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The Lightbulb Moment

October 11, 2011

For the first time ever, I have more male students in my classes than female students. In one class in particular, where I have 2:1 ratio, I feel that I spend a lot of time and energy on classroom management. The discussions focus on deconstructing the socially constructed images around race, class, and gender and the students need a lot of assistance to stay on task. It is obvious that only a few of them are keeping up with the assigned readings but they are working hard to meet my deadlines. I have a zero tolerance policy for unexcused absences and a no-late paper policy.

Today we looked at the work of Beyonce (“Put a Ring On It“), Rihanna (“Rude Boy”), and Erykah Badu (“Window Seat” and “Tyrone“) and had a very interesting discussion on what it means to be a feminist and what it means to objectify women. A couple of the guys argued that if a women dresses like Beyonce does in the video or says what Rihanna said in the song – why shouldn’t they treat them like it seems they want to be treated. This is where the conversation began to get interesting because it was obvious that they enjoyed Beyonce (in fact a few of them called her a musical genius; a superstar; sexy beyond compare) and Rihanna (one guy called her a singing hanger); they were very uncomfortable with Badu, both when she stripped (a few were uncomfortable with seeing her body – the tattoos in particular) and when she sang “Tyrone.” What a day…

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