Exploring Cognitive Dissonance with The Women Who Dared
The Women Who Dared block set features women in history who have been widely discussed, celebrated — and reviled. How do these women dare?
At Uncle Goose, we included women that might make customers feel uncomfortable. Mother Teresa remains controversial. So does Hillary Clinton, Sappho, Hattie McDaniel, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Cleopatra, Catherine the Great — as well as many others you’ll find in the set.
It’s important to recognize the historical contributions of women we might not agree with or support. It lets us foster deeper and more nuanced discussions.
And yet: cognitive dissonance is a real psychological conundrum. It’s that uncomfortable feeling we get when we hold two opposing ideas at the same time.
What do you do when you encounter a woman whose views are repulsive to you? Why is one woman celebrated by some and reviled by others? How do you cope with forces that seem to support women — while these same forces serve to keep women oppressed?
These are important conversations to have with children — and with each other. How do women in history build on the work of each other? How have women torn each other down? Do women have the right to share their own opinions and beliefs?
How do these women dare?
That is the intent of this block set. It’s interesting to note how different people have coped with seeing the images of women they don’t like in the set.
There may be women in the set who you don’t particularly like, either. Perhaps you don’t care for their views or what they represent. And yet, you’re still able to recognize their place in history.
When you encounter a woman that makes you feel uncomfortable or threatened, you can use it as an opportunity to explore your feelings. You can engage in a thoughtful discussion or reflection.
By contrast, quite a few people have petitioned us to remove a woman that offends them. They suggest that we replace her with someone that matches their own personal belief system.
If we don’t capitulate to their demands, they threaten not to buy the set. That’s fine. We’re not going to force anyone to buy something they don’t want, or that makes them feel too uncomfortable!
Others have admitted they have burned the block with a woman’s image that they find offensive. We like to imagine that the block of Joan of Arc looked on with recognition.
How do you cope with the uncomfortable feeling of holding two opposing thoughts at the same time?