When I attended the University of Arkansas, I not only studied journalism but also gender studies (the study of socially constructed roles of male and female). I especially focused in on the media’s influence on teenagers and their sexual expression. That topic became the subject of my senior thesis in college.
The gender studies program at the U of A was unfortunately only offered as a minor, but the courses included subjects on gender and the media, gender and literature, Virginia Woolf, Jane Austen, gender and society, gender and religion, gender and communication, gender and class…
You’d be surprised how many college courses you can derive from the simple subject of gender. But gender is anything but simple. It’s so complex, which makes it all the more interesting. We observed common questions like: Why do we do what we do as men or women? Why are we chemically made to be a certain way? How does society, religion, the media and other outside forces affect our sexuality? Why are we different than others of our same sex? It’s such a diverse, eye-opening topic.
One of my favorite aspects of the gender studies courses I took in college was how many books/films/theater performances/TV shows we were able to devour to analyze the past and present day… Some of these I list below are vastly different, but each have the element of gender in their own unique way. I also list several gender studies subjects that are commonly discussed.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show
Sex and the City
A SYNERGY dance in Chicago – gender and teenagers. The article in which this photo was featured first appeared in 2005 and discusses gender and American teenagers.
Muslim women wearing hijab – gender and religion
Jane Austen – gender and literature
Virginia Woolf – gender and literature
Hedwig and the Angry Inch
I wrote an article in today’s Savannah Morning News on an upcoming theatrical performance of “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” in downtown Savannah:
Bay Street Theatre presents ‘Hedwig and the Angry Inch’
Beginning Friday, the Bay Street Theatre at Club One will present the rock musical “Hedwig and the Angry Inch,” a play about finding true self-acceptance and love.
The show, by John Cameron Mitchell and Stephen Trask, premiered on stage in 1998. It tells the fictional story of Hedwig, an East German transgender singer, and her rock band.
“It’s about a young man whose story starts in East Berlin,” said Bridget Tunstall, director of the play. “He meets a man and decides to marry him and move to America, but he has to undergo a sex change operation first. Everything didn’t go well with the operation, though.”
After moving to America, Hedwig’s husband leaves her, but she recovers from the separation by creating a rock band. While in Kansas, Hedwig meets a young man named Tommy. They have a genuine relationship, but he soon leaves her to become a successful rock star.
“Hedwig was never able to get over Tommy. She chases after him for validation. Basically, the play covers this action,” Tunstall said.
Tunstall said the show discusses issues that every person deals with at their core and can relate to.
“The show is about accepting yourself and finding your place in life. Hedwig has let other people shape her and influence her life,” she said. “There’s a typical theatrical catharsis moment in the play, when she realizes this. At the end of the show last year, we had people both crying and cheering.”
(To read more: Bay Street Theatre presents ‘Hedwig and the Angry Inch'”)