Boys face compulsory feminism programs in state schools across Victoria John Masanauskas From: Herald Sun November 26, 2009 12:00AM
BOYS face compulsory feminism programs in state schools across Victoria in a major push to prevent violence against females.
Possible classroom activities include students acting out scenes of sexual coercion after which students would suggest more appropriate behaviour.
A VicHealth report for the state Education Department calls for teachers to be trained in gender, violence and sexual health issues so they would be comfortable discussing "taboo" issues.
But it would help if teachers could "make the program fun", the authors said.
The report says programs for all students should start at primary level and be reinforced across all year levels in subjects including drama, English, science and sport.
They would combat common attitudes among boys such as young women are either "good girls or sluts", the report said.
It said feminist theories were best at explaining the link between gender power relations and violence against women, and must underpin the programs.
But the authors of the "Respectful Relationships Education" report admitted there was considerable community hostility to feminism, even among teachers and students.
"However, a feminist conceptual framework is essential both to reflect research on violence in relationships and families and to anchor the political commitments of the program," they said.
Australian Family Association spokesman John Morrissey said boys were already getting feminised education due to the falling number of male teachers in schools. "I'm sceptical if boys will respond to it if it is dressed up in feminist language and ideology," he said.
"Strident feminist propaganda won't wash with boys."
Report author Dr Michael Flood admitted there was always the risk of a backlash, but said it was crucial that students were taught that sexist attitudes and unequal relationships between the sexes were central to explaining violence.
"We need to do that in ways that are careful and respectful and don't make boys in particular feel blamed and demonised for the problem," he said.
"Not by shoving capital 'F' feminism down their throats."
Education Minister Bronwyn Pike said four schools would run anti-violence pilot programs from early next year.
Anyone who has heard of Michael Flood knows what a big eunuch he is with his pro-feminist stance.