|English engraving of the peoples of the world. via Wikipedia Commons|
Ever since I studied The Taming of the Shrew at the Folger Shakespeare Library in 2008, I've read Shakespeare's troublesome play as a character study, particularly of Kate. While many see the play as sexist and demeaning of women, I read it as social and familial commentary about the way a woman reacts to her home and cultural environment.
Finding a NPR episode of "All Things Considered" reinforces my reading. "How Stereotypes Can Drive Women to Quit Science" describes the way "stereotype threat" has such an impact of female scientists that their job dissatisfaction leads them to leave their profession.
Consequently, I decided to use the NPR text during my class's study of The Taming of the Shrew.
1. First, I led the class in a discussion of labels we can attach to the primary characters:
- Kate the curst
- Bianca the spoiled favorite child
- Baptista the frustrated father
- Stereotype threat occurs when one feels at risk and ultimately conforms to negative behaviors and expectations associated with a given stereotype.
- What percentage of what happens to us do we not remember and why is this important?
- What stereotypes about male/female speech have the researchers challenged?
- What did the researchers learn about men's and women's speech?
- What did the researchers learn about women in math and science professions in relation to talking to their male and female colleagues?
- What is stereotype threat?
- What did the researchers learn about stereotype threat and human behavior, particularly among men and women?
- Why is psychology important in thinking about stereotype threat?
- How does stereotype threat create a vicious cycle?
- How can this information inform our reading of The Taming of the Shrew?