Why Taking a Women Gender Studies Class Is Worth Your Time

Upon entering Oxford, my knowledge of feminism and what it meant to be a feminist was limited to the simple definition of “believing in gender equality.” As a female, of course the wage gap seemed absolutely ridiculous; I thought to myself, if I do the same work as my male counterpart, why should I get paid less?

It wasn’t until enrolling in WGS 202W that I began to understand why injustices such as the wage gap occur, and how they are able to prosper.

Here are a few ideas that have completely transformed my everyday perspective:

1. It’s the little comments that matter.

As my dad makes comments about how “big” Meghan Trainor is as she performs on national television during the Thanksgiving day football game, I realize that the same wouldn’t have been said about a male celebrity. The fact that making comments about the size of a woman’s body has become normalized and accepted merely promotes the idea that males have the right to judge and determine the value of a woman.

2. The fragility of the female is interwoven into everything we see.

If Victoria Secret advertisements were truly selling lingerie, why not take closeup pictures of underwear and lacy bras? The fact is, they are selling bodies. Damsel in distress plotlines occupy a majority of the Disney films we watch and learn from as young children; kids are taught to play with Barbies, not army men -- what a female “should” be is portrayed everywhere.

3. Worst of all, we don’t notice the extent of our oppression.

It never occurred to me that the commonality of domestic violence roots from the strength of the male patriarchy. Such an event stems from a male feeling as if they deserve to have control over their female counterpart because they are stronger and simply more intellectual. We don’t realize that our social system supports such ideas, and that is an incredibly large issue.

So, dear reader -- whether male, female, or neither – make some room in your schedule. Taking a women’s studies class has completely transformed how I view my role in society; don’t be in the dark about how our social hierarchy operates -- choose to be educated.

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