I was recently taken aback by my realization about how schools enact gendered literacy during a conversation with my nephew. My niece, who had been sitting at the table writing in her diary, asked my nephew why she never sees him writing in his diary. My nephew appeared to be completely confused as to why she would ask him that. I thought that perhaps it was because he is a very private individual and writes his thoughts down when he is alone.
I was completely wrong.
After a minute of staring at my niece, his sister, in disbelief. He told her that in his class girls write in diaries and boys write in journals. He said that while he has many girls who are friends, he is not a girl and therefore, does not write in diaries.
My mouth dropped.
I took the opportunity as a chance to attempt to undo some (who knows how else his teacher is enacting gendered literacies) of the bias that I witnessed.
This is a very interesting concept of how schools and teachers are enacting gendered literacy and it goes far beyond the simple distinction made between a diary and a journal. It also brings into question the literacy gap apparent between school-aged boys and girls.