The Female in the Classroom

Case Two- By Megan Hodgson, Vanessa Toews, Ashley Young, Ashley Hill, Lauren Little

Why are we talking about this?

As a group of women, our shared experience of school seemed to reside in female perspectives and feminism. For our health assignment, we wanted to present tools and perspectives on feminism and the female in the classroom.

While discussing this topic, we were sometimes unaware of how other people's ideas of "the ideal female" affected our views of ourselves.

This topic is important because we struggled to find resources that will foster healthy and positive female students. We saw a need to compile resources for our classrooms, and have tried to fill it.

Healthy Relationships


    Five young adult books that feature transgender individuals

    Luna by Julie Anne Peters

    I am J by Chris Beam

    Parrotfish by Ellen Wittlinger

    Beauty Queens by Libba Bray

    Almost Perfect by Brian Katcher

    Five young adult books that feature lesbian or gay individuals

    Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green

    Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan

    Bermudez Triangle by Maureen Johnson

    Keeping You A Secret by Julie Anne Peters

    Openly Straight by Bill Konigsburg

    Five young adult books for the feminist reader

    Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce

    The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley

    Queen of Hearts by Martha Brooks

    The Book Theif by Markus Zusack

    Speak by Laurie Hasle Anderson

Body Image

Researchers in the field of physical education have argued that the high-modern marketing of images of the body in western society influences student’s views on the body, their participation in physical activity and development of physicality (Azzarito & Solmon, 2005).

Girlsʼ physicality remains constrained by the social construction of the female body, a body viewed in society as less confident, less skilled, powerless, slim, and small. Simply put, girlsʼ potential development of their bodies is limited by feminizing discourses such as “throwing like a girl" (Azzaito & Solmon, 2005).

The Problem With Thinspiration

Feminism in the Media

"As young women, we must define for ourselves who we are, not who society expects us to be. This is a responsibility that requires conscious decision and constant perseverance. Often times the roles that society expects up to fill are restricting. Our creativity is limited, our voices are hushed, and our expressions are ignored. Life is defined by the obstacles we face and the actions we take to overcome them. We can chose to take a passive role, to follow the footsteps of many before us, or we can make the active decision to forge our own path. The active choice is by no means an easy one, but I believe it is the only way to reach personal fulfillment. "

The History of Inequality

Incorporating Feminism Into Social Studies

In social studies, the focus is almost exclusively on strong male figures. The people we study and the sources we use are men, and written from a male perspective. In Social Studies, teachers need to find avenues to incorporate women into the curriculum and social spectrum ie, globalization, politics, and understandings of identity.

Looking at strong feminine figures in history:

Florence Nightingale 1820-1910: By serving in the Crimean war, Florence Nightingale was instrumental in changing the role and perception of the nursing profession. Her dedicated service won widespread admiration and led to a significant improvement in the treatment of wounded soldier

Susan B. Anthony 1820-1906: Campaigned against slavery and for the promotion of women’s and workers rights. She toured the US giving countless speeches on the subjects of human rights.

Rosa Parks 1913-2005: Rosa’s refusal to give up her bus seat to a white man indirectly led to some of the most significant civil rights legislation of American history.

Anne Frank 1929-1945: Anne Frank’s diary reveals the thoughts of a young, yet surprisingly mature 13-year-old girl, who spent two years hiding with her family during the Nazi occupation in the Netherlands.

Malala Yousafzai 1997: A Pakistani schoolgirl who defied threats of the Taliban to campaign for the right to education. She survived being shot in the head by the Taliban and has become a global advocate for women’s rights.

Lifestyles: Food and Activity

Physical Education = Being physically active and having fun

Inspiring Lifelong learners through physical activity

1. Physical education should provide girls and boys with experiences in a variety of physical activities (i.e., fitness, sports, yoga, or outdoor practices), and help them construct meanings about the body that are not confined to ideals of appearance, strength, or power, but that assist them in constructing positive, meaningful, empowering, and confident physicality’s.

2. Physical education practices constructed with a critical pedagogy are essential to creating safe and trans-formative spaces which allow females to re-construct positive self-concepts, or resist dominant discourses, and to express themselves freely as confident and healthy beings.

3. Critical open conversations should help young people understand that being physically active is not a matter of performing ideal feminine or masculine body shapes and sizes or muscularity to achieve happiness and ideals of success, but a means to feel empowered, positive, and healthy about the body and the self.

A List of Artists Dealing With: Body Image, Gender, Race, Relationships, LGBT, Feminism

Barbra Kruger - Photography and Printmaking

Shawna Dempsey & Lorri Millan - Performance Artists

Jenny Saville - Painter

Kiki Smith - Sculpture, Installation, Printmaking

Louise Bourgeois - Sculpture, Installation

Gorilla Girls - Performance & Art Activism

Shirin Neshat - Performance and Installation

Parastou Forouhar - Installation

Maria Poythress Epes - Fibre and Installation

Miranda July - Director & Installation Artist

Shary boyle - Sculpture, Installation & Performance

Chitra Ganesh - Painter

Huda Lufti - Installation Artist

Cindy Sherman - Performance Artist & Photographer

Lorna Simpson - Installation

Martha Graham - Dancer

Debby Allen - Dancer

Yoko Ono - Performance Artist

Wangechi Mutu - Painter

Ana Mendieta - Performance Artist

Catherine Opie - Photographer

Keith Haring - Painter & Sculptor

Frieda Khalo - Painter

Andy Warhol - Painter, Printmaker, Sculptor, Photographer

Michael Jean Basquiat - Painter

Marina Abramovic – Performance Artist -

Orlan – Mixed Media & Performance Artist -

Evan Penny – Sculptor -

Sally Mann – Photographer -

Diego Gravinese – Painter -

Christian Hopkins – Conceptual Photographer – “Photography as a form of therapy for depression”

Black LGBT Community – Black Artists

California Arts LGBT Community

Lady Gaga - Most people don’t know that Lady Gaga is an artist. She is mostly adored by the LGBT community. She lived and studied in the New York underground scene at NYU and handmade most of her performance costumes. After her success she hired her own team of costume designers to help her create some iconic pieces with strong art influences. Such as ‘The Meat Dress”, which was originally done in 1987 by Canadian Artist Jana Sterbak.

Janelle Monae – Monáe, 26 always wears a somewhat androgynous outfit, what she calls her uniform: always a black jacket and pants, all her clothes are black or white and her hair is done up in a Fifties-style quiff. “When I started my musical career I was a maid, I used to clean houses. My parents—my mother was a proud janitor, my step-father who raised me like his very own worked at the post office and my father was a trash man. They all wore uniforms. And that’s why I stand here today in my black and white and I wear my uniform to honor them…This is a reminder that I have work to do, I have people to uplift, I have people to inspire,”

The Female and Art

Documentary in which feminist artist Tracey Emin talks about how Louise Bourgeois's artwork was an influential and founding female voice in the art world.

A video of a performance in which Yoko Ono sits passively and allows the audience to cut off her clothing. This piece deals with the ideas surrounding female ownership of identity and patriarchy.

A performance art piece in which Marina Abramovic subjects herself to a repetitive grooming task in order to present the absurdity of female beauty tropes.

In this video, Cindy Sherman talks about developing new characters and identities in order to explore her own identity while questioning archetypes and cultural stereotypes that already exist in society.