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22 comments

Before gender studies, it was called Women’s Studies.

We really should have fought to the mat over that one.

I'm so glad I took it when it was still called Women's Studies. My professor was a woman named George.

[–] SecondSkin 4 points Edited

I took women’s studies modules in the late 90s.

Our (famous) feminist professor, (who also taught gender and literature course that celebrated Jackie Kay’s trumpet and the TiF lying to her partner and son and sexual assault by deception, and Jeanette Winterson who later came out with her anti jkr stance) taught that our sex= female. And our gender=woman= social construct.

She berated me when I argued. I knew ziltch if this then, and had no interest in feminism- I was just taking courses and trying to survive my childhood. (The gender and violence course was filled with women who claimed men are the only predators and tore me apart when I explained my mother wasn’t a victim and was an abuser, this professor claimed me blaming my mother -for pimping my to her boyfriends, for grooming children she had access to as a child protection social worker- was internalised misogyny from me and I should fix my mindset) but I just didn’t buy that womanhood was a social construct.

But I knew this professors teaching on sex and gender was batshit.

So women’s studies was firmly TRA even then, without knowing it, ime.

Oh to add-these courses termed women’s studies were open to men, and even one man in these changed everything, but the supposedly feminist and definitely famous professor fawned over inviting men in….

I took one gender studies course in uni and it was a mega waste of time. I shit you not, we spent the first 3 classes playing games to introduce ourselves and the rest was just talking about how we felt about whatever. And then men wouldn’t shut the fuck up about how much they “wanted to punch sexists” (yeah fuckin right. They probably punch terfs now) and the prof coddled the TIM in the class. Utter waste of $800

It was eye opening and incredibly educational before the programs were all switched to “gender” studies. Women started losing ground back then.

That's depressing. I took one women's studies course in college (it was an elective as I had a humanities degree) and the class was research driven and very demanding. I loved it.

But that was the early 90s.

I know a dude with a degree in gender studies; got him a lot of important speaking and political advisory positions relating to women's issues (instead of them consulting an actual woman), did not apparently teach him enough for him to figure out giving out personal phone numbers and home addresses of his female employees to random sketchy male customers without permission isn't a good idea.

And yes, he had a direct hand in the early policies starting to allow TIMs into women's spaces. It was literally because he 'had a transgender roommate once who seemed depressed.' This moron did it.

I'm old enough to have a minor in Women's Studies on my Bachelor's. My alma mater is now insanely woke.

[–] eris 15 points

The fact of the matter is that “gender studies” weren’t that. Women’s studies were.

Then Women’s studies were replaced with “gender studies” because the men (and men-oriented women) in academia felt that Women’s studies was too niche.

So instead of analysis and critique of sex roles, it became a “what about men” discipline that then slowly metamorphosed into this anti-material monstrosity we have now.

Funny, I remember in the 1970s "Home Economics" was popular among the boys because they got to get close to the girls and it was an easy credit. Now I wonder if more societal breakage can be blamed on that trend.

[–] grey 13 points

Yes. I remember when it was still called Women's Studies.

But how can we take it back? How can we change the focus back on women's oppression and liberation?

As difficult as it would be to stomach their current nonsense, would it be beneficial to enter gender studies classes and push back? Provide alternative perspectives and cite better sources? Or is it too far gone?

I guess I'm asking, if the next generation of graduates get to steer these departments into the future, should we try to be part of it? Even as a controversial voice?

I'm wondering what it might look like to rebuild Women's Studies from the ground up, but not within the university system. A robust course of study, probably online (but maybe with in-person components), that women the world over could sign up for to learn about our history and an actual analysis of our material conditions, based on sex? There are so many brilliant feminist scholars, activists and historians, they could each teach a section.

Honestly, I think university, at least in the US is on the precipice of decline. Between the outrageous cost of it and the job market, it's just becoming a bad economic decision for most people. So how can we build other structures that serve our needs better?

We could set up an online module course, covering topics like feminist literature, history, reading statistics, writing about VAWG, etc. I've done moodle courses before and they were pretty valuable to me.

Maybe try to convince a site like Coursera to do it. Or UoPeople, which is a real university but currently doesn't have any gender studies, and which has around 100k students from around the globe currently. At least a few of them are from Afghanistan. I read something by a young Afghani woman the other day, she had been getting her MBBS in medicine when Taliban took over last year and now she can't study. She has since opened an online school for girls and just enrolled at the American university last week. I think that platform might offer a good opportunity for a real Women's Studies class elective.

This might be the option to take, until (if it's even possible) we can bring women studies back to universities. If anything, it allows us more avenues of learning and expression.

That's also what I'm wondering. I'm in uni and currently picking my classes for next year. I have the option to take a gender studies course as an elective and I'm debating whether or not it's worth it.

Let us know how it goes, if you feel like sharing, either way. Other radfems/gcs in your position are probably asking themselves the same thing. Good luck on your courses in the coming year!

I took women's studies course, there I learned about Simone de Beauvoir, Hijra, and some other ways society imposes gender roles on women and feminine men. It was a pretty decent course from perspective of woman as the “other”. I remember there was a girl who strongly felt about English linguistics, not sure how it manifested in the end.

[–] intervention butTERFly 5 points

Is there any place in the world where Women's Studies are still a thing?