing rhyme for "figger"). Any vitriolic anti-girl book wouldn't make it very far, I don't think. At least not in my house.

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I once read an article about human trafficking. When authority figures enter some buildings, they ask employees certain questions about eating, sleeping, going to the bathroom and freedom to leave the building, because many of them don't know there is anything wrong with not being allowed to eat, sleep, use the bathroom or leave the building without permission. They don't know that their employees are doing anything wrong.

 

It was only after I read that article, that I understood that it's considered a human rights violation to not be allowed to go to bed or get up without permission. I wasn't allowed to stay up later than my husband, or get up in the middle of the night if I couldn't sleep. I had to stay in the bed as long as he was there and I was forbidden to sleep unless I had his permission. I wasn't allowed to bring foods into the house that he didn't like and had to just eat what he wanted to eat. I wasn't allowed to leave the house without his permission. It was news to me that stuff like this was considered "slavery". I had no idea. And this is not rare. There are women all over this country that live like this and the people around them just accept this as "normal" instead of "slavery".

 

Sorry. I know it's rude to start a thread and then not respond to most of the posts. I'm responding with no rhyme or reason. I'm just figuring that we needed a thread like this, more than we needed me to act appropriately. I hope that's okay with people. I just get so overwhelmed when I try to respond. I have so much to say I choke on it. So I hit a bunch of "likes" and run away.

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I'm bothered by sexist literature. It was one of the issues I had with Waldorf schooling--sexist fairy tales. I think we are probably not reading the classic and vintage texts you are, however.

 

On the whole, what my ds has been reading seems to have more strong girl characters than I had as a child. I have been glad that while a male seems to be the main character of the Percy Jackson type books, at least each quest has had a group that includes both boy and girl questers as active participants, not all boy knights and weak girl damsels in distress. Harry Potter was not even, but at least did have one reasonably strong main girl character. The Laura Ingalls and Rose books were helpful, the girl characters seemed real and active and to the extent they were stuck in girl roles one could see them chaffing about it. So too, in the Lloyd Alexander Taran books, the girl, I cannot recall her name exactly but something like Eilonwy, hates getting stuck doing typical girl stuff and joins the quest anyway. The Lloyd Alexander books were available during my childhood, but I did not know about them, and I never got into the Laura books.

 

Star Wars was bothersome, I thought there were no female Jedi, then my son pointed out that there were, but not in main roles. My ds has been reading Star Wars novels and I've not done so, so don't know how bad the situations might be in them. As a child when I saw Star Wars it was sort of a big wow, I don't recall thinking about male vs. female roles. Now, I notice Princess Leah barely dressed in some scenes, and am surprised at it, and how wimpy she seems. The later made prequels seemed at least a bit improved in that regard.

 

Shakespeare is rather male dominant. What does one do about that? I don't know. But sometimes there is something to discuss there as with Much Ado About Nothing, or A Midsummer Night's Dream....what the women were allowed to do, or not.

 

We will avoid anything like Lolita where I do not think it would be understandable even with a great deal of discussion, or where it might have negative effects just from the reading.

 

We have not yet read things like Twain, Austen etc. mentioned by others, but I plan to discuss the issues in them as we did matters in Star Wars when I was noticing it.

 

We did at one point start Ann of Green Gables which gives a pretty strong girl character and the opportunity to discuss that a boy was wanted from the orphanage at the start and to consider that.

 

....

 

What specifically are you reading that you think is a problem? And how are you dealing with it?

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Yes. And in this sense, I worry a lot more about sexism in recent children's books than in vintage ones. This is not to say there isn't racism in more recent books, just that the sort of sexism that's in there is much harder to contextualize. I mean, it's one thing to read Little House and say, those were the times. It's another thing to try to explain to a 13 yo girl why stalker boyfriends are not sexy - even if he's a vampire, the context is contemporary.

 

 

:iagree:

 

And while I am not sure what the vampire book is (Twilight series maybe that I've heard of not read?), one of the problems with children reading the books is that it is maybe hard for them to understand that perhaps it is a warning against real life vampire types. Men who perhaps actually do seem sexy, but will, one way or another, suck out a female's life blood.

 

One might be able to look at books for what they can teach about how to live and how to achieve happiness, perhaps, but children may not be able to see that in them until they have a lot more life experience.

 

I don't have the situation you are giving, but do have, frequently the issue of war and violence being glorified. Not so much male domination over females, but domination rather than cooperation in general.

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My reply seems to have got lost - I was having internet issues - and I can't remember exactly what I said but;

 

I'm sorry you had such a bad experience hunter but with the courage it took you to escape I am sure you and your children will have a better future.

 

I do think a lot of people believe that the war against sexism is won(usually men who are also racist but there are a lot of them) and therefore sexism in old literature can be laughed off. It is harder to make the same claim about racism.

 

 

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I'm bothered by sexist literature. It was one of the issues I had with Waldorf schooling--sexist fairy tales. I think we are probably not reading the classic and vintage texts you are, however.

 

On the whole, what my ds has been reading seems to have more strong girl characters than I had as a child. I have been glad that while a male seems to be the main character of the Percy Jackson type books, at least each quest has had a group that includes both boy and girl questers as active participants, not all boy knights and weak girl damsels in distress. Harry Potter was not even, but at least did have one reasonably strong main girl character. The Laura Ingalls and Rose books were helpful, the girl characters seemed real and active and to the extent they were stuck in girl roles one could see them chaffing about it. So too, in the Lloyd Alexander Taran books, the girl, I cannot recall her name exactly but something like Eilonwy, hates getting stuck doing typical girl stuff and joins the quest anyway. The Lloyd Alexander books were available during my childhood, but I did not know about them, and I never got into the Laura books.

 

Star Wars was bothersome, I thought there were no female Jedi, then my son pointed out that there were, but not in main roles. My ds has been reading Star Wars novels and I've not done so, so don't know how bad the situations might be in them. As a child when I saw Star Wars it was sort of a big wow, I don't recall thinking about male vs. female roles. Now, I notice Princess Leah barely dressed in some scenes, and am surprised at it, and how wimpy she seems. The later made prequels seemed at least a bit improved in that regard.

 

Shakespeare is rather male dominant. What does one do about that? I don't know. But sometimes there is something to discuss there as with Much Ado About Nothing, or A Midsummer Night's Dream....what the women were allowed to do, or not.

 

We will avoid anything like Lolita where I do not think it would be understandable even with a great deal of discussion, or where it might have negative effects just from the reading.

 

We have not yet read things like Twain, Austen etc. mentioned by others, but I plan to discuss the issues in them as we did matters in Star Wars when I was noticing it.

 

We did at one point start Ann of Green Gables which gives a pretty strong girl character and the opportunity to discuss that a boy was wanted from the orphanage at the start and to consider that.

 

....

 

What specifically are you reading that you think is a problem? And how are you dealing with it?

 

 

Actually, I thought Princess Leia was a strong female. She was a senator. She tried to smuggle stolen plans to her father and the rebellion. She stands up boldly to Darth Vader and Tarkin (?) when she is captured. When Luke and Han rescue her, she soon grabs a gun and asserts her opinion about the rescue and takes over somewhat. She's not passive in their escape. She's a major player in the rebellion. She was often assertive. She goes undercover to rescue Han in ROTJ. She kills Jabba the Hut. Just sayin....

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I guess for me, sexism isn't about what a women does or does not DO, but the value that OTHERS place on her life. Is she viewed as an inferior sub-species whose PUROSE is to facilitate a superior species, rather than having her OWN purpose for being here? Is she EQUAL in VALUE? I'm not sure I have the words.

 

I watch some women accomplish herculean feats, despite the adversities heaped upon them, but that doesn't change the climate they are living in, does it? I mean, we have stories of heroic cats and dogs that risk their lives to save their owners, but that doesn't mean anyone sees the cat or dog as an EQUAL. In fact, it's the opposite. They are valued for their facilitation of the dominant species, and sacrifice of their own life and desires right? But at least pets are not required to wear a sexy outfit while they save their owner, and look good while doing it. A woman who dies saving others, but doesn't fit the current standard beauty ideal is unlikely to even get the praise a dog gets.

 

I'm still so overwhelmed by sexism that I don't think I am capable of teaching anything about it. I think I'm going to just have to stick with straight human rights, and questions like, "Is that woman being treated like an equal and being given all her HUMAN rights?"

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Actually, I thought Princess Leia was a strong female. She was a senator. She tried to smuggle stolen plans to her father and the rebellion. She stands up boldly to Darth Vader and Tarkin (?) when she is captured. When Luke and Han rescue her, she soon grabs a gun and asserts her opinion about the rescue and takes over somewhat. She's not passive in their escape. She's a major player in the rebellion. She was often assertive. She goes undercover to rescue Han in ROTJ. She kills Jabba the Hut. Just sayin....

 

 

I thought it was Padme in the prequels (aka Princess Amydalla), not Leia, who was a senator, one of the areas where I felt the prequels showed a stronger female role than the original 3 films did. But, point taken: there were many parts of the film where Leia has a lot of power and displays much courage and initiative. But looking at the issue of how the female is portrayed... ????

 

Leia is turned into Jabba's apparent sex object on a chain attached to a collar.

 

I suppose that is not especially better or worse than being frozen into a wall decoration like Han. ???? It does seem to perpetuate the sort of stereotype that we are talking about??? What is the subliminal message to a child seeing it???? Is it "bad"? Or for a preadolescent or adolescent boy is it so "sexy" that the "sexy" aspect will overwhelm any message that this is not supposed to be good treatment of a woman? Is it enticing? Which images will stick with them? ???? What about for the girls?

 

At least Jabba is clearly not a good guy, and Leia does get free. But...it could have been Han on a leash barely clothed and Leia carbon frozen. Yet, was not. So, how does that reflect how the other characters see Leia, or how filmmakers see what a female role should be? Or how a viewer subconciously experiences that?

 

I still had this feeling, especially in comparison to something like Percy Jackson, where toward the end, half the main characters are female, that the female roles in Star Wars are few, and still, to me, Leia feels, now at my current stage in life, a bit like the sex object / damsel in distress, of fairy tales (I think Lucas was deliberately playing with those themes as I understand from Joseph Campbell Power of Myth, and I think calling Leia "Princess" tells us so) notwithstanding the active aspects and courageous ones. A hologram pleads for Obi Wan to help her ...they end up at the death star/castle where the Princess is imprisoned... The old and young knights go, the old one dies, the young ones takes over, rescue the damsel... Okay, then she gets a stronger part than in the old fairy tales. But it still, to me, feels like, over all, a movie with active boy knight parts and females in something barely beyond the old Princess role as it emerged in Victorian times to keep women oppressed. It felt like seeing a bit of historic transition time and deliberate play with the old themes and attitudes...

 

 

Incidentally, this was another place where Terry Jones' movies on the actualities of the Middle Ages were interesting... that the weak woman figure of the fairy tales and knights stories was a Victorian times myth, and not accurate at all of women in Medieval times.

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I believe the idea that those who don't study their history are bound to repeat it. I absolutely read the old books with my kids. They are great stepping stones for discussion. My daughters have no problem seeing the racist and sexist points of view in books. These books were written in another time with different values. They are worth studying if for no other reason than to see how far we have come. I don't believe in white washing or presenting revisionist history to my kids. Knowledge is a powerful thing.

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I thought it was Padme in the prequels (aka Princess Amydalla), not Leia, who was a senator, one of the areas where I felt the prequels showed a stronger female role than the original 3 films did. But, point taken: there were many parts of the film where Leia has a lot of power and displays much courage and initiative. But looking at the issue of how the female is portrayed... ????

 

Leia is turned into Jabba's apparent sex object on a chain attached to a collar.

 

I suppose that is not especially better or worse than being frozen into a wall decoration like Han. ???? It does seem to perpetuate the sort of stereotype that we are talking about??? What is the subliminal message to a child seeing it???? Is it "bad"? Or for a preadolescent or adolescent boy is it so "sexy" that the "sexy" aspect will overwhelm any message that this is not supposed to be good treatment of a woman? Is it enticing? Which images will stick with them? ???? What about for the girls?

 

At least Jabba is clearly not a good guy, and Leia does get free. But...it could have been Han on a leash barely clothed and Leia carbon frozen. Yet, was not. So, how does that reflect how the other characters see Leia, or how filmmakers see what a female role should be? Or how a viewer subconciously experiences that?

 

I still had this feeling, especially in comparison to something like Percy Jackson, where toward the end, half the main characters are female, that the female roles in Star Wars are few, and still, to me, Leia feels, now at my current stage in life, a bit like the sex object / damsel in distress, of fairy tales (I think Lucas was deliberately playing with those themes as I understand from Joseph Campbell Power of Myth, and I think calling Leia "Princess" tells us so) notwithstanding the active aspects and courageous ones. A hologram pleads for Obi Wan to help her ...they end up at the death star/castle where the Princess is imprisoned... The old and young knights go, the old one dies, the young ones takes over, rescue the damsel... Okay, then she gets a stronger part than in the old fairy tales. But it still, to me, feels like, over all, a movie with active boy knight parts and females in something barely beyond the old Princess role as it emerged in Victorian times to keep women oppressed. It felt like seeing a bit of historic transition time and deliberate play with the old themes and attitudes...

 

 

Incidentally, this was another place where Terry Jones' movies on the actualities of the Middle Ages were interesting... that the weak woman figure of the fairy tales and knights stories was a Victorian times myth, and not accurate at all of women in Medieval times.

 

Thanks for explaining further. I see what you are saying.

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I think bigotry is, in and of itself, deplorable on all levels. Hunter, I really, really love the idea of focusing on human rights over any particular people and will be keeping that close in my mind from now on.

 

However, to the typical American (I don't have the authority to speak on a more generalized scale) sexism isn't that big of an issue. Or at least doesn't seem to be that big of an issue. In US history, instintutinalized racism (not just slavery but just the genuine hatred and maltreatment of any black or non-white person, depending) played a very big, very prominent role in our history. Cruelty and hatred toward people based on their race/skin was taught, practiced, valued and passed on from generation to generation.

 

Violence and cruelty was encouraged. Now, a problem is that many times, looking back at US history, race prejudiced is highlighted and talked about, but in doing so other forms of prejudiced or bigotry kind of get ignored or overlooked.

 

Almost every ethnic/social/religious group that was maltreated and abused by main stream, white America was under so much stress just for being Irish/Catholic/ Black/Italian/Mexican/Chinese/what-have-you that the maltreatment that their women recieved was primarily because they fit the superficial criterion of being prejudiced against in the first place.

 

Sexism was a secondary form of bigotry practiced inside of various social and ethic groups and many times was applied just as heavily from within the individual communities themselves as from without.

 

Sexism (specifically the maltreatment and/or subjugation of women) is so globally intrenched in various cultures that it is hard to convince the whole world that their traditional/cultural/religious views of the female sex and their treatment towards them is wrong.

 

Personally, as a triple minority (race, religion and sex) I find that I benefit most from laws that secure the personage and freedom of my race, followed by the laws that allow me religious freedom and finally from my sex. So I can kind of imagine how more women are willing to not fight for their sex-based rights than they are for their racebased and religious-based laws. I'm not saying that it is right and I am not trying to draw fire upon myself, but living in the southern US, where racial and religious intolerance have a strong history in my area, I feel that I am most protected by race-based and religion based laws.

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