Year 10 students enjoyed an interactive presentation with TIGER (Teaching Individuals Gender Equality and Respect) about gender equality, societal stereotypes and what it means to be a young person in the 21st century.
Two of our students, Ally Cheung and Elly Calaghan, later wrote about the talk, and what resonated with them:
“The lecture was really interesting. It covered the outdated and harmful stereotypes that continue to surround men and women in the modern world.
Stereotypes that society pervades – such as ‘men shouldn’t cry’ and women should care about their appearance and look ‘pretty’ above all else – were discussed during the talk. We were also told about the many negative effects of judging individuals by their gender or sexual orientation.
We found out that gendered bullying is perpetrated by both men and women of all ages, and therefore the consequences affect everyone.
The speakers dealt with the more controversial opinions calmly and respectfully, and encouraged to reflect on why exactly we have adopted certain beliefs as a society. It was great that pupils were provided with opportunities to ask questions, present our own opinions to the group, and consider why some stereotypes exist.
To colour this, we learned that suicide is the biggest killer of young men – men are three times more likely to die from suicide than women – which shows that the extreme pressures young men face in in today’s society are equally as dangerous as the pressures that young women are challenged with.
Other societal pressures were also discussed during the lecture – particularly that young girls feel obliged to remove body hair. We said that it's hard to tell exactly where these pressures come from, but the media does seem to be an obvious culprit.
In a world where the highest-paid celebrity of 2016 was Taylor Swift, who has the body of a supermodel and not a leg hair in sight, it is important to stress to young girls that they should decide what they want to do with their bodies, not a billionaire singer or their classmates.
The same is true for boys, who look up to actors such as Dwayne Johnson, who has never been shown to shed a tear and is known for his ripped physique.
However, the talk ended on a positive note. We were told that all have the ability to remove gender stereotypes and gendered bullying from everyday life, and that our futures are in our own hands.”