Transcription

A Discussion Guide for Teachers and Parents

Table of Contents2We Are in the Midst of a Gender Revolution3Introduction5Understanding Yourself to Understand Gender6Gender Identity and Gender Expression: A Primer7What Science Tells Us About Gender8Shaping Gender in Childhood9Talking With Your Children About Gender10Helping Families Talk About Gender(from National Geographic Special Edition)11Gender and the Larger Culture13Danger and Discrimination for Girls Around the World14Next Steps15Additional Resources16Journeys in Film: Gender Revolution

We Are in the Midst of a Gender RevolutionBy National Geographic magazine Editor in Chiefthe U.S. and around the globe, individuals and organizationsSusan Goldbergare fighting to redefine traditional gender roles, whether it isGender is making headlines around the world.girls in war-torn Sierra Leone rejecting the cultural norm offemale genital mutilation and child marriage, men in SwedenIn October, the U.S. Supreme Courtmaking use of extended paternal leave after having a child, ortold a 17-year-old transgenderpeople who reject binary, boy–girl labels and find their truestudent that it will decide whetheridentity elsewhere on a gender spectrum.he has the right to use the boys’restroom at his Virginia highschool. In November, the populardating app Tinder announcedit was expanding its options forgender identification to nearly 40 choices, following in theThis is why we’re devoting the January issue of NationalGeographic magazine entirely to an exploration of genderissues—in science, social systems, and civilizations—and whywe decided to feature a transgender person for the first timeon the cover of our magazine: nine-year-old Avery Jackson.footsteps of Facebook, which now has more than 50 genderWe know our choice to do this may be criticized inoptions to choose among . Pew Research reports five federalsome quarters as sensational, or worse. And some of theagencies are collecting data about about gender identity. Andexperiences we document in the magazine and in our onlinejust last week the National Center for Transgender Equalitycontent are hard to write about; the pictures can be hard to(NCTE) released the results of a new survey that paints alook at. This is especially true in the stories about the lives ofdisheartening picture of the treatment of transgender people:girls in the developing world, and the revelations of brutalOne in 10 trans individuals experienced physical violencediscrimination and ostracism faced by transgender people.at the hands of a family member; even higher numbers leftschool to avoid mistreatment.But something profound is happening around gender,whether we choose to see it or not. We thought theseAt National Geographic, we have a nearly 130-year history ofstories needed to be illuminated. These are not the storiesbringing stories about cultures and science to the forefront.of celebrities in evening dresses on magazine covers, butThe evolution of our societal thinking about gender—as wellthose of regular people around the world whose choices areas newly revealed complexities about the science of gender—changing our societies. I commend them for their bravery inis no exception.letting us see into the good, and bad, of their lives.The story of gender plays out all around us. More andNot surprisingly, the 80 children we talked to in eightmore, celebrities are shining a spotlight on the subject.countries from the Americas to the Middle East, Africa toBut more quietly, our children, parents, teachers, medicalChina, were the most candid in reflecting our world back atprofessionals, and officials every day confront an array ofus. “The worst thing about being a girl is that you just can’tissues with gender at the center. Everywhere we looked, indo things that boys can do,” says Tomee War Bonnett, aJourneys in Film: Gender Revolution3

nine-year-old living on the Pine Ridge Reservation in SouthSusan Goldberg is a recipient of the Exceptional Women inDakota. This sentiment was expressed by girls worldwide—Publishing Award. A passionate advocate for the advancementusing different words and in different languages, but boundof women, Goldberg served as the first female managing editorby the same constraints. It breaks your heart, and it makesand executive editor of the San Jose Mercury News, the firstyou mad to hear the voices of these plain-spoken children,female editor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the first femalewho doubt their ability and their potential to a degree thatreporter to cover the State Capitol for the Detroit Free Pressshould have ended long, long ago.,and, in 2014, was named the first woman to run NationalAs the first female editor in chief of National Geographicsince its founding in 1888, I am proud of our role in bringinga discussion about gender to the forefront. You’ll find itacross all of our media platforms—print, digital, and in ouroriginal documentary, Gender Revolution: A Journey WithKatie Couric. Our award-winning news team will expand onthe coverage with videos, interactives, a glossary, and maps—including a first-of-its-kind map that takes a look at the legalityof gender change around the globe. And I hope our footprintas the number one non-celebrity brand on social media willGeographic magazine. Today, she serves in an expanded role asEditorial Director of National Geographic Partners, overseeingall of the company’s print and digital content globally. Goldbergconceived of and oversaw the development of “The GenderRevolution,” a comprehensive, cross-cultural, multiplatformcompendium of individual stories and analyses about everydaylife and challenges on the ever widening gender spectrum. TheJanuary “Gender Revolution” issue of National Geographicmagazine is on newsstands and online at www.natgeo.com/genderrevolution. You can follow Susan on Twitter.spark thoughtful conversations around the world.Now that we know XX and XY, and blue and pink, don’t tellthe full story, it is time to write a new chapter to ensure thatwe all can thrive in this world no matter what our gender—or decision to not identify a gender. That is why NationalGeographic has set out to tell the story of the gender revolution.4Journeys in Film: Gender Revolution

IntroductionIn 2017, National Geographic magazine and the NationalGeographic Channel are joining forces to help us allunderstand more about the meaning of gender. In bothdaily life and political discourse, gender has becomean increasingly frequent topic. The special edition ofNational Geographic magazine, Gender Revolution, andthe documentary film of the same name are efforts to allayconfusion and misinformation; they provide a wealth offacts, images, and ideas about gender and how it is expressedin our contemporary world.According to the World Health Organization,Gender refers to the socially constructed characteristics ofwomen and men—such as norms, roles and relationshipsof and between groups of women and men. It variesfrom society to society and can be changed. While mostpeople are born either male or female, they are taughtappropriate norms and behaviours—including how theyshould interact with others of the same or opposite sexwithin households, communities and work places. Whenindividuals or groups do not “fit” established gendernorms they often face stigma, discriminatory practicesor social exclusion—all of which adversely affect health.It is important to be sensitive to different identities thatdo not necessarily fit into binary male or female sexcategories.1This discussion guide for teachers and parents is not adiscussion guide on sex or sexual orientation. Rather, usedin conjunction with the magazine and film, it is a tool to helpyou understand the nature of gender and its ramificationsas we work together toward a more inclusive and tolerantworld.1 ing/gender-definition/en/Journeys in Film: Gender Revolution5

Understanding Yourself to Understand GenderThe first step in understanding gender is to assess your current understanding of the term. What have you learned fromyour experiences, from the people you have interacted with, from what you have read, from the culture that surrounds andinfluences you? Take some time to consider these questions: What prompted you to choose and read this magazine or see this documentary? What did you hope to learn? What are your earliest memories related to gender? How much pressure do these expectations impose? to impose its values before we are born, even in thegender would affect your life?way we decorate nurseries for babies. What has beenyour own experience? Do you generally choose gifts forchildren based on their gender? What impact might thisgrew older, and as the world changed around you? Werehave on the child? In particular, since children recognizeyour own experiences relating to your gender positive ortheir gender as early as two or three years of age, hownegative, or both?does it affect a child who does not self-identify withinConsider the question that was put to both GloriaSteinem and Sheryl Sandberg in the “3 Questions” pagesin the magazine: “What was a defining moment in yourthe male–female concept of gender? binary, is one gender dominant, or are the gendersHow have Gloria Steinem and Sheryl Sandbergof equal value, as in the yin-yang symbol in Chinesecontributed to our understanding of gender by the livesculture?they have lived and the positions they have taken? In some cultures, gender is seen as completely binary,a dichotomy. If your culture tends to view gender aslife, related to gender?” Gender is a social construct, and Western culture startsWhen was the first time you understood how yourHow did your understanding of gender develop as you What are your society’s traditional expectations for men? In other cultures, gender is seen as more of a continuum,What other women come to mind when discussinga spectrum of positions. What is your view now as yougender and particularly the status of women? Did thesebegin this discussion?women gain status by exemplifying expected genderroles, by expanding them, or by defying them? Think back to your study of United States history inhigh school or college. How fully integrated into thecurriculum was women’s or LGBT history? Judging fromyour own reading or experience, has the curriculum in atypical high school history course broadened since then?6Journeys in Film: Gender Revolution

Gender Identity and Gender Expression: A PrimerBefore we can talk about gender, it’s important to have theThe vocabulary of gender is constantly evolving. Note that itwords to use. That’s not always easy.can sometimes seem regional as well; “genderqueer” appearsWe adopt words from other languages when our ownlanguage is not sufficient; for example, we use the Germanwords Weltanschauung 1 and Schadenfreude 2 for certainconcepts for which there are no equivalent English words.to be more popularized in the South than in the North. Beopen to this changing linguistic landscape. What it so oftenmeans is simply, “You can’t put me in a box.” After reading “A Portrait of Gender Today,” canSimilarly, English words for computer terms find their wayyou define these terms in your own words? Why isinto other languages. Having the vocabulary is the first stepit important to have words to describe the variety ofto understanding; it embodies concepts we can’t discuss orgender expressions and identities?even think about otherwise. AgenderGender identityPronounsAndrogynousGender markerPuberty suppressionCisgenderGender nonconformingQueerGender binaryGenderfluidSexual orientationGender conformingGenderqueerTranssexualGender dysphoriaIntersexGender expressionNonbinaryWhy is it important to recognize nonbinary categories forgender? What are the gender categories that are leadingus away from a binary interpretation or understandingof gender? Why is it important to have the most accurate possiblewords to describe the variety of gender expressions andResources:National Geographic video of Gender Revolution:A Journey With Katie Couric“A Portrait of Gender Today,” in the frontsection of National Geographic Special IssueGender Revolutionidentities? For most of us, at least some of these gender terms willbe unfamiliar. Has your understanding of gender altered1 Literally, “world-view,” a comprehensive image of the universe and humankind’safter you have familiarized yourself with these terms?2 Literally, “harm-joy,” pleasure felt at the misfortune of someone else.Journeys in Film: Gender Revolutionplace in it.7

What Science Tells Us About Gender What explanations does the science of biology offer for the birth of children who are biologically neitherseem more open to a broader spectrum of possibilities.exclusively male nor exclusively female? What roles areResearch a little about the third-gender groups mentionedplayed by genes and hormones?in the article “Rethinking Gender.” How does each of thesegroups illuminate the continuum of gender experience?How has brain research added to our understanding ofHow is each integrated into the larger society?gender? Are the male and female brains significantlydifferent from each other, or do you think the research is inadequate to say? What does research say about thebrains of gender nonconforming individuals? Other cultures have not shared this binary mindset, butWhat additional questions about gender do you thinkscientists should study? How can we as a society expand our understanding ofWhy is the information from science and particularlygender to become more inclusive of those who do notbrain research important? How could scientificfall within the binary?information like this affect prevailing attitudes towardgender and gender identity? Puberty blockers are currently being given totransgender or questioning children to delay the onsetof physical traits that don’t match with their genderidentity. What are the effects of this policy? Would youconsider choosing thi