[Ed. – Get ’em while they’re young.]
A University of Michigan instructor recently claimed that preschool classrooms are rife with “heteronormativity” that perpetuates “inequalities related to gender.”
Heidi M. Gansen, a Ph.D. student who teaches sociology at UMich, advanced these claims in a July 14 article that examines the prevalence of “heteronormativity” in a set of nine Michigan preschool classrooms she visited.
Defining “heteronormativity” as a culture in which “heterosexuality is always assumed, expected, ordinary, and privileged,” Gansen then argues that the issue is especially important to her research because preschools contribute to the “reproduction of inequalities pertaining to gender and sexuality,” such as gender roles and gendered feelings.
“Preschool is a good place to begin this examination, because practices that facilitate heteronormativity in classrooms become more engrained in later years of schooling,” she explains.
Accordingly, Gansen spent ten months observing childhood behavior at a set of nine Michigan preschools, finding numerous ways in which heterosexuality is “produced” and “enforced” by students and teachers.
Playing “house,” for instance, is one area in which Gansen observed “heteronormativity” in the in the preschool setting, noting that only girls would imitate mothers while only boys would play fathers. …