I think we can all agree that the American education system sucks. To be honest, I have learned more about history through TikTok than I ever did in history class.
In school, I was taught all about Christopher Columbus and his “amazing” accomplishments (the same guy that was bad enough to be executed by Spanish royalty during the Spanish Inquisition). We would spend almost a week just learning about this random guy who was a horrible person. But then spend maybe a couple of days talking about Black history (which was strictly about the Civil Rights Movement and maybe a little bit about slavery), a few days on the Holocaust (where we pretty much only talked about Hitler and went a tiny bit into the concentration camps) and a few more days about women’s history (which was literally just about their not so amazing involvement in the Civil Rights Movement).
History class, at least the way it is in America’s public school system, is racist, sexist and homophobic; I don’t think people can disagree with me.
Last month, there was a story about the need for more Black history in public schools. This time, I’d like to talk about the need for more women’s history in the classroom.
Here’s a little history for you (courtesy of my knowledge from World History last semester). In the beginning of humans (specifically the hunter-gatherer period), men and women worked together. They hunted with each other and fought together. There were rarely any children since civilization wasn’t a thing yet and they were constantly moving from place to place.
It wasn’t until a huge snowstorm across the world that humans settled down. When this happened, couples began having more children because they weren’t able to move to another place. When the ice and snow melted, many women were then forced to stay home to take care of their new children while the men went out to hunt. This is most likely where misogyny began.
In a lot of religious texts, women are hated on and treated like housewives or objects. That is unless it’s mythology. In Greek mythology, besides the odd bad situations with men or gods forcing women or goddesses to get pregnant, women were treated as equals to men. They fought together, they worshipped together and they worked together. Take Sparta for instance, their female warriors were predominantly better than their men. Though Sparta was a completely different mess all on its own.
During the witch trials, most of the time women were convicted just because they were women. If a woman had sex before marriage, guess it’s time for a witch hunt! If a woman was smart, guess it’s time to hang her! If a woman did anything remotely similar to a man, guess it’s time for a public drowning!
Did I learn any of this in public school? No. Instead, I learned about how Americans enslaved people of different races and forced Indigenous people to leave their land (while also killing and forcing themselves onto women and children).
These are things that need to be taught in history classes. Women are just as much part of history as men are. And those little girls in school should not just be taught about the men, they need to learn their own history too.