Tag Archives: gender

FGSS Symposium: “Women and the Politics of Gender: Election 2012”

Who will win the “War on Women“? Jennifer Enxuto, broadcasting live from the FGSS office, would love for you to come and find out!

Please join us on Friday, October 5, 1:30 pm – 4:30pm for the FGSS 2012 Annual Symposium “Women and the Politics of Gender: Election 2012,” to be held in Allbritton 311.

Panelists will include:

Maryann Barakso, Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and President, Women and Politics Research Section, American Political Science Association and author of Governing NOW: Grassroots Activism in The National Organization For Women, as well as articles on health care reform, social movements, and civic engagement.

What is Womanism?

Womanist House is sponsoring an informal talk and discussion with our advisor, Dr. Sonia Mañjon, on the basics of Womanist Theory. Food will be served!

Pictured above is professional badass Alice Walker, who coined the term “womanism.”

Co-sponsored by Hewitt.

  • Date: Tomorrow, Wednesday, Feb 23
  • Time: 6:00 pm
  • Place: Nicolson Lounge

Take Part in Research on Gender Non-Conformity at Wesleyan

From Ray Edwards ’10:

My name is Ray Edwards and I am graduate student in Psychology at Wesleyan. I am currently researching everyday experiences of disrespect and devaluation towards gender non-conforming individuals on campus. I am looking for participants to take part in a two week study in which they will carry a Palm Pilot at all times and record meaningful experiences related to their gender presentation and identity. There will be a $25 reward for those that return all the materials given to them in good condition upon completion of the study.

Panel to Study Gender Bias in College Admissions

college admissions

A panel of civil rights investigators plans to begin reviewing admissions data to determine whether “female students have become so plentiful in higher education that institutions have entered a new era of discrimination against them.” The investigation focuses on D.C. schools, but the Washington Post also mentions data from William and Mary, Vassar, Swarthmore, and—shocker—Wesleyan, which in 2008 admitted 30 percent of its male applicants but only 25 percent of females. No word on the discrepancy in last year’s applicants. From the Washington Post:

Over the past 40 years, women have gone from underrepresented minority to overrepresented majority on U.S. college campuses, where they outnumber men by a proportion approaching 60-40. Barriers that kept women from college have been swept away, and scholarly focus has shifted to the impediments facing men, who are more likely to drop out of school and more apt to go into the military, manual-labor jobs or prison.

It’s no secret that way more women than men apply to liberal arts colleges—after all, liberal arts are totally girly subjects conversely, men are incredibly overrepresented in engineering/technology schools’ admission—but the degree to which it reflects in admissions data at Wes is still pretty striking. Whether it should be questioned as a civil rights issue, or regarded as more or less valid than race-based affirmative action, however, is worth discussing.

Full article: Panel to Study Whether Men are Favored in Area Schools’ Admissions

Edit: Wesleyan’s data is not the subject of the study, but it is quoted in the article and obviously relevant to the discussion.

CT Marriage Equality News

Last October, the CT Supreme Court ruled that “the state has failed to provide sufficient justification for excluding same sex couples from the institution of marriage.”

Today, nearly 6 months later, a bill to codify the ruling passed out of the Judiciary Committee by a vote of 30 to 10.

Christine Stuart of CT News Junkie reports:

The bill also removes gender references in state marriage laws and transforms existing same-sex civil unions into marriages as of October 2010. It now has to be approved by the General Assembly.

Most of the debate Monday centered around religious freedom and the ability of a religious organization to deny a same-sex couple the use of its reception hall for a marriage ceremony.

Rep. Bruce Morris, D-Norwalk, who led the debate on an amendment which ultimately failed, said by exempting religious organizations the state of Connecticut could avoid what happened in state’s like New Jersey where a church lost its tax exempt status for denying a same-sex couple the right to marry on church owned property.


Rep. Gary Holder-Winfield, D-New Haven, said Morris’ amendment treated same-sex couples differently than other couples. “What we are doing here today is making sure we are not treating people as other,” Holder-Winfield said. He said Morris’ amendment discriminated against a certain group of people, but Morris argued there are plenty of choices out there.

More info on the bill can be found at the Love Makes a Family website.

Gender neutral housing movement spreads

David Foregger ’11 sends in news that the University of Chicago is the latest to offer gender-neutral housing to its upperclasspeople students, linking to an article originally from the Chicago Tribune:

The pilot program allowing male and female students to sleep in the same room will start next month. It’s not intended for romantic couples, but they won’t be excluded because the university won’t ask students why they want to live together. The proposal was a student-led initiative, university officials said.

Coed dorm rooms are allowed at more than 30 campuses nationwide, but they have generally been socially liberal institutions, such as Wesleyan University, Oberlin College and Oregon State University. The policy is a departure at the U. of C., which has a no-nonsense, nose-in-a-book reputation.

The program won’t apply to freshmen, and students won’t need permission from their parents to live in “open housing.” A letter announcing the program went out to parents last week.

“In today’s day and age, it’s not really fair to discriminate based on gender anymore,” said Asha Woodall, 19, a sophomore at the U. of C. and a supporter of the plan. “Sexuality is more of a spectrum.”

While the University of Chicago is taking a great step forward, it’s important to note that, like at Wesleyan, there still aren’t any satisfactory options for incoming freshmen who don’t feel comfortable being automatically placed with a roommate of the same biological sex (but perhaps a different gender).

The University of Chicago is only one among many schools to change its gendered housing policy within the last year. According to genderblind.org, Northeastern also recently announced such a change.

Genderblind.org continues to remain a great resource to keep on top of gender-neutral/genderblind housing issues and news, ranging from the latest schools to adopt progressive policies to noting that “the Obama-Biden transition project has announced a non-discrimination policy that includes ‘gender identity.'” They also have a Facebook group to keep up-to-date on issues and to network with other activists.

Update (12/25): An anonymous commenter corrects me about current Wesleyan policy:

we have gender-neutral housing for frosh. any frosh can select “gender-neutral”, and then their gender will not be taken into account when determining their roommate.

Oops – guess it’s changed since I last heard anything about it a year and a half ago. Awesome!

College OTR: Wesleyan

We just added a new blog to our blogroll: College On The Record – Wesleyan. For the summer, Jean Pockrus ’08 is its chief contributor, and I’ve gotta say – it’s already got some really interesting and informative posts. From the more silly (a chronicle of a road trip to Nebraska, home of Nebraska Wesleyan) to the more serious (what’s it like being genderqueer in the real world after Wesleyan? sometimes dangerous), it’s targeted as much to recent alums as to current students.

I think the post “My Transgender Life After Wesleyan: Transphobia” is particularly important to read. Here’s an excerpt, but I encourage you to go to College OTR and read the whole thing:

Yesterday I was violently, physically attacked by a group of transphobic teenagers, three girls probably between the ages of 15 and 17 years old, in downtown Philadelphia. I was waiting for a bus on the corner as the three girls were walking across the street, staring at me and saying aloud to each other, “Is that a boy or a girl?” Then they began addressing me, “Are you a boy or a girl?” while looking down on me and laughing.

I did what I usually do in these transphobic situations when I’m taunted or stared at. I stared back. I stared back at the girls and said plainly, “It’s rude to stare at people.” (I also usually answer: “No, I’m not a boy or a girl,” to that familiar question, “Are you a boy or a girl?” But I didn’t say anything else this time.) One of their friends who was walking with them, a young man who looked about twenty, shouted, “Oh! That bitch said ‘respect her.'” I thought the group was just going to continue walking on and leave me alone, but a few moments later one of the girls took a few sauntering steps towards me, smiling a little, and then pulled her arm back fast and punched me hard in the left side of my face.

I want to reach out to transgender and gender non-conforming activist groups in Philly and let them know about what happened to me on the street that day. Both physical violence and verbal assault against LGBTQ and gender non-conforming people are under-reported. Right now, I don’t know who to tell about this. It’s a very isolating experience in many ways, but it makes me want to work harder to create a better world for LGBTQ and gender non-conforming people. We need to have a way to measure the climate for LGBTQ and gender non-conforming people and we need ways to educate each other and our larger communities about incidents of assault and harassment.

I plan to post more about LGBQ, transgender, genderqueer, and gender non-conforming life during and after college in the future on www.collegeotr.com/wesleyan. I want to use my experiences to bring these issues to light.

Gender, etc.

Dan Grassian ’09 needs your help!

I want to create a play that encapsulates the intricacies of gender and its role in the lives of all different types of people at Wesleyan, America, and the world. The thing is, I need YOUR input, your friends’ input, etc. What I want right now is monologues, skits, speeches, dialogs, etc. Anything YOU write or someone you know or vaguely know or has something written will do. And will be greatly appreciated. The play will be addressing many different sides of gender, including its overlap, co-construction, and influence over and from other societal identities, including race, class, religion, sexual orientation, etc.

The image so far:
Think similar to Vagina Monologues. Several ‘actors’ who will read pieces written by Wesleyan students (and likely some others). I plan on everyone looking as androgynous as possible, with hair either pulled back or under hats, etc. Face makeup, androgynous or gender-confusing clothes… The people reading the parts will NOT be trying to play a ‘gender role.’

The only rules:
I do NOT want these pieces to include the words: ‘gender,’ ‘male,’ ‘female,’ ‘feminine,’ ‘masculine,’ ‘he,’ ‘she,’ or ‘sex’ (as in biological, not having sex…) If this confuses you or you have trouble with this, you can e-mail me or you can include these words and we can work with what you have…

Questions? Comments? Submissions? Want to get involved? Contact Dan at dlgrassian(at)wesleyan.edu.