Here you can find my final project for this class. It is my first ever video made 100% on my own and my first youtube post! I hope you enjoy!
i) Normative Narrative
When reading Sydney’s blog post Gender and comparing it to my own post Holding You in my Arms I found that even though our stories took place at very different points in our lives they were still a lot of similarities. Sydney in her story Gender talks about going to sign up for dance and her mom taking her, “we parked in front of a small building that had many mothers and daughters walking in and out of the door, I knew this was a place where I belonged.” Showing how dance is a female/feminine dominated sport. In my story Holding You in my Arms I talk about a stereotypical woman’s role of being a mother, being soft, kind, and nurturing, “Being a mother and raising a child of my own; such a stereotypical role as a female, but one I was beyond proud to fulfill in every aspect.” After reading Debbie’s blog post also titled Gender I found many similarities between it and my own post. “At last I held my baby in my arms and felt an indescribable joy that I could never replicate in any other way. My nine months of waiting was over. I held my cherished gift in the quietness of that moment and I will never be the same woman again.”
After reading all three of our stories the normative narrative that really stood out to me was the female role of being feminine, graceful, and motherly. With Sydney’s story about dance and the graceful feminine movements a dancer makes and the role of being a soft caring nurturing mother as told in both my story and Debbie’s.
ii) Disrupting Normative Narrative
Even having been able to find the normative narrative of females being graceful, soft, gentle, feminine, and motherly, all three stories also go to speak against this stereotype as they all talk about the strength that does along with being “female”. Sydney talks about the strength needed to be a dancer. “Here we learned to be strong, powerful, motivated, encouraging, thriving, balanced young women.” “Dance helped me realize who I was, how powerful my body really is, and how empowering other women is very important always.” in her story Gender. In my post Holding You in my Arms I talk about a moment in my life where I felt very powerful as a woman, “It made me feel so powerful as a woman to be able to create this life and bring it into the world.” In Debbie’s story Gender she talks about the strength, courage, and calm needed even with all of the fear of everything going on around her. “But amidst my underlying fear, I felt brave and determined.” Even know what was happening she was still able to summon up the strength to deliver her baby on her own terms and to do so safely. “However, I still had a job to do and I didn’t think about the danger surrounding the situation.”
To me our stories show that it doesn’t matter your gender you should be free to be who you want to be. In this case we are three strong woman. Showing our strengths in different ways, one as a dancer, and the others as mothers. Even with fitting into the stereotype of being feminine as the media portrays all three of us were still able to be strong, and have the courage to do what we wanted to do showing a more “masculine” quality. “corporate produced popular culture has become a more pervasive institution in our lives through multiple points of entry such as advertising, sponsored curriculum in schools, and mass media.” “socializing girls into femininity (nurturing, caring, beauty play) and boys into masculinity (aggressive, violent, and physical play).” (Sensoy & DiAngelo. p 106) By not being afraid of fitting slightly into these norms or stereotypes and at the same time breaking the mold by showing our strength we are helping people to see that it is okay to be who you are no matter what society tells you you should be.
Sensoy, Ö, & DiAngelo, R. J. (2017). Is everyone really equal?: SECOND EDITION. An Introduction to Key Concepts in Social Justice Education. New York: Teachers College Press
Some people don’t see gender specific roles as something that comes up in today’s society. Sadly it still plays a major role in our lives. Working in childcare I can already see gender roles emerging with things as simple as “boy colours and girl colours”. As simple as this seems it sets a stage for future learning and categorizing genders into specific types of roles, in turn making children afraid to challenge these concepts for they could be seen as different or as an outsider. Gender norms teach us how we should act, what careers we have to choose from, right down to how we should style our hair and dress. “Toys amplify rigid gender roles, socializing girls into femininity (nurturing, caring, beauty play) and boys into masculinity (aggressive, violent, physical play).” quoted from the textbook Is everyone really equal? (Sensoy & DiAngelo. p 106) states one of the many ways children are exposed to gender roles at such young ages. The book also talks about the medias influence and advertising, “virtually everything in advertising is gendered, furthering the strict division between men and women and their roles in society,” (Sensoy & DiAngelo. p 110)
So how do we as educators help shape young minds in the direction of freedom from these gender myths so they are able to achieve their dreams and not be tied down by societal views on gender roles? One of the biggest things we can do is take off the blinders and accept that these false statements of gender do exist and help to give children the tools and confidence to challenge them. By providing a positive roll model in ourselves and exposing children to non gender specific material we can help guide them to make decisions for themselves rather than what the media says they should choose.
Sensoy, Ö, & DiAngelo, R. J. (2017). Is everyone really equal?: SECOND EDITION. An Introduction to Key Concepts in Social Justice Education. New York: Teachers College Press
As I walked in the door and searched around for the king size beds I was so excited to find the perfect one. In my mind I was picturing what they would look like in the master bedroom of our new home. At first all I could see were couches and chairs, it was hard not to get distracted and try them out as they looked so comfortable. We continued into the store and finally came across the beds. The king size beds were easy to pick out, as they were so much larger. I sat down on the first bed I found and looked around the rest of the store as I waited for Jordan to test out other beds. I noticed that as people came in the door they were greeted by employees from the store. I looked around again and saw that everyone was being helped by an employee from the store, except for us. I also noticed that everyone else in the store was “well dressed” and seemed to be in their late 30’s. It was a Saturday and we had opted to wear our comfortable lounging clothes, I felt it made sense as we were shopping for a bed.
Jordan had finished wandering around and came over to the bed I was trying out, “has anyone asked to help you?” I asked, “no one has even looked at me.” “Nope,” he said sounding very annoyed, “I feel they think we can’t afford anything in their store.” We went up to the service desk and finally found an employee to talk to. We showed him the bed we wanted and the mattress to go with it.
“Did you want to look at any other beds before you decide?” he asked, motioning towards the smaller and less expensive beds. “No we want this one please.” Jordan said bluntly pointing again to the bed we had picked out, “we’ve already looked at all of the other beds.” The employee nodded and led us towards one of the desks. We sat down, he pulled out the paper work and started showing us the payment plans available. He emphasized the ones that were stretched over longer periods of time making the bed set easier to pay off and easier to afford. “We are just going to pay in full.” my husband said handing him our MasterCard. The employee took the card from Jordan’s hand and starting inspecting it, it looked as though he was making sure it was a real card. He slowly and carefully put our information into the computer, he looked worried when he submitted it, but had a sudden look of relief when the transaction was approved.
He happily handed over the completed paper work and showed us where to sign, informed us of the delivery date, and congratulated us on our purchase. He then handed us his business card and said if we were ever needing anything to come back and find him and he would be more than happy to help us out. It was interesting to see such a change in the way he treated us now that he realized we could afford our purchase.
Just because they allow you to walk in the door doesn’t mean they see you as worthy of being there or worth their time. We were treated poorly due to the fact that they didn’t think we were the proper class to be shopping in their store. I felt as though we weren’t real people as they didn’t even acknowledge we were there. I was appalled at their behaviour and looking back, wish I had gone somewhere else where all people are treated with respect no matter the “class” they are believed to belong to.
I lay in bed propped up on pillows, exhausted and sore from doing the thing I have always dreamed of doing. It made me feel so powerful as a woman to be able to create this life and bring it into the world. Being a mother and raising a child of my own; such a stereotypical role as a female, but one I was beyond proud to fulfill in every aspect. I was already dreaming of his future and how I would nurture him, teach him about life, and encourage him to reach for the stars and achieve his biggest goals in life.
I could hear him breathing as he lay on my chest, wrapped safely in a warm soft blanket. He was so light laying on me, a whole six pounds and three ounces curled into a tiny ball, he felt like a tiny pillow. I looked around the large double room we were fortunate enough to have to ourselves. The room was stark white, plain, nothing exciting about it at all, but that didn’t matter. I didn’t even care that my husband had gone home to change and sleep, leaving me on my own to care for our brand new baby. To me this meant I didn’t have to share our precious little miracle, our perfectly beautiful son. His nose was so tiny like a cute little button, never had I seen such small fingers and toes. I pressed my finger into the palm of his hand, he reflexively grabbed on tight, his grip so strong. His hand was cold, I pulled up the blanket and snuggled him in closer making sure he was warm.
It feels like I’ve waited my entire life for this exact moment, to hold this tiny baby safe in my arms. I soaked in every second of being with him marveling at how tiny and perfect he was, his scent, the quiet sounds of him squeaking as he slept, and how right it felt to have him with me. Our bond with each other was instant and came so naturally to me. I wondered if this was how all moms felt when they held their first born child. So little energy left that you could barely move but bursting at the seems with an overwhelming feeling of joy you could hardly contain it.
The door opened, it was Jordan. He walked in looking refreshed from his nap, ready to hold his new baby boy. I cuddled him for a bit longer before carefully placing him into his dad’s outstretched arms. He sat beside the bed with a smile on his face looking down at Gabriel I cried a little from all of the emotions flowing through me. His pride and love for his son showed very clearly in his eyes. I watched the two of them together, they both seemed so comfortable.
In this moment I felt like I was perfectly playing the role of a woman, watching over her family, loving them with every fiber of her soul. I felt like it was now my job to be the glue and hold us all together, together as a perfect little family should be.
It was the first day of kindergarten, my neighbour, and best friend, had moved to Salmon Arm, BC that summer leaving me to face a whole new class filled with children I had never met before. Being an introvert and extremely shy, this was absolutely terrifying for me. I found my locker right away as they were all labeled with our first names; this made me feel better knowing I would have a locker buddy and wouldn’t be all on my own. After putting my outdoor things away I turned around to look for a place to sit. The room seemed so big; there was a play kitchen, a clear water table filled with water and toys (I loved playing in water and was very excited to try it out), and five tables in the middle with a desk for the teacher beside them against the wall which had many colourful bulletin boards ready and waiting for our creative art work to be displayed on. I was comforted to find my name on a desk; once again there wasn’t a risk of having to be alone or being rejected when asking someone if I could sit with them, the decision had already been made for all of us. I sat down and arranged my school supplies on my desk and looked around at all of the other children. I noticed a girl at my locker putting her things away just as I had, she must be my locker buddy, “Sarah”, I had thought to myself as I recalled her name on the sticker next to mine. Sarah had beautiful dark skin and dark hair; I noticed she was the only one in the class that had skin that was a different colour than my own. I kept watching her in the hopes that she would be at the same table as me, maybe we could be friends. When she was finished at our locker, she went and sat at another table; I felt disappointed that I didn’t get to sit with my new locker buddy. I had been excited to tell her how she had the same name as my cousin.
Our teacher stood up in front of the class, “Good morning!” she said in a warm, cheerful, and inviting tone. I looked up at her and smiled as some of the children responded in unison, “Good morning!” She talked about all of the areas in the room we could play in, the library where we would go together to borrow books, the gym, the bathroom, and most importantly the playground, where we got to play outside during recess. I noticed everyone was wide eyed and smiling when she mentioned it.
All of a sudden the bell was ringing loudly for recess and everyone quickly walked over to their lockers putting on their outdoor shoes, getting ready to run outside to play on the playground with their new friends. As I reached my locker I saw Sarah already putting on her shoes. “Do you want to play together?” I asked her. “Yes! I want to go on the bridge on the play structure, I saw it when I got here.” she said as she grabbed my hand. Together we ran out the door straight for the bridge. We sat beside each other on the bridge with our legs dangling over the edge. She told me about how excited she was to start school and meet new friends. I told her how I was scared to meet new friends, about my cousin with the same name as her, and about my cats; I loved my cats.
Meeting Sarah is the first time I noticed someone with a different skin colour, she happened to be the only one in our class that had a different skin colour. To me this was just a fact that didn’t change my opinion of her in any way. She was a kindergarten student just as I was; she was very kind and accepting and that’s all that mattered to me. Having a best friend with Apert syndrome has made me accepting of differences starting at a young age, no matter what those differences are and has made me thankful that it is such an integral part of who I am.
I drove out of our crescent and immediately noticed balloons, crowds of people, and a bouncy castle in the parking lot of the church across the street. I remembered getting a flier in the mail a while back announcing a carnival in our community; and being disappointed as it was during my sons nap time and we would have to miss out. I had tossed the flier into the recycle bin and didn’t give it a second thought. Turning another corner towards the grocery store a fire truck came into view. Gabriel who decided to go on a nap strike today exclaimed excitedly from the back seat, “Wow. Big truck!” After having the most horrible week I had zero control over my emotions and tears start to fill my eyes as Gabriel’s happiness spilled into my heart. I made the split second decision to stop for a quick visit. As I took Gabriel out of the car I held him so he could see the fire truck. “Look Gabriel, it’s the firetruck!” He bounced in my arm and squeaked, pointing towards the truck.
As I started walking across the field I can hear screams of excitement from the bouncy house and felt the hot sun beating down on my face. I looked over and noticed that the firefighters were starting to pack up their truck, I heard one of them say “One last photo,” as an excited little boy climbed onto the front seat. I started walking faster so Gabriel could at least see the truck and wave as they leave. I took out my phone in the hopes of getting a selfie of the two of us with the truck in the background. I was almost there when one of the firefighters saw us, he looked at our faces and smiled kindly waving us over. “Let’s do one more,” he said as he reached for my phone. I thanked him repeatedly as I fought back overwhelming tears of happiness and quickly jumped up to the truck holding Gabriel in my arms. “Hey little guy,” he said smiling trying to get Gabriel to look for the photo. “What’s his name?” he asked. “This is Gabriel.” I proudly said hugging my rainbow baby tightly and kissing him on his tiny cheek. The firefighter waved, “Hi Gabriel!” Gabriel finally looked long enough for a photo.
“Thank you so much for waiting and taking the time to take our photo, it means so much to me,” I say as he handed me my phone, once again I’m fighting back tears. He smiled, hopping into the truck. I get down from the truck and quickly moved out of the way so we didn’t keep them any longer. Gabriel and I stood waving as the truck started to drive away. They honked, Gabriel jumped a bit startled from the loud sound, but then laughed, smiled, and waved as he yelled, “bu bye truck!” “Good bye!” I said joining Gabriel waving. “Daddy is going to be so excited to hear about the fire truck Gabriel. We will have to show him our picture when we get home from shopping.” I said looking at him. He reached around my neck with his arms and gave me a big warm hug squeezing me close with his tiny hands. “Mommy, Daddy!” he yelled smiling.
In this simple and brief moment, having experienced this kind gesture I felt so happy and very much at home; to me home is a feeling not a place. Knowing I have my rainbow baby in my arms and such a beautiful country to live in; a place where I know my family is free to be who they want to be. Today, my son and I had the privilege of meeting real Canadian heroes.