Why Everyone Needs To Take A Gender And Women's Studies Course
Start writing a post
Politics and Activism

Why Everyone Needs To Take A Gender And Women's Studies Course

If you don't see the value in such courses, you are fundamentally part of the problem.

165
Why Everyone Needs To Take A Gender And Women's Studies Course
Kelly Searle on Unsplash

When I decided to add Gender and Women's Studies (GWS) to my double-minor I initially expected less than positive reactions from anyone I told how passionate I am about this subject- which is already telling in of itself. I did not however, expect to be laughed at and told that I should "just read a book about it" instead of taking multiple classes within the department and spending several years of my life learning about the history of gender.

First of all, "gender" does not equal "women". Courses that have the word gender in the title are not just classes about the complaints and pains of women throughout history, but actually serve the purpose of contextualizing the history of gender relations as a whole- that includes how men interact with other men. Just like any other discipline, you cannot sum up decades of history in one, easy-to-read textbook. The history of gender and women in the world is amazingly intricate and complex, something that most people fail to realize until they step foot into a class.

From just one semester-long GWS course, Gender and Conquest in the Atlantic World (Villanova students, I highly recommend Dr. Catherine Kerrison), I am now aware that the act of historiography (how history is recorded) itself is patriarchal. This means that for centuries, women have deliberately been excluded from the historical narrative and have therefore been erased from significance. When you take the time to think about it, how many historically famous women did you learn about in elementary school? The only two I can immediately come up with are Harriet Tubman and Rosa Parks. Does this mean that no other women made any meaningful contributions in America or the rest of the world over the course of thousands of years? Absolutely not.

In reality, thousands of important women are missing from history textbooks for a variety of reasons; from being ignored simply because they were women and not allowed the power to contribute, to their contributions purposefully being misattributed to men. Uncovering the influence that so many women have had on history is one of the most shocking factors that I have discovered through my GWS classes, because once you learn about the amazing and heartbreaking things women have had to do and experience over the years, it is difficult not to be outraged at the fact that they are not mentioned in "normal" history books.

I have learned that it is easier to call people interested in these topics "crazy feminists" instead of taking the time to understand why they are interested in them at all. Just because I am less likely to get a high paying job in the GWS field than I would in economics, my other minor, doesn't mean that I don't see the value of obtaining general knowledge about the world.

We grow when forced out of our comfort zones, and this character growth can positively impact all other facets of our lives. Education comes from changed perspectives, and GWS courses are guaranteed to change your perception of how the world is today. Whether you are a football player who doesn't understand why women are so universally afraid to walk alone at night or a woman who considers herself to be a "pro-life feminist" and doesn't realize that those concepts are fundamentally opposites, anyone can deeply benefit from taking a GWS course.

So, now more than ever, I urge you to be brave and enroll in a GWS course. You will not only learn a magnitude of useful information, but they can even fulfill elective or diversity credit requirements! Speak up, share your personal experiences and questions, and do not be afraid of getting uncomfortable. I can guarantee that you will leave the semester with a better understanding of the world as a whole, and why things are the way that they are today.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Olivia White

"The American flag does not fly because the wind moves it. It flies from the last breath of each solider who died protecting it."

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

Separation Anxiety in Pets

Separation anxiety in pets is a real thing and recognizing the warning signs is important.

230650

Since March, Covid-19 required most of the world to quarantine in their homes. Majority of people ended up working from home for nearly five months. This meant pet owners were constantly with their pets giving them attention, playing with them, letting them out etc. Therefore, when the world slowly started to open up again and pet owners began returning to normal life work schedules away from the home, pet owners noticed a difference in the way their pet acted. Many pets develop separation anxiety especially during this crazy time when majority people were stuck inside barely leaving the house.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

The invention of photography

The history of photography is the recount of inventions, scientific discoveries and technical improvements that allowed human beings to capture an image on a photosensitive surface for the first time, using light and certain chemical elements that react with it.

372890

The history of photography is the recount of inventions, scientific discoveries and technical improvements that allowed human beings to capture an image on a photosensitive surface for the first time, using light and certain chemical elements that react with it.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

Exposing Kids To Nature Is The Best Way To Get Their Creative Juices Flowing

Constantly introducing young children to the magical works of nature will further increase the willingness to engage in playful activities as well as broaden their interactions with their peers

1768313

Whenever you are feeling low and anxious, just simply GO OUTSIDE and embrace nature! According to a new research study published in Frontiers in Psychology, being connected to nature and physically touching animals and flowers enable children to be happier and altruistic in nature. Not only does nature exert a bountiful force on adults, but it also serves as a therapeutic antidote to children, especially during their developmental years.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments