Flagler College is moving in a new direction. In recent years, many liberal arts colleges have introduced women's studies programs into their curriculum, and Flagler is finally catching up. This spring, a group of students, faculty and staff organized a series of events for Women's History Month, and rumor has it the college may implement a women's studies minor next year — a big and important step in the college's history." />

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Flagler and feminism

March 22, 2013 3:27 pm by: Category: Opinion 2 Comments A+ / A-

By Kristyn Pankiw |

Kristyn PankiwFlagler College is moving in a new direction. In recent years, many liberal arts colleges have introduced women’s studies programs into their curriculum, and Flagler is finally catching up. This spring, a group of students, faculty and staff organized a series of events for Women’s History Month and rumor has it the college may implement a women’s studies minor next year — an important step in the college’s history.

When I transferred to Flagler last year, I was surprised by the little recognition and attention women’s studies was getting. In the realm of academia, forward-thinking individuals have been pushing the relevance and importance of this study for nearly two decades.

Up until this point, Flagler has had a limited scope concerning these issues. However, the Women’s History Month project and the possible addition of the new minor in the future give hope to those students who desire social change and equality — whether on campus or off.

But many may ask, what exactly is women’s studies, and more importantly, why study it?

An interdisciplinary study, women’s studies explores history, social issues, politics and media from women’s and feminist perspectives — an important aspect of history that is frequently overlooked.

Think about it like this: When you open a history book, whose stories make up the majority? It’s the history of the wealthy white man. While we’ve begun to include ethnic and cultural studies, we often forget the importance of women’s history and perspective as unique, individual and often under-explored.

In addition, it is important to remember that gender inequality still exists today. According to the online political magazine Slate, in Florida alone, women make 76 cents for every dollar men earn. And it’s not just the workplace. There is still a stigma behind feminism, a word that simply means, “the movement aimed at equal rights for women.” Seems reasonable, I’d say. Then why are women who identify as feminists scorned, laughed at and ridiculed? There are those who believe this inequality no longer exists, and thus, feminism is unnecessary.

If it doesn’t exist, why do women still have the rational fear of being sexually assaulted every time they walk alone at night?

Why is it that most television commercials portray women as either good in the kitchen or good in bed?

If gender inequality has been eradicated, why is the phrase, “you throw like a woman,” insulting to men, implying that being a woman is shameful and inferior?

Why, then, are men more often promoted to manager positions when there are women equally or better qualified for the job?

We can’t continue to settle for the mediocre. By researching and critiquing these societal issues, we can begin to understand our community and prepare ourselves to be well-informed citizens, ready to create change. Knowledge is a catalyst in driving transformation, and isn’t that our purpose as members of academia?

This isn’t about hating on men. Both men and women reduce women’s value to their sexual abilities, classify them as having pre-determined traits and undermine the progress feminism has made by shrugging it off as a joke. How can we expect both men and women to have informed behaviors and opinions if we don’t openly study and converse about the issues society faces today?

This isn’t about turning all women into power hungry machines, either. Not everyone wants to be a CEO. Being a feminist doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy cooking, want to get married, or love children. Being a feminist simply means you believe all women have the freedom to be themselves, as equally and rightfully as everyone else.

Some may still think that women’s studies is absurd.

But as long as the media thinks sexist “jokes” are funny, I will call myself a feminist.

As long as gender roles are assigned at birth with blue or pink colors; as long as women around the world continue to be raped, forced into human trafficking, or are victims of domestic violence; as long as men are idolized for being “womanizers” while women are degraded to the title of “sluts,” I will call myself a feminist.

Let me be frank: Until society truly recognizes women as equal and independent, I will proudly call myself a feminist.

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Flagler and feminism Reviewed by on . By Kristyn Pankiw | Flagler College is moving in a new direction. In recent years, many liberal arts colleges have introduced women's studi By Kristyn Pankiw | Flagler College is moving in a new direction. In recent years, many liberal arts colleges have introduced women's studi Rating: 0

Comments (2)

  • Kristyn

    @Bismarck: How can one act with equality if they don’t know what it looks like? Or what it doesn’t look like? How can one change their behavior if they aren’t aware of the issues at hand?

    No, I don’t believe that “pushing” the idea that women are equal and unique human beings furthers a divide; rather, it allows us all to begin to view women in this way and creates further understanding and enlightenment.

    Let’s look at the civil rights movement: had people not spoken out, discussed, debated, given attention to and learned about the issues of discrimination and inequality by race, the changes our society sees today would not have been as pronounced. In order to act with equality, we must be informed. If there is no reason to discuss these issues, we would assume no one needs to learn, understand, ask questions and change their minds. But they do; thus the conversation must continue. I applaud your desire to act with equality and wish everyone believed in doing so.

    Equality is defined “in regards to status, rights, opportunities.” In math, two things may be equal but not identical, correct? The two words have different meanings, you see. , I do believe that men and women can be both equal and not identical. Just as black and white can be equal, although not identical in outward color as we know.

    Also, it seems you mention that men and women are not identical in regards to sex–aka their genitalia, by definition. True; but how is one greater than the other? They are merely uniquely individual. Furthermore, how can we define people by genitalia, as there are those who may be of certain physical distinction who behave separate of this classification. Why? Because an even greater problem is in regards to gender, a constructed concept of what it means to be a masculine or feminine. Gender is taught, learned, created by societal norms, not inherent to a being. Thus, it isn’t even an issue between two things, as there are those who are transgender, transexual, asexual, androgynous, etc.

    There is no mention in the article of “striking down” what you consider the “Bull” (if I’m assuming right, you are referring to men being in the stereotypical power position?). I’m not sure how a comparison of animals to people is accurate enough in developing this opinion. Aren’t people much more complex? We have got to stop putting normalizing restrictions on ourselves when discussing gender/sex. Can’t a woman be just as capable of leadership as a man? The answer is yes. It’s not about taking something away from someone else, but seeking equal opportunity and chance for both. And I’m disappointed to infer that you believe gender roles are inherent to nature, when in fact, they are strongly influenced by the nurture of a society in which being a woman is portrayed as lesser/weaker.

    I can see your argument but find unfortunately fallacy in it, as you apparently do with mine. We might have to agree to disagree, Bismarck. Thank you for your contemplative thoughts, though.

  • Bismarck

    Doesn’t the attention given to the issue only make the issue worse? Is it not better to act with equality so that it exists until it exists everywhere than to push the notion and the separate and unique study of Women upon a population only furthering the divide between the sexes? What equality can ever be gained when two things are not identical. I am not equal to the man next to me in truth, rather just because we are of one species does it mean we are the same? Does not a pack of wolves have an Alpha male and lead female? Does not the Bull lead the herd? but do we strike down the Bull to make the herd free of his leadership? or the Pack of their leader and strongest member? I do not make these challenges to say all that you are for is wrong only to question whether all of what you say is right? Is this but a matter of opinion? or perhaps it is a matter of opinion you might respond and i simply have a logic you do not see. Does the earth rotating on its axis to give us day and night become a matter of opinion?

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