tirsdag 7. september 2021

What I Learned From 10 Years Teaching Chinese Students About Gender

This week marks the start of the new school year. It also marks the first time in a decade I will be unable to teach one of my favorite classes. I first mapped out the syllabus for my “Gender and Media” course 10 years ago. An open elective, any student at my college could sign up, regardless of their chosen field of study. The course explored how certain gender constructions are perpetuated by the media, and, in teaching it, I sought to gain insight into how young people perceive issues related to gender, sex, and equality.

Of course, lesson planning changed somewhat over the past decade. Initially, I mainly focused on teaching basic theories of sex and gender; later, I expanded to cover a broader range of topics, including feminism and gay culture.

Yet the material didn’t change nearly as much as my students did. The first time I taught the class, my students were largely mute. Names of important scholars from China and abroad, such as Simone de Beauvoir and Li Yinhe, drew blank stares. And when I spoke about the current circumstances of gay and transgender people in China, students’ eyes widened with shock.