Women's Issues

This Super Sexist High School Handout Is Not As WTF As It Seems

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If you’re trying to teach your students how attitudes surrounding stereotypes have changed, you may want to give your substitute teacher the memo before he or she hands it out and causes an internet shit-storm.

There was a tweet making the rounds today about this handout given to students last year. The image on Imgur is titled, “This was given to a student by a teacher at Thomas Worthington High School THIS YEAR.” A little time on Google brought me to a story that explained that the teacher who dug the handout up for a lesson in stereotypes and how they have changed didn’t leave proper instructions for he substitute who ended up handing it out with no context. Whoops.


The thing is, it’s totally believable that this would make the rounds — which is why we are so ready to jump on an image like this and cry foul. Why should we assume it was a mistake when there’s still so much sexist garbage circulating on school campuses at all levels?

Just a few months ago,  The Toronto Star reported that a University of Toronto School of Management class circulated an assignment that asked students to help a fictional graduating business student decide between compensation packages at her upcoming job with Tiffany & Co. The assignment has the fictional female student turning to her husband for assistance because she’s “confused about the subtleties of the offer.”  It also said the student “really didn’t want any of those investment banking or consulting jobs,” and was “already dreaming of more little turquoise boxes on her bookshelf, where she already had quite a nice collection.” This was a college assignment for soon-to-be professionals.

Then there was the little girl who was asked to sort activities into gender columns for her third grade class. The activities included things like cooking, matchbox cars, war video games and jump rope. Wonder which columns the teacher though all those went? The awesome little girl jammed almost all the activities into a third column labeled “both” and was told by her teacher she was wrong. Ugh.

Regarding the sexist handout, I’m still giving the side-eye to a substitute teacher who didn’t question giving such a ridiculous handout to high school students. I mean – what exactly was the assignment then? To follow the absurdly sexist directives of the handout? And don’t even get me started on all the typos. Regardless, maybe these snafus would be a little less believable if they didn’t really happen so often.

(photo: Imgur)