In January 2022, many were surprised to see news reports about a new “Barbie” made in the likeness of Ida B. Wells, the legendary African American journalist and anti-lynching activist. While doll collectors rejoiced to learn that Mattel made a new addition to its Inspiring Women Series of Barbies, many weren’t aware that the series even existed. Though this subject may seem tangential to the concerns of middle and high school educators, the emergence and evolution of Barbie provides meaningful insight into changing conceptions of gender, race, and education—as well as the role that educational objects like dolls play in young women’s development today.
Here at Facing History, we see awareness months as opportunities to deepen our knowledge of and attention to the histories and contemporary experiences of historically marginalized communities. However, the focus on celebrating these communities over one particular month can further marginalize the very experiences we are hoping to elevate. With this in mind, what follows is an invitation to engage with important themes raised by Women’s History Month this March
and throughout all of the months of the year.
The #MeToo movement entered popular consciousness in 2007 when long-time activist Tarana Burke's work gained wide currency across the United States and world. But the #MeToo movement did not come out of nowhere and the nuances are important material to teach in the classroom. Below are three new books that have been released in the last year that address the ongoing struggle of women against gender violence. These include a memoir written by Anita Hill, a memoir written by Tarana Burke, and a text that connects the U.S.-based #MeToo movement to broader and ongoing fights for women’s rights around the globe. Below is promotional text excerpted from material offered by each book’s publisher:
At Facing History and Ourselves, we value conversation—in classrooms, in our professional development for educators, and online. When you comment on Facing Today, you're engaging with our worldwide community of learners, so please take care that your contributions are constructive, civil, and advance the conversation.