Gender and sexual studies continue to be more pronounced in a world that is becoming more liberal as days go by. While some years back people would not dare talk of this subject, the reverence and fear that surrounded it is currently a thing of the past. However, one thing still remains; gender and sexual studies must be accorded the respect and sensitivity they deserve. Many cases of violation and biasness with regard to these two aspects have ben witnessed in due time and it only makes sense that these cases be viewed in an approach that tends to sympathize with such victims. Gender and sexual studies should be embraced.
With reference to four news articles on the subject of gender and sexual studies, it would be apt to compare the various aspects contained in all the article in an attempt to unearth what the subject is really about. Gender can be regarded as the property that distinguishes organisms on the basis of their reproductive roles. This gives rise to male and female. Sexuality does have the same meaning as gender. Sexology is the scientific study of man’s sexuality. It entails various subjects such as sexual development, gender identity, sexual relationships and sexual orientation (Foucault 32).
The articles analyzed give an account of various instances that capture both gender and sexual studies in detail. Using a contemporary method of comparison, the comparison would look at the scenarios and analyze them. Based on the branch of sexology captured in each case, the comparison would bring out the trending as well as rudimentary facts relative to gender and sexual studies. Given the fact that the cases in the articles represent the diverse nature of sexual studies, it would thus be effective to sample a few aspects in an attempt to qualitatively and quantitatively address the issues at hand.
The first article is dubbed the title “Disregarding feminism a sad trend for young celebs”. It talks of a young female intern who had just started working at a small newspaper in Indiana and was taken by one of the reporters to meet the county sheriff (Manchir). While at it, the sheriff made somewhat of a sexist comment that left the young intern thinking to herself that Americans are not living in a post-feminist society but rather in a retrogressive minded era where ladies as objectified and judged on the basis of their looks. The sheriff in this scenario proclaimed the intern’s colleague as “not ugly”, this being the first comment that came from him. The intern’s anguish is further aggravated by female celebrities who when asked decline to regard themselves as feminists. She goes ahead to give an example of Shailene Woodley, a popular actress who when asked by Time magazine whether she was a feminist, she bluntly said no.
The next article with the title “Female artists explore issues of body image”, talks of the expectations and pressure the society puts on women with regards to body image in fields such as fashion, politics, personal expression and gender identity. This was done through a showcase artwork that was organized exclusively for professional female artists to address the crucial nature of the issue on bodies. The organizers said that women are still pervasively underrepresented in art galleries and museums hence the showcase was aimed at, among other things, vouching for more women to be involved in activities in galleries and museums (Gruen).
The third article, “New home: The University of California will be home to one of the largest gender-studies collection”, gives the facts behind the establishment of a program on gender studies. An agreement with 3 major gay and lesbian archives saw the establishment of this archive at USC which will house the papers of the International Gay and Lesbian Archives (Miles).
The last article called “College Battles of Sexes Becoming Gender-neutral”. Based at the University of Chicago, the article talks of the new Center for Gender Studies at the university which focuses on three branches; men’s studies, women’s studies and sexual orientation. The center might hit some people as quite ironic since the University of Chicago had in the past resisted women’s studies for years. Its inception aims at effacing the biasness that existed in offering education based on gender where males were given the upper hand (Worthington).
In the four articles, one thing seems to be outright: the subject of gender and sexual studies is increasingly becoming a subject of discussion in the society. Gone are the days when matters to do with sexuality were done in secrecy since they were regarded as ‘sacred’ and could not be addressed in public. The articles themselves are publications which are intended for the general public and are a clear indication of the efforts being made towards achieving a sensitized society. The individuals in the articles, for instance the first article about the intern, are a personal opinion and concern on the subject.
Chauvinism continues to make headlines in news as reported cases of biasness on the basis of gender are reported (Foucault 77). With reference to the articles, they all seem to touch on this aspect. The first one out rightly mentions how women are judged according to looks which touches on chauvinism. The one on body image is aimed at empowering women to rise beyond the society’s tendency to pressure women because of their body appearance. This when looked at from a chauvinism point of view is an indication of just how much the society is chauvinistic. The establishment of gender studies programs in the last two articles might not as such directly handle this opinion. But in light of the broad nature of gender studies, chauvinism definitely will be tackled in the study (Foucault 81). It is however worth noticing that the chauvinism in all four scenarios is majorly male chauvinism, which is of course more pronounced than the almost inexistent female chauvinism.
While the first two articles seem to more or less similar in a content kind of way, the last two articles capture a general idea with respect to gender and sexual studies. The intern’s story is focused on one thing, promoting feminism in the society. It therefore brings out the challenges that women face specifically focusing on the corporate world. The second one narrows down on the subject of body image, again specifically for women and encourages liberalism in light of women’s body image. A focus on appearance is brought out here emphasizing the need for society to accept women’s looks, dressing and generally outward appearance. The penultimate and last articles approach the subject of gender studies, which by itself is a branch under sexology. As a result, the last two do not target a specific subject but endorse the idea of embracing gender studies in colleges and universities.
The mentioned articles do in fact indicate that there are problems, or rather niches that need to be filled with respect to gender and sexual studies. Each article addresses a unique problem by its own with the last two entailing rather dependent subjects. In view of a socially dynamic world, different challenges are likely to come up in relation to sexuality as an aspect that affects the society in general. The approaches in each article are however different which is expected since they address different issues in general.
Traditionally, the question on LGBT was not something that people would even bother to tackle. In most societies it was considered as proscribed and people who were gay or lesbians could hardly come out (Foucault 117). In the articles, only the one on third one about the University of Southern California addresses this issue which has become quite controversial recently. However, democracy as well as liberalism has made it possible for such individuals to come out and lead a normal way of life like their heterosexual counterparts. It mentions several gay and lesbian movements such as the International Gay and Lesbian Archives. In the United States for instance, the Declaration of Independence entitles every American to the right of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. The latter is used to argue that even homosexuals deserve to have happiness hence everyone should be allowed to incline to whichever sexual orientation they desire.
Research by various organizations such as the Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality shows that there is an outstanding increase in the sensitization of the general public on matters of sexuality (Foucault 134). This can be attributed to the increasing number of institutions that have been established to propagate this issue. As a result, more people are becoming liberal to this subject.
Research also shows that the discrepancy that existed between males and females in view of aspects such as employment, education and inheritance has reduced significantly. Societies are becoming more inclined towards gender equity hence opportunities are offered equally to both genders. The improvement is however more substantial in other countries as compared to some nations. Countries in the Middle East have shown miniscule improvement contrary to the improvements noted in North America and Europe (Foucault 150).
Generally, the society is becoming more welcoming to the idea of embracing gender and sexual studies as part and parcel of our social structure. There is however, more that can be done to promote this.
- Foucault, Michael. The History of Sexuality: An Introducton. 2009.
- Gruen, Tracy. Chicago Tribune. 12th August 2013.
- Manchir, Michelle. Chicago Tribune. 25th May 2014.
- Miles, Andrea. Chicago Tribune. 5th February 1995.
- Worthington, Rogers. Chicago Tribune. 4th February 1997.