Thursday, January 29, 2015

So what exactly is Gender Studies?

That is the question that usually proceeds after telling someone what I'm studying in school.  I both smile and cringe at the question since it is an opportunity to spark conversation or leave them just as clueless as they were before asking.  As people living in a society that finds comfort in binaries (one or the other) this may be an area of academia (and thought!) that can appear a little fuzzy for some.  I mean, look at all of the thoughts, ideas, and theories that create this area of study:

Seriously, I get overwhelmed on the daily! To make it a little less fuzzy for us all, Gender Studies is an interdisciplinary field that is devoted to gender identity and gender representation as the center of analysis. It is the most beautiful blend of women's studies, history, sociology, psychology, and literature are girl could ask for! Almost every course I have taken thus far has incorporated knowledge about social obstacles that humans have faced or are still facing today. It is knowledge that makes me question the way I use language, how I interpret the idea of gender, and our own nations' state of equality. That is why I find it so fascinating!  To fuse my passion for social change/justice in with academics is an Interdisciplinary match made in heaven!

My interest for positive change began in Algonquin Regional High School in a suburban Massachusetts town where I attended my first Gay-Straight Alliance meeting. Though the group wasn't well organized and meetings usually consisted of listening to show tunes, I was thrown into a whole new world.  It was a world were I first learned about the tragic discrimination lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people faced and in the process of my own self-discovery, I wanted to create change somehow.  After coming out as gay just before entering university, my eagerness to educate others on LGBT issues was vibrant.  Once I started at Plymouth State in 2011, I joined PSU Pride and became involved with the S.A.G.E. Center. I had found a cause that was so important to me but my major didn't match my growing inclinations.  Don't get me wrong, Psychology is vastly interesting but reading about Sigmund Freud's Developmental theory ad nauseum was not my cup of tea. So I took a trip to the Academic Advising Office and they asked me if I had ever heard of Gender Studies. Dumbfounded, I said no and they told me that there was a way to create my own major in a subject I was interested in.  

The office suggested that I talk to an English professor who was well versed in topics on gender and also a chair on the IS council.  Surely this person would be a great advisor throughout this process. And they were right on point; our very own, Robin DeRosa, has been an excellent guide from the very beginning!  Her first piece of advise was to enroll in Feminism in the U.S. (The F Word) and I haven't been the same since. The F Word introduced me to a new way of perceiving life around me from medias' messages for women to Betty Friedan's, The Feminine Mystique.

Currently, I live in a state of social awareness and am employed at the S.A.G.E. Center.  Both positions I love immensely. Through Interdisciplinary Studies I have tasted a little bit of many disciplines, making my view of personal and public life more extensive. I have an understanding of experiences of a contemporary American woman as well as a native woman living in colonial India. This worldly outlook is what Interdisciplinary offers and makes it important to high education.

So what's next? To be honest, I'm not sure but I do know that want to continue to educate others in a way that is relevant to their lives. Who knows? Maybe one day I'll be as successful (and stellar) as this young woman, Laci Green.  



  1. What an inspiring story! You are going to change the world, sistah. Great to read your story here!

  2. Really nice background and perspective on a great inter disc. topic…I look forward to seeing how things progress. good luck,