Fear of ‘Disorder’? Resistance to and Fear of Female Advantage
This chapter aims to describe how the contextually dominant symbols of femininity and masculinity (for gender symbols see, for example, Harding, 1986) work to subvert gender equity pedagogy. I describe the process with examples from my own research where five female and four male teachers, during a threeyear period tried to educate 6-13-year-old girls and boys in gender equity. Our presupposition was that when teachers try to break existing gender power relations there would be moments of resistance among the pupils-especially the boys. Although this assumption was confirmed, during the research period we also became painfully aware how strongly we ourselves were affected by the dominant gender symbols and how teachers and researchers, more or less consciously, on some occasions tried to normalize the situation. To ‘normalize’ a situation is to act in ways that fulfil the meaning of femininity and masculinity in sympathy with the dominant discourse (Walkerdine, 1986; Bordo, 1990; Burns, 1998).