Before taking this course, I was very skeptical of the field of psychology. I wasnt sure if it was something I was going to enjoy, or if it was going to be something difficult or not. Now, at the end of the course, I’d like to take this space and write a reflection of the course, and how I managed to grow and find a course which probably answered many of my burning questions.
Since coming to Tufts, 4 years ago, I was swept into a world of social justice. I didn’t really know that much about the correct language to use while talking about social justice, so I tended to talk only to my friends about these subjects which often plagued the campus. This summer, social psychology allowed me to venture further into the world of social justice, but from an academic side. Talking about prejudice and gender, among many topics covered this semester, from an academic point of view was refreshing and informing.
I want to focus on the gender part of this past weeks lectures. First and foremost, professor Sommers (if you’re reading this) please know that I will be taking all your parenting advice to the heart..this class gave me alot of hope for the future (given that everybody in the universe takes this class). Second, this concept of gendering children at a young age has always bothered me. I remember being on the beach with my family and being one of the many young (like sub 5 year old) girls not wearing a bikini top. This continued for quite some time because of the culture in Italy, and how normal it is for young girls to not wear anything of that sort. Now, being older and going to beaches I see so many young girls wearing bikini tops…some even as young as still wearing diapers. This frustrates me to no end, since these girls are just being socialized at a young age to wear these bikinis, which in turn tells the world that their chests are something that should be hidden, something which is sexual, when in reality at that age one wouldnt necessarily be able to tell a boy from a girl.
I posted a link in one of my comments about a short documentary which Vice did about raising kids without gender, or rather, letting them choose how to identify themselves on a day to day basis (today I am a girl, but yesterday I felt like a boy). And part of that video also has the children still associating certain activities as typically male or typically female activities, which is why they identify as one thing or the other. But sometimes, they’ll identify as “hen”, meaning both male and female. I guess my question as I move on with my life is how do we, as the next generation to start having children, socialize our future kids in a way in which gender is negligible, if we still have to answer to parents or grandparents, who remain stuck in their mentalities and ways? Ideally we transition into a world in which gender is not something which defines us, I just find it difficult to envision this future especially if religion is still around (since gender plays a very important role in the three monotheistic religions), and other gendered institutions remain.
With that, Ariel signs off.
Thank you for this course, Professor Sommers!