20 December 2021
Upon entering this class, I thought I knew what to expect. Just by simply looking at the name of the class, I thought that it would be a generalized version of women, gender, and society. After the first day of class, I quickly realized that this class was not going to be the “typical” class. It was a breath of fresh air to have a professor take time in the beginning to ask how people’s days and classes were going. More specifically, it was so nice to have the professor give actual feedback to the student’s personal problems and care about them, rather just asking for the sake of seeming nice. Additionally, the class took a very informal approach to education as a whole. We spent a lot of time talking about current issues and how they connect to sexism and misogyny. The same applied for assignments, as students would get a voice on both the progression of assignments and the rubric. Overall, it was a great class to take as I entered my final year of college.
There were a couple of interesting topics that we covered over the course of the semester. One that was particularly interesting was our discussion of TERFs. Finding out about a radical group of women who denounce the trans-community due to extreme ideals surrounding gender was shocking. I found it interesting to hear the professor’s comments about the hypocrisy surrounding the group, along with their strange definitions of activism. Another topic that stood out to me was the discussion of the history of transgender activism. Reading an article about the first protests and civil discourse that surrounded it was very moving. The professor would often connect the topics that we were learning, with her research from the book that she is currently writing, which gave a very interesting perspective on both how little and how much progress has been made.
The blog posts were my favorite part of the class. It was nice to get one topic and focus your research on that and that only. It allowed me to write a piece that contained a lot of information from both the text and my background knowledge. Having time in class to ask your peers for edits was also insightful, because I was able to hear people’s opinion on both my writing and the information before submitting it for a final grade. The two-step writing process, of a draft and a final, was a nice addition to the class, because it allowed me to improve my writing in order to get the best grade possible. I got very lucky with the peers who reviewed my writing because they really took the time to read and give me great feedback. As a result, I found myself doing the same when I was asked to review other’s work, which hopefully gave them the opportunity to improve their writing as well. It also gave me so many different perspectives on what we were learning, which aided in my understanding of the topics and provided me with more comprehensive answers to share out in class.
The group that I was in for the final project chose to research gender stereotypes. I really liked being able to choose a topic and have full creative control over the presentation. Because of this freedom, my group chose to cover different professions which resulted in a great presentation. Personally, I really like to study history, so I chose to cover the historical perspective in relation to hegemonic masculinity and toxic perceptions of gender. We were given plenty of time to work on this in class, which was helpful as we did not have to worry about reaching out to people outside of class to meet. My group discussed everything that we needed to in class and worked on it together. This not only decreased my stress levels but made me more confident when presenting.
Overall, I think that the format of this class took into consideration the student and craziness that is this pandemic. There was a lot of discussion about the topics, the assignments, and the ways for students to deal with everything as a whole. I think that I truly improved my public writing skills and learned a lot about the ways that gender has been misconstrued over the course of history.