ANTI-GENDER IDEOLOGY IN EDUCATION POLICY-MAKING, AND ACTIVIST RESPONSES TO THE DEMONIZING OF THE CONCEPT OF GENDER IN HUNGARY
CEU-Democracy Institute / Labrisz Lesbian Association, Hungary
In Hungary, a neo-conservative populist autocratic (or so-called ‘illiberal’) regime was introduced by the current government in 2010, of which discursive and political interventions in gender relations are one of the central pillars. The field of education has been heavily affected by ongoing ‘reform’ undertaken by this regime, driving towards full centralization, ideologically-based content regulation and revocation of autonomy, and also by ‘anti-gender’ communication and policies. The ongoing revision of relevant legislation, the National Core Curriculum and subject curricula clearly aims at strengthening traditional gender roles, gender dichotomy and complementarity and the invisibility of non-normative gender and sexual subjectivities. In the first part of this paper, I will present an overview of educational policy-making in Hungary, with specific focus on how neo-conservative populist political visions of gender relations are manifested in the regulation of learning contents in primary and secondary education.
In the second part of the paper I will introduce an example of civic response to anti-gender ideology. Fairyland is for Everyone was published in September 2020 by the NGO Labrisz Lesbian Association. The book includes 17 rewritten well-known fairy tales, mostly in contemporary settings, featuring LGBTQ+ and gender-nonconform characters and heroes from disadvantaged ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds. The stories address a range of social and human rights themes including disability, discrimination, social justice, poverty, domestic violence, child adoption, gender change and same-sex love, and aim to provide a pedagogical tool for teachers and parents for discussing such sensitive social themes with children. After its release, the book became the target of homophobic and anti-gender attacks by politicians and pro-government journalists. At the same time, the book became a bestseller, galvanized significant public support from parents, teachers, experts, celebrities and book retailers, and raised international publishers’ interest. It became a symbol of resistance against oppression, stigmatisation and discrimination in an increasingly hostile public environment towards LGBTQ, Roma people, people with disabilities and other vulnerable groups on one side, and a demonized symbol of the spreading of “gender craze” on the other side. It has also created a niche in the Hungarian children’s book market, in which the publication of similar children’s books are planned to follow. I will reflect on the public discourses around gender, sexuality, children, and the ‘protection of children and families’ which emerged in the wake of Fairyland’s publication in the current intolerant, homo- and transphobic, anti-gender political and cultural climate of the country, from an activist and academic perspective.
GENDER TRAINING IN PRE-PRIMARY EDUCATION: HINDERING & RESISTANCE FACTORS. A LOGBOOK OF AN EXPERIENCE
Università degli Studi di Milano, Italia
This proposal stems from a research project in the field of Gender Equality and Diversity in educational contexts of early childhood.
The research and training project that has allowed this reflection started in a historical and social moment so-called of re-genderization (Abbatecola & Stagi 2017), a resurgence of discourses and definitions about gender issues defined in a binary way, where gender education is seen as a threat to the heterosexual gender order (Prearo & Garbagnoli 2018) that threatens the growth of children, and where the theme of childhood assumes political and moral connotations (Cook 2017).
Especially, part of the project was aimed at training educators and pedagogists active in educational contexts of early childhood (0-6 years), focusing on the fundamental role of gender practices (Poggio & Selmi 2012) within workplace and organizations (Martin 2006; Bruni et al. 2005; Acker 1992). In fact, the gender dimension, being dynamic and relational, assumes the shape of practices, both regarding the social actions of everyday life and professional activities. The ‘doing gender’ (West & Zimmerman 1987) of educators is hardly separable from the daily work practices, being the object of the work of education, the socialization process of children.
The project, based on a network of universities, associations, research institutions and governmental institutions, saw a sudden adjustment when political elections led right-wing parties in charge of the project, by giving place and voice to anti-gender claims.
The main objective of this contribution is a critical revise of the consequences that reactionary institutional political forces can have in giving political agency to anti-gender issues and, thus, hindering research projects in the field of gender and diversity in education (Selmi 2015).
Moreover, starting from ethnographical notes collected, rethinking the role that gender training courses can have for professions, such as educators, strongly defined by specific gender performances.
Abbatecola, E., Stagi, L. (eds.) (2017). Pink is the new black: Stereotipi di genere nella scuola dell’infanzia. Rosenberg & Sellier.
Acker, J. (1992). Gendering organizational theory. In A, J., Mills & P., Tancred (eds). Gendering organizational analysis. Sage.
Bruni, A., Gherardi, S. & Poggio, B. (2005). Gender and Entrepreneurship: An Ethnographic Approach. Routledge.
Cook, D. T. (2017). Childhood as a moral project. Childhood, 24(1), 3–6.
Garbagnoli, S., & Prearo, M. (2018). La crociata anti-gender: dal Vaticano alle manif pour tous. Kaplan.
Martin, P.Y. (2006), Practising Gender at Work: Further Thoughts on Reflexivity. Gender, Work & Organization, 13: 254-276.
Selmi, G. (2015). Chi ha paura della libertà? La così detta ideologia del gender sui banchi di scuola. AG About Gender-Rivista internazionale di studi di genere, 4(7), 263 – 268.
West, C., & Zimmerman, D. H. (1987) Doing gender. Gender Soc, 1,125-151.
SEXTING: MINISKIRT IN CYBERBULLISM? A DIFFERENT WAY TO PREVENT AND COMBAT GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE AT SCHOOL
1Antiviolence centre La Nara, Italy; 2INDIRE – the National Institute for Documentation, Innovation and Educational Research
Elisa Maurizi (Operator in Antiviolence centre for women and Teacher), Daniela Bagattini (Independent Researcher)
Online violence is firmly anchored into gender-based violence, but educative interventions’ trend is too often focusing on use, abuse and risks of digital media, both in school plans, public debate or academic field.
Risk is a stigmatization of sexting and as a consequence, a stigmatization of those people who practice sexting, even in the form of safe sexts as a way to express sexuality: sexting risks to be assumed as the miniskirt in cyberbullism, a way to blame sexters instead of identifying violent behaviors and violent authors.
There are though other ways to approach the topic, by acknowledging a social-cultural context of cyberbullism that takes into account a careful discussion on structural roots and their continuum of gender-based violence.
In our work we will take into account the way to approach the theme of online/offline violence with teen-agers (14-18 years old) adopted by Antiviolence Centre La Nara when invited from school representatives of students in secondary schools (mostly highschools) in the district of the town of Prato, Italy. Time ad space can change because the activities have taken place both during school class and in the space of self-management organised by students.
A case study under a gender perspective was proposed: the analysis of a real story of online violence in continuum with offline violence, with an author of violence sharing intimate photos on social network without ex partner’s consent.
An open debate was inspired by the proposal of the case study, in some cases forerun by a survey to discuss and answer in small groups of students.
Instead of most common methods inspired by paternalism towards expressions of sexuality and obsolete conception of separation between “real life and virtual life”, the use of a different methodology has shown that it’s possible to promote an in-depth discussion with all-gender students about sexuality and equal relations. On the other side a serious reflection was developed from a bottom-up discussion, on identifying new forms of gender-based violence and their connections with the traditional ones.
Bagattini,D., Calzone,S., Pedani,V. (2018). Cyberbullismo e Programma Operativo Nazionale: un’opportunità per le scuole. Media Education. Studi, ricerche, buone pratiche, vol. 9 (2), pp. 183-205.
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le donne e le ragazze, http://eige.europa.eu/sites/default/files/documents/
Migliorato, R., Allegro, S., Fiorilli, C., Buonomo, I. Ligorio, M.B. (2018) “Sexting: uno studio esplorativo su adolescenti italiani”, in QWERTY 13, 2 (2018) 66-82
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Journal, 5, 164-177, https://ojs.uniroma1.it/index.php/mediascapes/article/
WHEN MILITIA CHRISTI MOTHERS OCCUPY SCHOOLS. THE IMPLICATIONS OF THE ANTI-GENDER CRUSADE IN THE EXPERIENCE OF EDUCARE ALLE DIFFERENZE NETWORK
1Educare alle Differenze, Italy; 2Università degli Studi di Bergamo; 3Sapienza, Università di Roma
In 2014, the first edition of Educare alle Differenze (EAD) took place. A national meeting born out of the need for three associations working in the field of gender education and combating homosexual-lesbian-bi-transphobic discrimination, to speak out and present a united front in the face of the mounting attacks by "no-gender" groups on the gender education projects then in place.
An experience which has grown over the years and which gave rise to the EAD network and the association of the same name. The plurality of positions, educational and professional roles that coexist within the network has allowed, over the years, to collect a range of experiences and to articulate a reflection on the impact that "the anti-gender crusade" (Garbagnoli, 2014; Garbagnoli, Prearo, 2018) has had, and still has, on educational and training interventions, and on research concerning gender education in schools in the Italian context.
This path will be presented here on the basis of the experiences and positions of the two speakers, who are militant subjectivities involved in research and training.
An attempt will be made to highlight the implications that the "anti-gender" cultural backlash (Selmi, 2015) has had, and still has, on the processes of educational projects design, selection and self-selection of educational contexts, on the negotiation (or renunciation) of languages, as well as on the recurring questioning and claiming of the political value of gender and differences education.
As a form of political action (Britzman, 1995; Bryson, de Castell, 1993; Ellsworth, 1989; hooks, 2020), education to differences proposed by EAD is an essential practice and perspective for questioning the cis-heterosexist and cis-heteronormative system of oppressions and privileges (Borghi, 2020) that the "anti-gender" movements try so hard to preserve.
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hooks, b (2020). Insegnare a trasgredire. L’educazione come pratica della libertà. Milano: Meltemi. 
Garbagnoli, S. (2014). «L’ideologia del genere»: l’irresistibile ascesa di un’invenzione retorica vaticana contro la denaturalizzazione dell’ordine sessuale. AG About Gender, 3(6), 250-263.
Garbagnoli, S., Prearo, M. (2018). La crociata “anti-gender” dal Vaticano alla Manif pour tous. Torino: Kaplan.
Selmi, G. (2015). Chi ha paura della libertà? La così detta ideologia del gender sui banchi di scuola. AG About Gender, 4(7), 263-268.