Wednesday, June 16, 2010

What is women's studies?

I would consider myself a person who is striving to be more of a feminist. I display many “typical” characteristics of a woman that our patriarchal society approves of. I love children and am pursuing a career in teaching, I am sensitive and enjoy sappy Romantic Comedies, I am passive and let others take the lead in many situations, and I think it is “charming” when men baby women and open doors. Something I hope to gain out of taking this course is to gain some insight as to the gender socialization in my life that might have contributed to the personality I have today. I feel comfortable with my personality but I think that in order for me to contribute, even in small ways to the feminist movement, I need to learn to step out of my box and just relax like it seems men innately know how to do. I need to uncross my legs, walk with long and purposeful strides, and refuse to let people talk down to me! This is of course easier said than done, but it is a goal nonetheless.

I would define feminism as the idea that all women deserve the same opportunities in society as men and they should be valued for what they contribute to all aspects of life. It is also the idea that it should be acceptable for both men and women to display their gender in any way they wish even if they don’t fit the gender norms. Gender stereotypes are a major crisis in society because they can hold people, especially women, back from achieving their true potential. For example, I’ve always wondered why men always seem to be better at math and science and these types of majors are dominated in the universities. I don’t believe this is simply a difference in the biology of the sexes but instead, society telling these boys that they should be good at math therefore boosting their confidence in the subject. On the other hand, I have always been terrible at math to the point where I feel nervous and sick walking into a math test. Perhaps I was not pushed hard enough when I was little partly because of gender and therefore now look at a math problem and give up right away.

I do not believe that equality between the sexes has been achieved. Yes, there has significant progress in the opportunities women have in the workplace and education. On the surface, it all looks fine and dandy. However, what is hidden beneath the surface may seem harmless. These things could include language, small gestures (men holding doors, paying for dinner), and the still widespread wage gap between the sexes for the exact same job. Many people don’t think that equal opportunity is a dire issue any more and therefore say and do nothing, thus encouraging that the cycle of patriarchy doesn’t die.


  1. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being sensitive, passive, and loving children. These are all very necessary qualities to bring to a society. It's just a shame that these aren't considered "powerful" qualities. I can't think of anything more powerful than raising a child, or caring for the health of others.
    In addition to the socialization of men to like math, and women not to, there have also been studies that show that math is taught differently to the two genders (Gabriel & Smithson 1990).

  2. I also agree. I love to watch love movies, shop for girly clothes and shoes, and read cosmo. I can't wait to have children in the future and be involved with them. They are major qualities that I have to be in a society inorder for the society to function properly. Giving childbirth is probably the most difficult but rewarding thing that can happen to any woman.