It was early morning one day in 2017 when the Lord’s Angel Longsuffering said to the Satan, “Where have you been?”
Then Satan answered Longsuffering and said, “Well, I had just set about my daily round of going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it? You know, going about like a roaring lion seeking whom I may devour? Standard stuff.
“But I made the mistake of starting at the Department of Sociology in the University of Michigan. Ask me why starting there was a mistake, radiant Longsuffering.”
“Oh, very well. Why was it a mistake starting to devour souls in a major university’s sociology department, dark Satan?”
“Because they stole my job! Not only do I not need to devour many souls at this or any elite university, but the people at these places are corrupting souls on their own! They’ve even sinking their fangs into children. They don’t need me any more! It’s, like, Farewell, Othello’s occupation’s gone. And after all I’ve done for them.”
Perhaps the Father of Lies had in mind UM’s Heidi M. Gansen, who has written the peer-reviewed paper “Reproducing (and Disrupting) Heteronormativity: Gendered Sexual Socialization in Preschool Classrooms” in Sociology of Education.
Gansen thinks that normal children acting in a normal fashion with each other and their teachers in preschools “facilitates the construction of gender”.
So perplexed was Gansen by normal, sane behavior on the part of kids and their teachers, that she set out to discover sources of, as she called it, “pervasiveness of heteronormativity”. Yes, “early socialization messages,” like allowing little girls to kiss little boys, “may contribute to the larger rape culture”.
In Gansen’s paper we learn scientists, working as only elite, well-funded scientists can, have discovered “Schools are heteronormative social contexts that often mirror the dominant beliefs and structures of society, including and especially the norms and behaviors associated with ‘acceptable’ sexuality…As a result, schools are critical sites in which dominant beliefs about sexuality and gender are (re)produced and enforced”. Who knew?
This stuff is scary. Indeed, “Hidden curricula” exist. There are “covert lessons that often act as means of social control,” Gansen warns.
Since “we know very little about how teachers’ practices inform or disrupt heterosexualizing processes in schools”, Gansen sat and watched what happened in several preschool classrooms. Here’s what she discovered.
In one class, “teachers often talked about two children, Carson and Lydia (both three years old), as if they were in a relationship.” Later, these two were observed playing house. We might be concerned that these two grow up to be adults and play the game for real.