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A Gentle Nudge Towards Gender + Sexuality Studies

I am far from the first college student to love her major. One would hope that any undergraduate could give you a plethora of reasons to join their field of study, but in the interest of the betterment of humankind, I’m going to gently encourage you to consider expanding your worldview along with me in the Gender + Sexuality Studies department. 

 

When I tell others what I study, the most common response I receive is “what do you even do?” Gender + Sexuality Studies to me is studying a wide variety of disciplines through the lenses of gender, race, class, privilege, oppression, and politics. It is analyzing how identities interact with each other and the greater society. It is learning to set aside the world as you know it and see through someone else’s eyes. First and foremost, G + S teaches you to question all that seems certain. 

 

The most powerful thing anyone has ever said to me is “the world sucks; go fix it.” This was how one of the greatest professors I’ve had the pleasure to know ended a lecture on college campus sexual assault. In that moment, it hit me that everything that humans have built is malleable; colleges don’t have to be one of the most dangerous places for American women to be. BIPOC-populated neighborhoods don’t have to experience significantly higher rates of pollution, poverty, violence, and mental illness. 40% of trans people don’t have to consider suicide. All of these examples are symptoms of the way our nation is organized, which is not the only way it could be organized. Everything that is done can be undone through cultural and political labor, self-examination, the utilization of privilege to uproot power structures, and unity in numbers. Gender Studies shows you that the plagues of our society are the consequences of actions, and the people most strongly impacted seldom have the resources to prevent or treat the impacts. 

 

If you are looking for inspiration, I urge you to try a Gender Studies course. Most students in this field find it serendipitously and leave with a passion for unearthing truths and alleviating injustices. The world is complex and very few parts of our identities are inevitable. Happy discovering!

Karly OKeefe

Stonehill '22

Karly is a Gender and Sexuality Studies major at Stonehill College with a passion for social justice. She loves gardening, reading, and collaborating with friends on new projects. Her favorite music artists are Fleetwood Mac, Florence + the Machine, Lady Gaga, and Taylor Swift. She hopes to pursue a Master’s degree pertaining to social justice and make an impact in her community.
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