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Why I Think Everyone Should Consider Taking a Gender Studies Course

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Illinois State chapter.

It’s just about time to register for your next semester, and if you’re still deciding on what gen-ed classes you should fit in your schedule, then look no further! Last year, after being unable to register for an English class I had wanted to take, I ended up taking a gender studies course to fufill my humanities credit. I was so unsure about what to expect for this course, but it turned out to be the most influential class I have taken since starting college. 

The class was called “Sex, Values, And Human Nature” (PHI 202 for you ISU students!). Although it wasn’t my first choice for my humanities credit, I was still very intrigued and eager to start the material. I always considered myself to be an open-minded person, so I thought that I really wouldn’t have much trouble relating and immersing myself in the class content and discussions. But during the first class, I was surprisingly caught off guard. We began by discussing topics that were very sexual in nature and, at the time, seemed “too provocative” for me to discuss comfortably in an academic atmosphere. I quickly realized that these topics were exactly what college students should be talking about, and I started to become shocked by the fact that the material we had been studying was so foreign to me for so long. 

With so many vast vocabulary terms to describe different gender identities, sexual orientations, and even just relationship preferences, it was so relieving to finally have a space to ask questions and learn from other individuals with first-hand knowledge on these topics. I hadn’t realized the amount of gray area within my knowledge that I had, but looking back, I can comfortably say that taking this course has changed how I view so many situations on a daily basis. I think that having a source of education for topics pertaining to gender/sexual identity, as well as more advanced sexual education is so vital for all college aged students. I’m sure a lot of students would be hesitant to enroll in a course like this, however, I would encourage anyone who feels in the dark about these kinds of ideas, to step outside of their comfort zone. I can completely say that taking this course was one of the most eye-opening experiences in my college career so far, and I know many other students who have felt the exact same way.

Coming from a busy college student, I know it is tempting to choose the basic gen-eds to create a bit of safety within your school schedule. While this class was definitely one that required a bit of reading and discussion, the information you pick up will stay with you long after your assignments or class discussions. I really had a lot of fun with this kind of course, and I know there are a variety of similar options available, so I would strongly encourage you to take advantage of the chance to take a gender studies course before you graduate!

Eileen Quinn

Illinois State '23