Feminist theory introduced in high school classrooms

Nov 3, 2015 at 1:25 a.m. ET

A school in Victoria has introduced a new subject to the curriculum. It’s called Fightback, and it's all about feminism.

The Fighback initiative was an idea born from the Fitzroy High School Feminist Collective, a group founded two years ago, which gets together to talk about things like the objectification of women on Facebook, being called bossy instead of assertive and eating disorders.

After creating a successful crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter, teacher Briony O'Keeffe is hoping to roll out free information packs so other schools can add feminist classes to their curriculum too.

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Briony says the intention of the course is to encourage young men and women to think more critically about sexism and how that might affect how they interact with their classmates or those who engage in sexist behaviour at school.

A USB, full of course content and information, will be sent out to other schools that want to take part, which includes lesson plans, digital resources, worksheets, class activities and video clips.

Fightback feminist class rollsout in Victoria school
Image: Kickstarter

The main areas the course focuses on are sexist language, particularly around the use of the word "slut," and also the objectification of women and their bodies.

A poster was even created to share the effects objectification has on women and young girls, which the group hopes to put up around the grounds and throughout other schools that want to get involved.

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Fightback feminist class rollsout in Victoria school
Image: Kickstarter

"If we are to have a real impact, we need to teach people about the issues our posters address, and about sexism and misogyny more generally," Briony's Kickstarter campaign reads.

"At the moment, that doesn't really happen in secondary schools. Young women — and the young men who support them — have to put up with sexism and misogyny, online and in real life, all of the time."

According to a sexism survey carried out by Plan International Australia, more than 75 per cent of young women and girls had received a sexist comment at some point, with 50 per cent saying that sexism has affected their career path. And that behaviour begins, and should end, at schools.

At the moment, three boys and around 10 girls have joined the Fightback class, which will be launched at the school on Nov. 26.

What are your thoughts on Fightback? Would you like to see it at your child's school? Share with us below.

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