Makhonza School to re-open Tuesday, The Swazi Observer


Date: January 1, 1970
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Parents, teachers and educational officials meet to decide on the re-opening of a school where an ongoing dispute with the headmaster resulted in the school not re-opening when the school term started. The emphasis for the training is on the image which accompanies this story.
Parents, teachers and educational officials meet to decide on the re-opening of a school where an ongoing dispute with the headmaster resulted in the school not re-opening when the school term started. The emphasis for the training is on the image which accompanies this story.

This article may be used to:
  • Explore the changing roles of women and men in society captured through positive images which break gender stereotypes.
Trainer’s notes
 
How images construct and reinforce gender stereotypes

Images promote the hegemonic perspective of dominant masculinity: Most visual imagery in news media repeats, emphasizes and reinforces the concept of the dominant male. The “successful” male is often portrayed as assertive or aggressive, even violent; also rich and powerful.

Images define masculinity and femininity as separate and opposite when in fact they are mutually defining with a continuum of intervening events.
 
Images define and classify subjects in terms of perceived “success” and “failure” in meeting specific gender standards and models. This is especially problematic where reaching those standards turn out to be impossible.
 
Challenging gender stereotypes-conflicting messages
The image accompanying the Swaziland case study, ‘Makhonza School to re-open Tuesday’, challenges the stereotype , or generally-held belief that men are at work, or tired at night after a day at work, so they have little time or interest in attending school meetings, leaving this task to women.

Men are shown in this picture as concerned parents, but it is also important to note that the men feature here too because there is a key issue at stake and important decisions to be made about the opening of the school. Women are not featured in the image, although women too may have been at the meeting.

This image therefore shows men as parents who have an interest in education, but it also sends the message that only men are important when it comes to making important decisions, even in schools; and, the image misses an opportunity to show women and men in parenting, or to question the role of women and men in parenting if no women were present at the school meeting.
 
The language in the caption also refers to chairman as oppose to chairperson.

Exercise one: Scan the local media and look at the images of women and men used in the media. Discuss how:

  1. Images of women and men in the media often reinforce gender roles;
     

  2. Create stereotypes about where women and men should be in society
     

Exercise two: Using the case study, discuss the following:
  1. Do you think the image which accompanies the story and the caption are appropriate for the story?
     

  2. What message does the image send?
     

  3. How does this image break prevailing stereotypes?
     

  4. How does it reinforce gender roles?
     

Summary Session:
Review pointers on how images can re-enforce gender stereotypes.
  1. Review pointers on how images break gender stereotypes.


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