History Class Is Just One Big Mansplain

September 28, 2017

Over 70 countries in our modern world had or do have female heads of state, but I cannot remember a single one of their names being discussed in my 19 years of education.  In fact, Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, Cleopatra and Eleanor Roosevelt are the only females I can recall learning about in a history class.  Looking back history was really just one big mansplain.  However, when it comes to males I can recall five times that.

 

 

The significance in my recall of 20 historical males, but only four females is that this lack of equality in basic historical textbooks has helped create the current ideology on gender in this nation, and its negative impact is profound.   Male or female, it doesn’t matter; the message we are sending to our future is the same. That is, “worthy” history is dominated by men and a required learning objective at college campuses.  Historical, powerful, brilliant women you are an elective segregated course many will never take.

 

 

Consciously or not, a willingness to admit it or not, this gender ideology perpetuated by a history lesson that a majority of times identifies women only by their husbands accomplishments and seldom by their own merit is why we see a male in office and not a female.  It is why a female Secretary of Education chose to side with the National Coalition For Men over the National Organization For Women when deciding what is best for rape victims on college campuses; 1 in 6 American women will experience an attempted or completed rape, compared to 1 in 33 American men (https://www.rainn.org/statistics/victims-sexual-violence).   It is why in 2017, I know grown people who tell their children Eve was tricked by a snake who turned out to be Satan and therefore all women suffer child birth pain. And it is a gender ideology we must change if we want to see a stronger more loving world.

 

How do we change it?  One solution is simple, include women and men together depicted equally in history books and history lessons taught to our future.  For those of you already questioning how to find women of equal value to the men you are traditionally assigned to learn about, meet Lise Meitner, Madam C.J. Walker, Jane Adams, Sappho, Catherine The Great, Indira Ghandhi, Caroline Herschel, Benazir Bhutto, Asima Chatterjee, Simone de Beauvoir, and Deborah Sampson. 

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