Adrianna Gallina_ Personal Reflection

Adrianna Gallina

WGST 1001

Professor Ashton

20 December 2021

       Personal Reflection

If a student at Brooklyn College asked my opinion on whether they should take the course, ‘Intro to Women, Studies: Gender, Sex, and Power,’ whether it is to fulfill a pathway or out of general interest, I would highly recommend, especially with Professor Ashton. I have been trying to take this course since my freshmen year of college, as I am now a junior. My interest in the course grew after I had also taken a few anthropology courses as well. I would’ve never thought that when I would get a seat in the course that it would be completely remote. However, although continuing my education in these unprecedented times has transitioned my college experience to mainly virtual, it has taken over three semesters that I felt like I was in an actual class rather than a zoom screen with many tiny boxes representing my fellow peers. Professor Ashton is one of the most engaging, attentive, and genuine professors I have had so far in my college career. Her teaching style was even more imperative to aiding what I learned throughout the course, especially as it was an online course. Her structure of the course was organized and easily accessible through our syllabus, detailed class schedule and course website all which made the group project extremely pleasurable. Her teaching style and passion to share her knowledge, while also making it a point to connect it to modern times has contributed to what I gained and experienced in the course. Thus, shows why my experiences with the group project and public writing were ones I enjoyed and made me feel like I was taking an in-person course, even while in the comfort of my own home.

When I think about what I learned throughout the course I realized it is so much more than just a general understanding of an introduction to women studies within the U.S. I can confidently say that I have a profound understanding in intersectionality, double standards and analyzing the effects of having prenotions on gender. Although not a new term to my knowledge, I have learned the deep effects of intersectionality on women of color. My interest in intersectionality sparked throughout the semester especially as I was able to connect my knowledge of the concept to our course readings. Although, I enjoyed all the course material, the ones that struck the most interest were “Excerpt from Feminine Mystique,” “Black Feminist Thought in the Matrix of Domination,” and the video “Frameline Voices- Pay it No Mind: The Life and Times of Marsha Johnson.” My strong interest in these topics led me to incorporate them in my public writing post while also connecting them to the course materials.

The experience of writing in this course is one that has shaped the way I look at public writing. I dedicated a lot of time to working on my blog post, however, it was not a single act as I would not have gotten a high grade like I did if it wasn’t for Professor Ashton spending almost 45 minutes with me after class on two occasions to discuss the material. I learned the importance of focusing on the nontraditional way of writing and incorporating the concepts within one’s analysis. I was able to have the opportunity to expand on my knowledge and incorporate my own way of writing with the use of metaphors, repetition and tone while also utilizing a very nontraditional format. I have done public writing before, however in the typical structure and I feel this course’s use of public writing has broadened my horizon on how I go about it the next time it is introduced to me.

Although not based on the specific material I also learned through each class the importance of engagement with your peers and professor. Each class I looked forward to the five – minutes that were spent discussing important things going on in our lives, the rest of our courses, while always making sure that she asked how each of us were doing. For me, this has been extremely lacking within my college experience as I transitioned too online. I feel like this is extremely imperative and one of the great teaching/engagement methods of Professor Ashton, which made me want to actively participate in each class.

Furthermore, I also feel that this casual engagement method with one another helped with the final research group project, which is another party of the course that I enjoyed greatly. I have had other courses where group projects have been nothing but hardship, where you have no idea who the person is and are expected to do a semester worth of work in a project. However, this was not the case, I was in the group with the topic of Women’s Suffrage, which was nothing short of a pleasant time working with the other members. We all equally collaborated, shared the research and each were excited to add some creativity to the PowerPoint as well. Again, all of this can be attributed to Ms. Ashton and the way she formatted the class, as we also had designated research days in the course. As someone who has an interest in doing research papers, this project was one I enjoyed, as I learned more information about women’s suffrage that we soon found out was blocked out by media outlets and can be seen as the hidden story. I have not had one group project besides this one that has gone as smoothly, which I believe I also contributed to the Professor.

I can confidently say that within my last three virtual semesters at Brooklyn College, I have learned the most in ‘Introduction to Women Studies: Gender, Sex, and Power,’ with Professor Ashton. I find myself talking about the things I learned in the course and sharing my knowledge with others, especially pointing out when what they are saying is not sensible in relation to gender. This course for me personally has been more than just a pathway needing to be fulfilled, it was a three-hour engagement.

word count- 1017.

Personal Reflection – Karen Zheng

To be completely honest, I walked into this class with no knowledge at all in the field of equality and human rights, which I guess was also what brought me here in the first place. Being a science major, discussions of gender and stereotypes seemed so far away from my dwelling amongst microscopes, specimens, and Erlenmeyer flasks. It was outside of my comfort zone and I felt clueless on the subject, which made it all the more unappealing. However, I quickly came to realize that I was wrong. Gender expectations were not so far away as I had originally perceived and had all the more effect on my life, precisely because I was a female and in the STEM field. 

I really enjoyed our class discussions and the works we read that provided an insight into the injustice many faced in history and continue to face in modern times. Time seemed to fly during those discussions and before I knew it, class was already over. My favorite read by far was definitely “Women, Race, & Class” by Angela Davis because it really connected with me on a personal level. My entire life, I’ve been told by others what I needed to do as a female, and what I heard the most was being able to perform domestic duties so that someone would be willing to take me as their wife one day. Having an older brother with the same outdated thinking really didn’t help the situation. When you are told something continuously over and over again by everyone around you, even if you try to fight back, eventually you’ll still be overwhelmed by the voices. So I’m really thankful for this class, not only for the valuable knowledge that I gained but also for the voices that I heard. For knowing that I’m not the crazy one for fighting back. For knowing that I’m not wrong.

In terms of public writing and blog posts, this was my first “official” experience. I wrote blog posts for classes in the past but they were usually limited to 150 words, meaning it ended before we even started to delve into our main argument. They were also written and posted on Blackboard so it didn’t feel like a real blog, just another assignment. Writing blogs in this class was a wonderful experience; we got enough time to explore the topics we wanted to expand on, enough word count to actually write something, and freedom to choose our own prompts. I was beyond excited. I knew from my previous experiences of writing Blackboard posts that I was going to love it because blog posts not only give me the opportunity to express my opinions on a specific topic but also provide a safe space for sharing ideas and peer-reviewing. As for the topic of my post, I chose to write about Friedan’s “The Feminine Mystique” and Davis’s “Women, Race & Class”. Since all the voices I’ve heard in my life so far were along the lines of housework, I really wanted to write my own thoughts on the subject, even if it was just a small excerpt, as a way to fight back.

Honestly, I was dreading the final project, mostly because I really dislike public speaking. Despite my dread, what’s to come will eventually come so there’s no use stressing over it, until maybe the last ten minutes before it actually comes. My group quickly came to the conclusion that we wanted to do gender stereotypes, but it was such a large category that we had to narrow it down to gender stereotypes in professions of our choice. My pick was childcare workers because every time I go to a place involving child care, the staff there were mostly, if not all, women. And on a personal note, I was just really curious about the origins of daycare systems, like how did everything transition from mothers caring for their children to, well, other women taking care of children of other women. Wow, looking at it now and actually writing it out just makes it sound all the more messed up, which it is! Point is, the men seem pretty content with being out of the picture and that’s not how things should work. So I embarked on the journey of researching to find out exactly why women are always associated with the caregiver role. I had assumed that they would at least have a valid excuse along the lines of women being better caregivers and are backed up by science and experiments. Not quite. From what I found, the gender of childcare workers doesn’t really matter, which is good to know. On a side note, my group members were all really amazing and super knowledgeable, to the point where I was scared that I was gonna mess up and ruin everything. But, overall, I’m really happy with the way our presentation turned out.

Lastly, I’m really glad that I ended up registering for this class. It was a destresser for me amongst my other heavy-loaded courses with quizzes and homework every other day of the week. The class was so much fun and super empowering, and I no longer feel as clueless as I came in feeling. Thank you for the wonderful semester!

Jessica Anzurez – Final Reflection

I’ll be honest in saying that I took this course as one of the prereqs that I needed. Of course there were other courses to choose from but from the beginning the name of this course caught my attention. Now at the end of the semester I can confidently say that I’m very glad that I took this class, and that I’m coming out of it with more perspective. This class taught me how to look at things from all different types of views and it taught me how to listen. For me personally listening hasn’t always been the easiest. I tend to zone out or lose interest pretty quickly. During class, my classmates spoke in such a way  that really caught my attention. Every time someone spoke I noticed that they all talked with so much passion. They weren’t afraid to voice their opinions. Because of this I feel like I learned how to speak with confidence and that it’s okay if not everyone agrees with you. Taking this class showed me that women have to stick together, we are strong and together we can make change happen. Oftentimes I’ve seen how one woman puts another woman down. Instead of helping one other they try to always be better and act superior. This class taught me that there is another way. Together we can help each other grow! We have to support each other. We have enough with society putting labels on us, women have to fight for a better tomorrow. 

When I learned that we were going to be writing public blog posts I’m not going to deny that I wasn’t all for it. I had never done something like that so I wasn’t entirely comfortable when thinking that my classmates were going to be able to read my writing and then give me their opinions on it. I mean if we are speaking honestly, sometimes I don’t even want the professor to read my work. In the end it had to be done. Ultimately I ended up writing the post and got my feedback. Now at the end of the semester I can look back and say that I appreciate the experience. When people other than the professor give you feedback it helps you to see more clearly what you can improve on and what you did well. Sometimes if just one person reads it, they can miss certain things and if multiple people read your work then it’s more likely that you get more well rounded feedback. The same concept goes for when we had to give feedback to the other writers. It feels good to give someone your opinion on what you think could make their post even better. The one thing that I most liked about the blog posts was being able to read what other people thought about the readings. You read so many many different points of views and relate to some and learn from others. That’s what I would say I most enjoyed from the blog posts assignments. 

Group projects… Some people love them, and some really can’t stand them. As for me, I’ve always been more of a “work alone” person. When you work in a group you have a lot of responsibility. You can’t let your group down so you have to try and work hard to make sure everything comes out the way it was planned. I see it as a “please everyone project” with this group project. I felt that it wasn’t that difficult. I’m not sure if it was because the topic was interesting or if it was because my group members were so easy to work with. They really took everyone’s opinion into consideration and tried to insert everyone’s idea into the project. For this I am grateful and I would like to say that I think the end project was pretty great, and I think we worked nicely together without any problems. To this day I don’t believe I worked with a better group and I believe we discussed “women’s rights” in the best way we could.

Overall, this class was quite the experience for me. I came in not knowing what to expect. Before this I don’t think I had even heard of this class. Now I’m sure that if anyone ever asks me I’ll be sure to say “take it” this class was so empowering and each time we logged off I felt so great about myself. Knowing that there are other people out there that relate to the things you go through gives you such an unexplainable feeling. This class makes you feel heard and not alone. For this i want to say thank you to my classmates and thank you to Professor Ashton for such a wonderful experience and semester!! 🙂 

Personal Reflection

Yara Alhusari                                                                                             Women Gender Studies 

Professor Hilarie Ashton                                                                          Brooklyn College


                                                      Personal Reflection                              


           I learned and obtained new knowledge and skills all due to taking this Women Gender Studies course. As a woman, I felt the need to not express my opinions, thoughts, or ideas out of fear of being shamed for having such ideas, but this class taught me that my emotions and opinions are valid and should be expressed without feeling like I am humiliating myself. This class taught me that gender is a social construct, The idea of being masculine or feminine is quite literally whatever you want it to be. You can express yourself and however, you feel and you don’t need to label yourself or feel the need to explain your sexuality to anybody. The biggest part of this class that stuck with me the most is how inclusive it was to all women, we focus a lot on the difference between white feminism and inclusive feminism and how it is so important to be inclusive. We learned about the history of black trans women and just women in general who made such a difference in our country. We were able to watch documentaries and hear the stories of women in our history who fought for our rights, and who fought to diminish these gender stereotypes that were bestowed upon us by men. I was also able to learn a lot from my peers who shared their own experiences and ideas about what we face in this world and they would mention things that honestly I would not even realize were happening. I found it so intriguing when my peers would share things about our society that I just let slip by as if it was not a big deal even though all these little things add up together and make misogyny and homophobia incredibly prevalent in our society.

            My experience doing the public writing for the blog post portion of our class taught me a lot about what I am most passionate about. I mainly focused on what religion says about being gay. I always find myself so passionate about this topic because I have looked into religions and wanted to see if there is any that excepted the LGBTQ plus community. I also realized a lot of religions changed their books to fit more into western ideas and culture in a part of that is excepting the LGBTQ plus community. I learn I am passionate about how culture and religion play a role in a woman’s rights and sexuality because it seems to have a great impact on the way society treats women and people who are not straight. I came from a culture where being gay and being a woman means that you were less worthy. We were deemed as weak and vulnerable in my whole life this is something that bothered me so much. I hated the idea that all I was meant to do in my life what’s bear children and be a mother and a good submissive wife. Even though that’s all I’ve known it never felt right to me I felt like there was so much more to me than to depend on another person and basically be a servant to them. I felt as though in my blog posts paper I focused on history because history has a lot to do with how things are in the present day whether things have improved or have gotten worse. History has shaped our modern world and religion, as well as culture, has a huge impact on the way society treats or deems people part of the LGBTQ plus community as well as women in general. but also has bothered me was how a lot of people used religion to justify their homophobia as well as transphobia so that was one of the biggest drives I had into uncovering what different religions have to say about being gay. I think no matter what religion believe in you should have empathy and respect for other people. No merciful God would ever condone violence against any of his creations.

            The group project was probably my favorite part of the entire semester. I was able to learn a lot from my peers and even learn a lot about myself. It is amazing to be able to feed off other people’s ideas and look at things from a different perspective because everyone feels comfortable enough to share their opinions and their thoughts on the topic. my group primarily focused on Reproductive Justice and that is so important to me especially in today’s society where we are letting history repeat itself and states like Texas are banning abortions. One thing I did not know about was the history of Reproductive Justice all I knew was that when abortion was illegal women used to die trying to abort the baby themselves. When I saw that abortion started back in the time of Ancient Egypt and Greece I was in such shock because everything in today’s society came from somewhere there was always a beginning to something. You can go in so many different directions when discussing Reproductive Justice and breaking it down to one Factor was incredibly difficult but I felt that my group did an amazing job at taking a portion and tackling it from every aspect in terms of the history of abortions, how abortions affect people of color, abortion social media, abortions in film, and have to access an abortion. I also loved listening to other people’s presentations in terms of gender stereotypes, queer parenting, and all the other amazing presentations I got to listen to I was able to relate to so many societal norms and gender stereotypes that are targeted at women that made me so much more intrigued in these presentations because we are all able to relate to at least one thing that is mentioned by a group. my group is so incredibly knowledgeable about abortions and having discussions with them was so eye-opening because I was able to learn so much from all of them. When everyone knows something and they come together to discuss it you got to learn from other people and spread that knowledge and it is important knowledge because this is something that should be discussed and made aware of because of how bad of a problem it has become that we are going backward. Finalizing my group presentation I honestly got a little bit scared because of how we are implementing religion into law which was the complete opposite of the basis that America was founded on. I am so glad I took this class because now I am the most vocal I’ve ever been tired in my life and I am so excited to share everything I learned with other people in hopes that they will also spread knowledge and make people aware of how important women gender studies are.

Final Personal Reflection (Mildred)

Mildred Pena

Professor Ashton

WGST 1001

19 December 2021


Final Personal Reflection


When I signed up for this course, I was not too sure about what I would be learning, but I was so glad I did. In this course, we talked about so many interesting topics that go on in the world today. It felt great to have a professor that is very kind, helpful and understanding. The professor always valued everyone’s opinions and that made us feel comfortable and confident all the time. Being that it’s my first time taking a gender studies course, I learned many new terms that I didn’t know about before. I loved how we were all able to feel comfortable sharing our opinions on different topics and learning from each other. I believe gender studies is so important in the world today because it helps us gain knowledge about gender identity. Gender identity plays an important part in relationships and love. We live in a world where everyone has different views or beliefs, and people are always being judged for being different.

One of my favorite topics to learn and write about was gender equality. Gender equality means equal responsibilities, opportunities and rights for all genders. I enjoyed writing a blog post about gender equality because it gave me the opportunity to share my feelings about this topic and receive feedback from my classmates. Gender equality plays a big part in love, marriage, relationships and family. One of my favorite readings of this course was the S.T.A.R interview because it brings up many valid points on gender equality that I agree with. For example, when Sylvia Rivera mentions that she doesn’t believe that a transvestite or a woman should do all the washing or all the cooking at home (12). In different parts of the world, men are given more power and what they say, goes. I believe everything in a marriage or relationship should be 50/50. Part of being married or in a relationship is supporting and respecting one another in every way. Both men and women can go to work and take care of the responsibilities at home, that’s what love really is. Gender equality shows unity, appreciation, and respect for all.

Another topic I really enjoyed talking about and doing research on was gender stereotypes. There are some jobs that are still gender stereotyped today. For our group presentation, I chose to write about women in firefighting because it’s not very common to see women as firefighters. Firefighting is seen as a masculine occupation because some feel that women aren’t physically strong enough to perform the duties of a firefighter. I enjoyed learning about other occupations that are gender stereotyped like teaching and nursing. I also enjoyed working in a group with my classmates because I feel like we all did a great job at communicating and putting together a great presentation with many important details about gender stereotyped occupations. I was very nervous when I had to present my part of the presentation, but it felt good to receive lots of positive feedback.

Being in this class was a lot of fun because even though we didn’t have class together in person, we all got to learn so much from each other and we had lots of good laughs. This is my first semester back in school after taking a long break and I was very nervous about going back to school but being in this class made the semester less stressful for me. I’m glad I decided to take this course because I learned so much about gender identity and what goes on in our world today.


Estrella Paucar – Reflection


Wow, it is already the end of the semester. Honestly, I’m currently writing this with 3 hours of sleep, but to start, I’d like to say that I like this class and it is in the top 5 classes I have taken so far in my two years of college, WOO! Being in this class changed my perspectives on many things I never really thought about on my own or didn’t think were wrong because of social and gender norms. I live in a conservative Christian household and it’s difficult to explain and try to open up new ideas to one of my parents about almost anything because of how the bible is made and written. I don’t agree with the many things that are said in churches and what is written in the bible, thinking about it now makes me realize how men are so nosy like imagine being so angered by someone else’s sex life, like get a grip. Anyway, back to my conservative household, this class has been a sort of escape from what I constantly have to hear daily such as, “gays are bad”, “marry a Christian man”, “Christianity is the right path”, and blah blah blah. I felt eager to learn about new topics such as LGBTQ+, women’s suffrage, strong female leads, misogyny, and stereotypes. I list these topics because they are the topics that I relate to the most and felt good to hear my peers in class speak on behalf of their experiences and what they found to be inspiring to the class. 

One of the many things I learned in class was stereotypes, specifically about biological sex. On a more personal level, I am extremely hairy, I have a great amount of body hair everywhere, and every summer it was dreadful to show off my hair because of the number of comments I would get such as “you’re probably a man”, “girls can’t be hairy”, “you’re gross”, etc. and honestly looking at it now I wish I didn’t give a shit. My excessive hair doesn’t make me less feminine nor degrades me as a woman, and I guess it’s a flex on my behalf because most men barely can grow a beard and I get shitted on for having the hair that they desire. No one should decide who they believe YOU are, nor label an individual based on their beliefs. These sorts of things should come from the individual themselves on how they feel about themselves. 

Another topic I feel that enhanced my learning is empowerment and equality. For centuries women have always been in a man’s shadow and for what? A woman deserves as much recognition as the man receives. A woman is referred to fragile and sensitive, which may be seen as “respect” to the woman but I believe respect would be treating others the same way disregarding the gender the individual is. Women are as strong as men and are capable of doing the things any man can do, especially when it comes to workforces. Women are not paid the same wage as men do, and just recently, the news stated that a woman in the medical field gets paid 2 million dollars less compared to a man in the same field and position. It’s insane how devalued women are, makes me still wonder if it’s also based on the bible. Where Adam is made from the dust of the ground and Eve is made from Adam’s rib, even the bible devalues a woman. 

Lastly, I learned more about the LGBTQ+ community whereas I feel like I learned more about historical icons like Marsha P. Johnson. Before taking this class, I had no idea who Marsha was nor what she was known for. I feel like I should have learned this back in High School because of how important Johnson’s role is in the gay rights movement. Even so, I am extremely happy that I was able to learn more about who Johnson was and how they impacted our history. 

To wrap this up, I don’t feel like I am the best writer. Writing the blog post and making it public, caught me completely off guard since I am always self-conscious of my writing, let alone that I hate when people read my writing. Not so long ago I recently just submitted my final piece from the blog post, I hope it’s good, to be honest. Personally, I think this class could have been a bit more fun for me if it wasn’t a lot of writing, but at the same time, I could’ve expected it before enrolling in the class, but overall this class was a great experience. Additionally, I hate reading, but for this class, I made the exception. I honestly expected this class to be more quiz/exam-based, but then I feel pretty lucky participating in this class because of due date extensions. I don’t think I would pass this class if it wasn’t for that, well, maybe if I were to pass, not sure. Sadly, I didn’t have a group to work with for the group presentation so I can’t say much about the project, but I believe it would have been fun to do and connect with some peers.  

Syedah Fatima’s Personal Reflection

This class has been one of the most extraordinary classes that I have taken at Brooklyn college. When I first applied for this class, I wasn’t sure what to expect because I’ve never taken a course like this before. Going more into the course, I was intrigued by not just how much information I learned, but how friendly my classmates and professor was. There wasn’t a moment where I felt left out when asking questions or hearing stories that others have been through in which I could relate to. Aside from the interactions of the class, something I enjoyed the most were the readings. Readings like “Gender and Genitals: Constructs of Sex and Gender” and  “Performative Acts and Gender Constitution: An Essay in Phenomenology and Feminist Theory”. Before taking this class, I always wondered so much about what was going on in the world, specifically with classifying different gender/pronouns, LGBTQ, transgenders and so on. I knew what they were briefly, as most people do, but I realized there it was much more in depth about it than I was actually knowledgeable about. It’s funny, I actually decided to take this class in my last semester at Brooklyn college because of an experience that I had went through shortly in the summer. I went out with a few friends and one of my friends brought their friend who I was meeting for the first time. This friend referred as a they/them. When I heard this, I was kind of confused because of my lack and knowledge and they explained it to me more thoroughly. I was so intrigued and interested, and when I saw this course on the roster I took it to learn more about everything, in which I did. The public school education system avoids teaching topics of women which is truly a shame because they’re not providing us the knowledge of the upcoming of the world, which is why I took the opportunity in taking this course to gain that information and I have successfully have after completing this course. Before taking this class, I was aware of information like female lacking rights compared to men, housewife, oppression, historical topics and so on. But everything that I have learned in this class this semester, was so impressive compared to the pea sized knowledge that I had. Especially learning about different social media accounts (followed all), movies, and influencers really inspired me the most. Another part of the class that truly taught me a lot wasn’t just the topics, but learning how to write blog posts and do annotations. I’ve learned a lot with my personal writing and technology that I will carry on forever because of this course. I am extremely happy and appreciative for everything I’ve learned in this course.

Something that I’ve mentioned that I was extremely grateful for learning was the public writing. Before I took this course, there actually has never been a class in all of 4 years in undergrad where I had to do public writing/blog posts and annotations. Usually the way it went was we would  write a paper and just attach it to blackboard or email it to the professor. Learning how to write blog posts was a great experience because It gave me a safe space where to write how I felt about certain topics we learned about and also see how my fellow classmates felt about it as well.  In the beginning when writing the blog posts, It took me a while to understand how to post it and what to use but I got used to it very quickly. I was very passionate when writing my blog post, which was about housewife. I come from a culture where this still exists and I’m extremely opposed to it, but telling one of my relatives this would upset them very much because of their old  mentality and views. But this blog post, it gave me an opportunity to let my ideas free and write about what I want, including my views which gave me a comfort since I haven’t told anyone else about what I wrote before. Not only did it help me share my voice when writing freely, it gave me an opportunity to read others thoughts on certain topics. For example, when reading Linxin’s post on Gender Stereotypes and Influences, it truly inspired me and made me realize “wow I’m not the only one who goes through things like that”. Linxin mentioned being looked down upon for picking computer science as her major because she is a woman who loves to code. It was so relatable to read that because there have been many people who have told me that I shouldn’t do political science because it’s looked as something that more men are involved in and women should stay out of it. Regardless of all the comments, I ignored them and continued to look out for myself as woman and ignore the haters. Public writing in this class has given me an opportunity to share my ideas to whoever without being judged and because of this class, I created a personal blog in which I plan to write everyday on after finals are over.

Lastly, one part of the semester that I enjoyed a lot was the research project. I was a little nervous when I first heard about the research project because since we were remote, I didn’t know how it would pan out. That shortly changed when we began to have breakout room days with our group members and I met them and realized how grateful I was to have a group like that. Even though our topic being Women’s suffrage was a very broad topic, we communicated and organized everything so well with each other that it felt like so much fun when we were doing it. This one one of the most interesting research projects that I had to do. There was so much knowledge I learned from my classmates and from my own research. For example, I was pretty surprised when learning about the National Anti-Suffrage league and how many women were opposed to women being granted the votes in elections. It was actually shocking to learn that there’s women out there who didn’t want that right. I’ve never heard about this association before doing this research project. It was important for myself that I came across it because it really opened up my thoughts about how women in history relate to everything that is going on today. It gave me an opportunity to want to learn more about what’s going on with women in the world today and in the past. This project was extremely informative, fun, and eye-opening to me and I was glad to have great group members and a great professor to help my along the way.

Personal Reflection by Lindsay Hernandez

Four months ago, I was convinced I was living in a two-gender-only world. My own personal experience was not enough to understand that this idea was not the entire truth. The truth was, there were other realities beyond the one I had always experienced. I was able to further understand this idea through my own self-awareness and of course the Intro to Women’s and Gender Studies class. When I first came across this class subject, I saw it as just an option but little did I know that it would become so much more. Honestly, I was hesitant at first. I had this one thought: what about gender would I learn that I don’t already know? But looking back at it now, that was very naïve of me to have said to myself. From there I first learned that there is always an opportunity to learn and room for growth and that would mean learning to understand better. This is exactly what I experienced with this Women’s and Gender Studies class.

While I did have a personal interest in learning more about gender studies by doing my own independent research, I was mainly focusing on the gender studies for men and the toxic masculinity society has implemented. However, I knew there were more subjects related to gender out there to explore. For instance, the idea that women and men face gender performing expectations because of society’s standard that pairs sex and gender. This is very true when it comes to women performing femininity and men with masculinity. While both expectations have raised a lot of issues in the years to come, women have successfully implemented feminist movements and actions to help fightback from the limiting society standards held for women. However we rarely ever mention the progressive actions we could take for men in their own community. This is why I chose to write about this specific subject in my blog post. Although this time it felt daunting. For starters, I didn’t want to appear to offend or insult anybody for their personal beliefs. It took some time to change the narrative of this thought. It finally overturned when I committed to believing my intentions to inform rather than to talk down an audience with this subject. Besides the fact that the blog post was an assignment, it felt very empowering to share information about something so important. The courageous part of it all had to be the idea that it would be a public post and not a typical essay only to be submitted and given one source of feedback. It was a great opportunity to have my classmates participate in my writing and vise versa. Also worth mentioning creating bonds with people who felt the same way about the issues at hand. It felt very reassuring and collaborative.

The feeling doubled when the group research projects began. The research project offered a lot of interesting topics to choose from, my group and I were fortunate enough to focus on the matters of reproductive rights. I mention fortunate because this topic never gets old, there is always something new to learn about the overall subject and what ideas can be brought into reproductive justice. In addition, there are other neighboring subjects with this topic including but not limited to; sex-positivity, gender, politics, and law. My group and I were able to have a mutual understanding of the hundreds of issues related to this subject and by doing so we were then able to unify our thoughts in an organized presentation. The only roadblock we faced as a group was figuring out who would discuss which specific angle of reproductive justice would we discuss.

Overall, this class has been a wonderful experience. From the readings, discussions, and the newfound knowledge. I had worries regarding what ideas would be difficult to accept. Especially since this has been my first semester back in college. It was a great way to start this new chapter of information. I had previously finished my associate degree back in 2018 and majored in marketing. While it was very insightful regarding business and the principles of capitalism, this time around, majoring in psychology and participating in this class has helped me in more ways than I ever expected. It opened a new part of life to understand. Gender truly is all around us. Gender is definitely a myth. And more importantly, while we can have opinions, it’s better to have an educated opinion. Therefore, thank you very much Professor Hashton for this opportunity to learn and grow.

Personal Reflection

Personal Reflection- by Sadaf Chaudhry

When I first signed up for this course, I was skeptical of whether I would truly enjoy this course as I had never taken a course like this before. Notwithstanding, presently toward the finish of the semester, I can without a doubt say that this course has really improved my insight into gender identity, gender stereotypes, transgender history and other significant themes related with sexual orientation. Regardless of whether it was about the historical significance of the struggles of transgender community in this country or the very meaning of the word “feminism” or the role of black women in initiating the fight for women’s rights. I had consistently believed myself to be a “feminist” yet I knew nothing about what it precisely intended to be feminist. I acquired so much new knowledge and learned about the experiences of some of the most influential figures that I had never learned about. For instance, learning about Marsha P. Jonhson and Sylvia Rivera’s background and how it impacted their role in the fight for trans rights. Angela Davis’s book Women, Race & Class, not only exposed me to the very realness of slavery in influencing the lives of African Americans but how damaging it was for black women specifically. In one of the chapters, she writes about white women being at the forefront of the First Feminist Wave while completely disregarding the struggles of black women and their contributions to the movement. This was such an educational experience because it not only reflected on the grounds of racism rooted in white supremacy and how intersectionality is enabled to threaten the rights of women of color. White women were simply battling sexism while women of color needed to challenge the presence of racial oppression and sexism within their communities as well. Through Davis’s book, I also found out about Sojourner Truth and one her most remarkable speeches in which she greatly emphasized on “Ain’t I a Women” in a response to the discriminatory behavior against women of color in the fight against liberation. 

Furthermore, Butler’s article on gender performativity was the set-off point, it not only enlightened me about how we all collectively perform gender and how easily gender identity can be challenged but also made me question the durability of other social constructs such as race or even time. The overall class discussion tackled so many important social issues; whether it was about men wearing dresses/nail polish, or other stereotypes surrounding gender roles (e.g., gender-based toys, colors association with gender) or the concept of gender reveal parties. These discussions revealed the very essence of the whole class being engaged in serious conversations that would normally go unnoticed. For instance, I felt comfortable talking about the traditional norms and how fragile masculinity is but if I were to have the same conversation in my home, it would not go so well. So, the class environment was completely different than that of a traditional classroom where we only go to acquire knowledge for testing rather it focused more on the learning aspect through our personal experiences along with the assigned course work. It was not just about learning but living it as well. Among all the concepts we focused on in the class, one of my favorite activities was the gender text collection. This is mainly because it was something completely new to me and it made me challenge my critical thinking skills. It was so interesting to learn about how I and my peers were able to find topics that challenged the traditional norms for gender. 

The course not only opened routes for new ideas but also made use of our critical thinking skills. The very first assignment was so exciting, I remember talking to my physical therapist about the different ideas I had in mind for this specific assignment. I had never written a public post, the thrill, and anxiety of knowing that anyone can access my work made me want to write something I was passionate about. I decided to write about the hijra communities of South Asia. One of the many reasons why I chose to write about this topic was the ability to tell people about the struggles of hijras and spread awareness about their existence. This is because I remember having an encounter with hijras as a child and the treatment of our elders towards them truly made me question the concept of humanity as a 7-year-old. I wondered why they were being treated differently when we’re all human. Hence, the title for my blog post is “Are They Any Less Human?” The blog post was like a mini-research assignment with the freedom of choosing whichever topic for research. Through my research. I was exposed to so many aspects of their lives and how truly heartbreaking it is for them to live in such conservative societies. The research urged me to watch a documentary about this topic; it was so informational as it shed light on the seriousness of the conditions they are living through. The lack of employment opportunities, being exploited by the members of their community because of money, the inability to have relationships with their own families, inability to fulfill their dreams, risking damage to their bodies to fulfill basic needs, and many more. This assignment was more than just about writing but it was more about experiencing reality and enlightening myself with the privileges I have and the accessibility to spread awareness about something that my people go through every day.   

In addition, the blog post assignment was not just centered around me being able to expose my ideas but also retrieving new information through other public posts of my peers. I read a few of their posts and it truly gave an insight on an important issue that I had never given much thought about before taking this course. For instance, one of the posts talked about the institution of marriage, while another post that triggered my personal interest was Housework: The idea that it’s just a “woman’s” job by Syedah. Partially because it reflects on the very trueness of how normalized it is for women to be considered the caretakers for the home and do outside jobs as well. Syedah not only tackles the stereotypical association of housework being a woman’s job but you can tell the frustration in her voice as she seeks to validate that a woman should be more than a caretaker for her husband or children. Syedah also reflects on her background influencing her to challenge this kind of mindset and I can completely relate to this as a reader.  

Lastly, the group project was another assignment that I truly enjoyed because of the way my group structured the layout. Focusing on the specific job professions and how gender stereotypes have been enforced in these professions is something we rarely talk about. For example, when I first started looking into research journalism, there were only limited resources where I could obtain valuable input. This is why I decided to focus on politics instead. It was not as easy to access the research either as many of the articles focused on one thing which was the underrepresentation of women being influenced by voter behavior. This is true however I was certain that there are many other reasons for such underrepresentation. Through my research, I found out that women are expected to behave a certain way to appeal to voters and to be even considered a fit for the job. This is because politics is considered to fall under the domain of masculine professions and for women to prove their “worth,” they have to act in ways that their male counterparts are exempt from. For example, I talked about this in my presentation, women dressing a certain way has been an issue for as long as women have been part of the political settings. Whether they wear a dress, boots, heels, or even pantsuit, they will receive harsh judgment regardless. Sometimes their political beliefs will be questioned for dressing a certain way. I was also able to talk about Irving and her research in which she writes how women are expected to portray both feminine and masculine traits to be considered qualifiable yet they are also expected to maintain the traditional characteristics of a woman who should be kind, affectionate, and responsible, unlike men who can be aggressive, authoritative, and challenging. Over the semester, our group met a few times but the fact that we had assigned each person their duties, it was not as hard to communicate. Everyone was respectful of one another’s ideas and this was evident when we decided to change the presentation template yet no one was bothered. Regarding the presentation, we all performed well but I believe that I could have expressed my thoughts better because my anxiety got the best of me. Therefore, the project helped strengthen my social and analytical skills through communication/research.