Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies in School

Recently, I was thinking about how different our society would be if everyone had to take a course like SCOM 301, or Feminist blogging. A WGSS generalized class could be proved useful to our society as a whole, based on its content. I find myself and others who are engaged in this course, or discourse related to it, constantly defending and explaining parts of our society that shouldn’t be debatable or blurred. Results of implementing this class may be that social movements would be met with less backlash, politics would likely be less polarized, and a community understanding of one another would be a lot easier. Unfortunately things like backlash from more conservative views or feminist opposing perspectives would be met with the similar refusals that critical race theory has been, but ignorance to these issues would likely be less prevalent, and high school would be an appropriate time for the course. 

Hillsborough High School students protest a Republican-backed bill, nicknamed “Don’t Say Gay,” that would prohibit classroom discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity, a measure Democrats denounced as being anti-LGBTQ, in Tampa, Florida, U.S., March 3, 2022.

I understand that subjects in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies are a bit more mature, but that’s exactly why it would be most appropriate to begin a course like this as early as freshman year of high school. When reading about if any high schools have done this already, one of the few sources I could find was back in 2016. In 2016, a high school teacher named Elizabeth Truskin was inspired by her students of Aurora High School in Colorado to be one of the first high schools to offer a college course level gender studies class. She was hearing frustrations from her students about misinformation regarding sexuality and gendered experiences and took it as a sign that high school students want to engage in the academic aspect of what they were experiencing daily.  Unfortunately, many people have a misunderstanding of feminism, as well as make a joke out of learning about studies on women, gender and sexuality. What many fail to recognize is that these studies go beyond their titles. “Women” pertains to all women- women of color, transgender women, queer women, and other identities of women that contribute to intersectionalities. Beyond this, men or younger male teens who feel frustrated and left out of this topic because of its title, often fail to recognize that what’s studied in these courses affects them as well. Intersectional feminism strives for a just future for all, including cisgendered men which, whether many like it or not, would also positively benefit from a course like this. Patriarchy and the masculinity within it negatively affects and boxes everyone in our society- noted of course, at much different levels.

To add to this, backlash from adding WGGS to public schools at a high school level may be similar to critical race theory in a way that a lack of understanding and most especially, feelings of discomfort and guilt (often white guilt) are the big pushers against these ways of learning. One of the first things you may see when searching critical race theory is Moms For America, which claims that the theory teaches children to hate their country, neighbors, and selves. Moms For America, a conservative education organization, says, “Why would anyone want to convince people they are either oppressed or an oppressor because of their gender or color?” Critical race theory is a way for government to help right the wrongs our country once allowed, being, “things like housing segregation, the impacts of criminal justice policy in the 1990s, and the legacy of enslavement on Black Americans.” This theory teaches the core idea, “that race is a social construct, and that racism is not merely the product of individual bias or prejudice, but also something embedded in legal systems and policies.” The point of it is not to promote self hatred but to acknowledge discrimination and inequality that has happened and is happening in order to put a stop it.

WGGS goals are to, “sensitize students to social distinctions based on gender, gender identity, race, ethnicity, socioeconomic class, sexual orientation, culture, religion, and other social locations,” as well as encourage them to act on values they form from learning these things. Within intersectional feminism is values that align with critical race theory, and although they are not the same they both are overlapping and should be necessary in schools in order to promote equity and justice to everyone.

5 thoughts on “Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies in School

  1. I was actually thinking about this the other day in class. I was honestly just taking for another gen-ed class but this class has really helped me to go grow as a human. I have learned more about marginalized groups in SCOM 301 than I have in my entire life. If anyone is thinking about taking it, DO IT.


  2. I loved this post! Such a good idea that would open everyone’s mind earlier on. This implementation of a class would, also, allow for more people to understand and be respectful of others where they might not have before.


  3. Great post! I definitely think WGGS courses are incredibly important, and arguably becoming increasingly more important


  4. I agree! I think promoting these classes and topics is so important for everyone to learn about. This can help people who may not be familiar or educated on these topics maybe gain a new perspective!


  5. I totally agree with this… I think EVERYONE should be required to take a course on women, gender, and sexuality. I think we are progressing towards that route but aren’t quite there yet!


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