Gender Studies

Gender Studies: How it Affects Us

The definition of gender specifically can change across cultures, overtime and within individuals themselves. In Western culture, we recognize two genders: male and female. However, the distinction aspect of gender is critical. The U.S. ascribes to a gender binary, falsely imposed on a disorderly reality. But, how does gender studies relate to us directly?

Gender Socialization is the process by which individuals acquire a sense of self and identity, when they learn to be masculine or feminine. At birth, we all are assigned to a gender from the beginning. If you are a boy, your color is blue, pink for a girl. Parents will treat you differently based on your gender too, even this early on in a newborns life.

Socialization should be a lifelong process, allowing the child to fit into society on their own. In this case, the child will have to use the gender they are given at birth and are expected to uphold the certain standards and expectations that society places on them throughout their lives.

Since the topic of gender studies is filled with many opinions, it is important to get the viewpoint of those around you. Dr. Corey Wrenn, Director of Gender Studies believes she feels the influence of gender stereotyping in her life and is upheld to unfair standards and expectations based on her being a woman. She says, “Female professors are expected to do a lot more of the emotional work as well as “housework.”

Making new employees feel welcomed, dealing with upset students, organizing events and cleaning out offices for new employees are all things she mentions as being gender stereotyped. Not only that, but she feels as though that she must work twice as hard to meet standards as a woman.

Feeling as though you are expected to act a certain way or having to do more work to prove yourself can be a frustrating experience for anyone having to deal with people viewing you based on your gender.

Katie Gatto, an instructor of computer science and software engineering, takes a different approach. She believes she is not held to standards or expectations because she never upheld to them in the first place.

However, she says she is still under the influence of typical gender stereotyping. Being a female professor, she is constantly being judged by appearance every day and expected to portray herself in a certain way day in and day out. Universities, being mostly patriarchal institutions, can also create work inequality.

As Gatto is involved with both the computer science and information technology field, she notes that there is work inequality especially in game design, where it is mostly directed towards men. There should be no difference in the role gender roles play when it comes to anything, but especially in the work environment.

What role does gender studies play in the lives of some students at Monmouth? Jonathan Dzialo, a junior computer science student, does not feel the influence of gender stereotyping in his life personally but does feel he is upheld to unfair standards. He believes that, as a male, he would be pressured to make a lot of money for his family.

In the past, society has always set standards that men should be supporting the family by working and that women should be home taking care of the house and kids. If you went against these standards, people would look at you the wrong way and judge you because your family is different than most. Thankfully, this expectation is starting to disappear in our world today but it is still a problem.

Max Sobrano, a junior business management student, who also feels gender stereotyping in his life. He mentions that, most of the time, men are expected to pay on a date. While he doesn’t mind this expectation, it goes along with men being expected to work and support their families. Your gender should not determine who pays for what or who works, this should be decided amongst the two people rather than having society’s expectations influence them.

Sobrano also discusses work inequality, how women and men can be paid for the same job but be requested to perform different activities. For example, the stereotype that women should be performing secretary jobs but men should be in higher positions such as a CEO. If an individual has the skills required to perform the job it shouldn’t matter the gender.

Gender studies is something that affects everyone every day whether we think about it or not. Our subconscious decisions are consistently altered by that of society’s expectations and standards that is unfairly put on everyone.

Overall, gender should not be a factor when determining anything and people should think more about themselves rather than what others would think of them.

PHOTO TAKEN by Shannon Lawrence