The other day in an adolescent class (we really didn’t have that many students), I allowed what was supposed to be a lead-in for a listening task to develop into a discussion (fight) about TV programmes.
Amazing the ire that something as utterly mindless as a programme like “Show Match” can inspire.
For the grateful uninitiated, “Show Match” is an Argentine… show… in which the contestants (usually a C-list celebrity female model) dances with a partner, discarding various items of clothing as she goes and is then judged by a panel on their performance, such as it is. It pulls in ratings of millions here, presumably due in no little part to the little clothes worn by the contestants.
Ok, whatever, that’s just the background – follow the link to make your own mind up and/or place value judgments (and trust me, this one is very clean in comparison to most!).
The point is that one of my students who was talking about a male dancer declared “it’s just so GAY for men to dance!”
It’s not the first time I’ve heard a comment like this in class and I have to admit to my shame that I’ve usually let it go by or even smiled – WHAT?? – why would I do that? Because I still have this secondary school urge to be “one of the gang” – accepted by the kids and not seen as a nerd (you’ve seen my blog pic – imagine that at age 13).
But this time was different.
I said, “why is it gay for a man to dance, and why would that be a problem anyway?” Came the reply, “because… it’s disgusting!” Again, pressed I, “why?”
The conversation then got serious, and no bad thing. The fact was that while most of the class had laughed at the “gay” comment, none of them seemed to have any real problem with anybody being gay at all.
I’m happy I did this. I’m happy that for the first time (I know, I’m ashamed) I didn’t allow myself to be “one of the gang”.
Don’t worry, this isn’t a “pat myself on the back” post… it’s just because I realised that when people’s preconceived ideas are challenged, they show themselves to be no more than hollow masks misguidedly put on to please peers. We’ve all done it. And I wasn’t preaching, honest, I was just asking “why?”
Similar experiences? Come one, you must have had one in pretty much every class!