There aren't many secondary schools that have a Feminist Collective.
But ours does. And we're not mucking around.
We want to make a difference by creating a feminist teaching resource to be used in Australian schools.
The Fitzroy High School Feminist Collective class began its life in 2013.
At its heart is an inspiring and committed group of young women and men from years 8, 9 and 10, plus a couple of passionate adults.
The purpose of the class has been to create a safe space within which to explore a broad range of subjects related to gender inequality, and to enable an activist approach to tackling sexism and misogyny amongst teenagers.
Activist. That's a key word.
We did a lot of ranting when our class first began. But eventually we narrowed our focus down to two major issues that affect teenagers on a daily basis: the sexist and misogynist language that is used towards young women - especially the use of the word 'slut' - and the objectification of young women's bodies.
We decided to address these issues with an advertising campaign. So we came up with the ideas for our campaign and then worked with an award winning photographer and designers to transform them into hard-hitting posters.
One of the campaigns is called 'Sexism Stings' and it is about the impact of the word 'slut' on young women. The other is called 'What Objectification Does to the Body: An Illustrated Chart', and demonstrates the long-term results of objectification.
Our 'Sexism Stings' poster features a member of the Feminist Collective!
We intend to distribute the posters to Australian secondary schools with the hope of encouraging both students and teachers to think twice about 'Everyday Sexism'.
But posters aren't enough.
If we are to have a real impact, we need to teach people about the issues our posters address, and about sexism and misogyny more generally.
At the moment, that doesn't really happen in secondary schools. Young women - and the young men who support them - have to put up with sexism and misogyny, online and in real life, all of the time.
And we're all sick of it.
The problem with teaching teenagers about sexism is that teachers are busy. Really, really busy. And some of them don't know where to start with this stuff.
So, to help them, we need to design an accessible and engaging teaching resource to accompany our posters.
"I'm not a teacher. What exactly is a 'teaching resource'?"
Basically, it's a set of lesson plans that set out how to teach a class. It includes an outline of the objectives of each class and how to teach them, and it includes all of the resources that are needed for the class - clips, digital resources, handouts, activities, etc.
That way teachers don't have to worry about how to approach these issues, or find the time to prepare classes to address them. We'll have done all of the hard work.
In order to get our project off the ground, we need to:
- Print 500 A2 copies of our posters to a professional standard
- Purchase and distribute 250 Feminist Collective USB's, in 250 presentation boxes (they look great)
- Pay for time to design the lesson plans
- Create the digital resources to go in the pack (e.g clips, made by us, about issues that affect us)
- Source and create the other materials that form the content of the lessons
And yes, teachers still use USB's. And we want to reach as many of them as possible, so initially we're going to use them too, with a long-term goal of moving to password protected, online access.
We think this is a really important project.
Sexism and misogyny in adults was once sexism and misogyny in young adults.
And we want to start addressing that by provoking our audience to think about their own actions with a view to changing their behaviour, and potentially the behaviour of those around them.
You can be a part of making that happen too.
Thank you for taking the time to read about our project.
Briony and the FHS Feminist Collective
Risks and challenges
The main challenge that could arise for us with regard to our project would be getting it done according to our timeline.
The two components of that issue would be:
- Working around my job as a teacher and the time we have been allocated for our class (which is generous, but this is a big job nonetheless)
- Raising additional funds to launch and roll out the resource
We're already applying for funding to tackle the latter issue, and will address the issue of time by allocating whole days to preparing and working on the preparation of the resource, rather than attempting to fit the preparation in around ordinary school/work days.
There really aren't too many other risks involved!
We've begun to make contact with other schools about using the resource, and we've encountered an extremely positive reaction to it thus far. It's also a free resource, which makes it more attractive to schools and teachers alike.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (38 days)