What Happens When High School Boys Are Treated Like Women in Congress

Did you know that Congress is made up of 80% men?

This underrepresentation of women causes big problems – like when cisgender men get the majority vote on policies about reproductive rights.

This new video by SoulPancake makes a good point by turning the tables. High school teacher Nicholas Ferroni staged a focus group of students voting on new school policies.

That seems simple enough – except that the group was made up primarily of girls, and the policies they voted on gave boys some key disadvantages.

It’s not a perfect comparison, however. In fact, there were some critical differences and similarities. While the students in this video are predominately youth of color, Congress is unfairly and  disproportionately white — and this is the most diverse it’s ever been.

It’s important to note that while young Black men were given a lot of agency and opportunity to speak up in this video, Black and Indigenous people of color, including boys and men, have never been given much political or social agency in this country. And when they do mobilize against injustice, they are met with brutality, high arrest rates, and laws created specifically to target protestors.

Perhaps if there were more people of color in Congress, there would be more inclusive laws and policies, such as Affirmative Action laws, which created more access for people across race, gender, culture, and religion.

Similar to the male-centered behavior Congress, the voices, emotions, and dissatisfactions of the young men in this experiment were significantly louder than voices and feelings of the other students. And just as men and boys are celebrated and affirmed at significantly higher rates than other people, the boys finished the experiment with two rounds of applause — while other students received none.

Nonetheless, it’s beautiful that this instructor and these vulnerable and courageous students not only worked together to create and participate in this social experiment, but also to share their experience with the rest of the world. We’re proud of these young people for taking risks and examining the intricacies of misogyny, and we’re excited about teachers who offer feminist educations.

The boys in this video not only got to experience how women feel in Congress every day, but how women and gender non-conforming people feel in the world. And we at Everyday Feminism think that awareness and empathy is a very important first step.

With Love,
The Editors at Everyday Feminism



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