Something I think that is important to note here in the beginning is that a lot can happen in just ten days. It may not seem like a long time, but from the time frame of starting a Gender Studies class on Men, Women, and Greek Life and finishing it, we saw the rise of the new Gillette commercial, which touched on men needing to hold men accountable and stop letting the male societal development continue in this never-ending circle. But also, the death of a Sigma Alpha Epsilon brother due to hazing and alcohol abuse, which I might add got next to zero media recognition.
Ten days ago I started a Gender Studies Topics class called Men, Women, and Greek Life. I had zero idea what the class would be when I registered for it since it was just labeled "Gender Studies Topics." But even when the syllabus was sent out a few days before the class started and I found out the name, I still had no clue what we could learn about in this class other than men are in fraternities and women are sororities.
Over this ten-day period, I learned so much from how we "do gender", to culture, to ambivalent sexism, and to intersectionality. To get more specific, I learned a lot about Greek Life in the sense of pledging/rushing, relationships among women, relationships among men, hazing, body objectification, and sexual harassment. But it was about much more than what I learned in the context of Greek Life; it was also a matter of what I learned about myself and society individually and collectively.
I don't want to go too in depth about what I learned specifically.. not in this article at least. I want to focus on the fact that in just ten days, I know more about people, society, the multiple cultures, and the type of men and women we produce in the Greek system than I ever thought was possible to think about. I also saw a lot of the application of these subjects in the real world whether it was through articles, magazine interviews, emails sent out by Greek members, books like TFM, Dirty Rush, and Greek University, or real life/real world pledges dying because of the Greek culture that has developed over time.
It's so fascinating to me that within ten days, in a class of nine people, meeting three and a half hours a day, having a discussion based class experience, I learned more than I probably have in my entire collegiate experience. My outlook, opinions, perspectives, views, and beliefs about certain things have been challenged in the most educating way. I wasn't told I was wrong, I was respected at all times, I was open-minded to the ideas and thoughts that others had. I didn't have time to sit and worry about my grades, or over analyze each class period, or memorize a lecture word for word like I normally would have done for a class.
We watched episodes from the show Greek and Law and Order: SVU along with a movie called Revenge Of The Nerds (which I never would have watched if it had not been for this class). But because we watched these episodes and this movie and then had to analyze the content in relation to our class topic, I won't be able to watch a show or a movie and not recognize that there are really disturbing underlying contexts that we wouldn't notice on any other given day watching our favorite tv show or favorite movie. And believe me- I have already noticed this from trying to watch shows and movies.
What I am trying to say but is difficult to explain is how great of an experience it has been to take a ten-day intensive Gender Studies Class because it was meaningful, powerful, and at times was information that no one likes talking about because it is hard to talk about- especially on a college campus. But because of this experience, I have grown so much as an individual and as a woman affiliated with the Greek system.
So if you ever get the opportunity to take a winter intersession class, especially a Gender Studies class, you should take full advantage because you will go in the classroom on the first day thinking you have plenty of knowledge and leave on the last day thinking about how naive you were at the beginning. And I think realizing you were being naive in the first place shows a greater deal about a person than someone who believes they know it all already and don't need to become more educated about what really happens in the real world.