For decades there has been much discussion regarding relationships between two people. While some will definitely say yes and others no, in examining heterosexual relationships, can men and women be “just” friends without the relationship being intimate? How might this change if one partner is attracted to the other? Does the relationship need to be negotiated from the start? How might this differ or not in same sex relationships?
Week 6: Gender disparities in health
The complexity of gender differences in health (i.e., men’s lower life expectancy and women’s greater morbidity) extends beyond notions of either social or biological disadvantage. Gaps remain in understanding the antecedents of such differences and the issues this paradox raises regarding the connections between social and biological processes.
Week 7: Sexual Harrassment
Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, Charlie Rose, Al Franken, Louis C.K, Ben Affleck, Matt Lauer. This is just a tiny sample of the growing list of men who have been accused of sexual harassment or sexual assault in recent weeks. Same-sex and women harassing men also exists. Many, though not all, of these people have been publicly terminated or asked to resign from their positions.
It is no secret that powerful people sometimes abuse their power, and that this often leads to sexual abuse or harassment. What’s new is that people who hadn’t felt comfortable coming forward before—mostly, but not exclusively, women—are feeling empowered to do so now, and the public is finally seeing these men being held accountable for their actions.
Since this is happening en masse, and since these men are very high-profile celebrities, it is everywhere in the news. Our students are probably hearing about this on a daily basis, so it is vital we address it in our classrooms. Whether we initiate the discussion or the conversation develops naturally from a student comment or question, there are some important things to consider when dealing with such a sensitive topic.
If the conversation about sexual harassment and assault doesn’t come up organically, there are a number of ways to incorporate it into your classroom. Some teachers may prefer to explicitly pause the normal curriculum to have a discussion about this important topic. Others may make it part of a current events or social justice unit, and still others might prefer to frame the discussion with historical context. Since these allegations have everything to do with power, this discussion can be related to almost anything: who has power and who doesn’t, how those with power wield it, what they feel they can get away with and how those with even more power cover it up. Historical figures, literary characters, political leaders and the like can all provide an excellent segue into talking about these current, real-life allegations.
· 1. How does having power affect one’s sense of privilege? How might that lead to oppression or abuse?
· 2. What might inspire survivors of abuse to come forward?
· 3. What has to happen for us as a society to take these allegations seriously and create a better world where these things happen less and less?
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