Doane introduces gender studies courses

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Gender course pic

Feminism is historically and contemporary speaking, the social movement for equality between the sexes, according to Professor Nathaniel Wilson.

“As the movement has evolved it has also become about raising awareness for issues like the difference between sex and gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, and the pursuit of legal definitions like sexual harassment, marital rape, other things that needed to be identified and brought to the forefront in society”

“Striving for equality of all people of all genders, sexualities, race, etc.,” a student who answered the campus-wide survey said.

Misconceptions must be prevalent on campus because they are so prevalent in the real world, Wilson said. 

He said many of the misconceptions come from backlash from social movements like the Me Too movement

Most of these misconceptions about feminism revolve around the idea that feminists are women who hate and want to take power away from men. 

A girl that has gone bat shit crazy,” a student who answered the campus-wide survey said.

“Women thinking they don’t have rights when they actually do,” a student who answered the campus-wide survey said.

Even though these opinions exist on campus Wilson said he thankfully hasn’t seen it demonstrated on campus.

There is now a gender study minor available for Doane students. The courses students take for the gender studies minor emphasize social construction and how our society created the genders and all ideas about them and how they should be performed. 

“Gender communication is definitely the most eye-opening class I teach,” Wilson said.

If a student feels that the minor is not applicable to them or their future, Wilson encourages to take a class from the course catalog list or gender communication to learn about society. 

He said he sees his students apply the class material to their own lives and truly learn something.

“Everyday in the class it seems like someone has a new awakening to something, which is amazing, as a professor, that's what you dream of. I love teaching the class,” Wilson said.

This is the first semester the minor has been available but all of the courses that make up the minor were already offered on campus. 

There are no current plans to add new classes to the minor list or spend more resources on this minor. 

This is subject to change due to students' interest as more sections will be added as more students add the minor or take classes from the course list. 

“The idea of a gender studies minor doesn’t seem relevant to what they are pursuing but everyone who has grown up in this society was given strict ideas of what gender is and how it should be enacted, can really benefit from  the gender studies minor,” Wilson said.

Wilson teaches gender communication: the only required course the minor has. In that class, he discusses the social construction of reality, history of men's and women's movements, an examination of critical feminist theories and intersectionality, gender in the workplace, sexuality, masculinity, gender in relationships and more with his students. 

He said the personal growth that occurs when learning about these issues is tremendous.

The 2019-2020 undergraduate course catalog, the Gender Studies minor is “The Gender Studies minor provides students with practical tools to critically engage constructions and representations of gender in sociological, literary, political, religious, psychological, and communicative processes. In the minor, students explore gender and sexuality from historical and contemporary perspectives. Students will learn about intersections of gender, sex, orientation, class, and race; historically unrecognized societal contributions of women; and the role power and privilege play in individual and institutional identities. As a complement to any major, the gender studies minor enhances students' critical thinking and civic engagement.”

Stats 

  • 82% of respondents (50 students) thought anyone could be a feminist

  • 8.2% of respondents (5 students) did not think anyone could be a feminist

  • 9.8% of respondents (6 students) thought maybe anyone could be a feminist

  • 49.2% of respondents (30 students) thought that opportunities and resources were equal between men and women on campus

  • 4.9% of respondents (3 students) thought that women had more opportunities and resources than men on campus

  • 11.5% of respondents (7 students) thought that men had more opportunities and resources than women on campus

  • 33.9% of respondents (21 students) weren’t sure if opportunities and resources between men and women were equal

  • 58.1% of respondents (36 students) considered them feminists

  • 32.3% of respondents (20 students) do not consider themselves feminists

  • 9.7% of respondents (6 students) might consider themselves feminists