"Before getting involved with GWS, I never thought about gender, I never thought about women’s struggle for equality, and I certainly never thought that women still struggled today. The classes I have taken here have broadened my perspective on society and our culture in ways I could have never imagined. I feel that GWS has deeply been woven into the person that I have grown into over the years and the passions that I have developed. I know for a fact I would be a very different person had I not decided to minor in GWS.”
-- Megan Backus, GWS minor, Class of 2012
“The diversity and interdisciplinary nature of the GWS program is its greatest strength. I found it incredibly easy to fit in a minor just by fulfilling my core requirements, which not many other programs can do. I have had some of my best professors for my GWS classes, which was just an affirmation that I was in the right program. … The GWS minor has given me tangible knowledge that I could discuss in everyday life. It is a field where students are able to take the things they learn in the classroom and apply them outside academia.”
– Rachel Friedman, GWS minor, Class of 2012
I think we all have that “Ah ha” moment when we take our first Gender and Women’s Studies class. Maybe it was when you learned about Judith Butler and gender, or, one of my personal favorites, Peggy McIntosh’s Invisible Knapsack. In the end, there is that concept that strikes a chord with you, and makes you more aware of the world.
When I was younger I wanted to be Gwen Stefani, or maybe for a brief period of time I thought I was her at age seven. She was the lead singer of the band No Doubt, and she not only had flowing platinum hair, but she was the lead singer of an all male group. And I think that even at age seven, I was really aware of her powerful presence. After that it became idolizing C.J Craig as a character on the West Wing. And since then, I have always felt this connection and wanting to become this strong female in some way. And through taking gender classes at Villanova, I feel as though all of those who I interact with- whether it be faculty or students -have this quality that emulates power, compassion, and mindful change.
In choosing to attend to Villanova, I was able to be a part of Interdisciplinary Studies in the Honors Program, which lead me to Dr. Rose, and so began my journey within GWS.
I am one of those students that secretly loves making their schedule for next semester, so I immediately decided second semester freshmen year to take Philosophy of Women with Dr. Sally Scholz, with all juniors and seniors. It was life changing. And you can probably talk to some of my friends that year, because I would meet them for lunch and just be rambling on about how Aristotle talks about women, and what do you think about these issues. I really started to nag all of them when it became time for them to register saying, you need to take this class, and you need to take Gender Classes. I knew from then on that this program is where I felt most at home.
I kept saying that it would be so easy if GWS would just be a major, and then I would be taking all of these classes that I love. And that is exactly what happened, and I feel very lucky to be here at Villanova to witness those changes. These were always the classes I felt safe in, which I find ironic when you think about many of the issues we delve into as GWS students.
As a GWS major I feel well rounded in my pursuits and understanding of what it means to interact with the world around us. These classes are what I have gotten the most out of in stretching myself to understand and to have those difficult conversations. I always would think that my views about how I felt as a woman, or my irritation that sex and gender have become interchangeable, where just inward opinions I held. It has been great to realize that these are shared beliefs.
What I have learned here I will be able to bring to any profession. Our society has a long way to go. Not only for women finding equality, but also for us to break down those stereotypes that play hand in hand with masculinity. That is where I have found education to be key. When I look back on my time here at Villanova, it is my GWS classes that I know I have gotten the most out of, and confirmed to be that Villanova was where (and it may sound cliché) I was suppose to be. And, as I was able to put forth in the GWS newsletter, I have had the real life Gwen Stefani and C.J Kreig rock stars all around me- my professors and wonderful students who have shaped my learning it such profound ways. Studying gender still has people from the outside wondering what it’s all about. I am never deterred by this, because I believe these words by Elizabeth Cady Station herself, can be applied to us “be sure that some day in the future Americans (I will insert Villanovans) will ask how these things could ever have been done otherwise” Thank you, and thank you GWS.