Friday Feminist Fuck Yeah: Women’s and Gender Studies

This may be our most chaotic Fuck You/Fuck Yeah ever. The gals came over to keep me company (I’ve been pretty sick) and do some Feministing work, so we did our video panel-styles.

Transcript below the jump.


Jessica: So this week’s Friday Feminist Fuck Yeah is for Women’s Studies but firstly and most importantly we wanted to introduce Marlee who has been our Feministing intern for the spring and helping us out with all sorts of fun stuff. And Women’s Studies brought Marlee to us because she took a class that I teach at Rutgers, Gender and Pop Culture (and ‘m teaching again this Fall, so take it if you go to Rugers). But we just wanted to do a general Fuck Yeah to Women’s and Gender Studies, a lot of us came from that area. This is our “panel” Friday Feminist Fuck Yeah. Monty is part of it.
Courtney: I actually wasn’t a Women’s Studies or Gender Studies major. But I took a really amazing class as an undergrad at Barnard about theorizing women’s activism. And it got me to start thinking about the ways in which academic things I had been interested in had very real life consequences. Which sounds incredibly obvious but at the time everything was in the classroom… So thank you to Janet Jacobsen and Barnard College.
Samhita: I did both my undergraduate degree and my Masters degree in Women’s Studies and had mixed experiences in both, in terms of the kind of fine line between academic feminism and activist feminism. I think the Women’s Studies programs helped me articulate what type of feminism I buy into and the necessity to be educated in women’s studies abut ii recognize the drawbacks to academic feminism…
[Everyone laughs while I make out with Monty and he is generally cute]
Jessica: You forgot to mention the most important thing about your undergraduate experience.
Samhita: Jessica was in it. [Laughs]
Jessica: That it brought us together!
Samhtia: Without my undergraduate Women’s Studies, Jessica and I would have never met.
Jessica: And the SUNY Albany Women’s Studies teaching collective was really formative for me; it was this program where undergrads could teach other undergrads Intro to Feminism, which was amazing as someone who was new to Women’s Studies and got involved super fast and it was amazing way to feel like I had a leadership role in feminism in Women’s Studies. And I don’t know if the program is still around but I hope it is because it was bad ass.
Samhita: It is, Maia just emailed us. Thanks, Maia you rock – fuck yeah!
Courtney: Fuck yeah!
Marlee: I go to Rutgers University, I’m still in my Women’s Studies program. I had to take Women, Culture and Society as a Douglass requirement and it was the first time I was exposed to feminism and Women’s Studies and that was a real turning point for me.
Jessica: And you have another rock star Women’s Studies professor that we were talking about earlier.
Marlee: Jasbir? Puar?
Jessica: Everyone has a mad feminist crush on her. There’s lots of feminist crushing going on.
Courtney: I would also say fuck yeah to schools that schools that create Women’s Studies courses that satisfy general ed requirement. Because I used to teach at Hunter College in NYC and it was Intro to Women’s Studies but it satisfied this requirement that everyone had to do so I just got all these people who didn’t know anything about feminism or who didn’t do gender race class analysis and that was amazing, it was such a great way to have this conversation. To really make people think about this shit that they otherwise wouldn’t be forced to think about – or at least they wouldn’t have the theoretical language to think about it. So fuck yeah to colleges and universities to prioritize women’s studies and make it a general ed requirement.
Samhita: Building on that, fuck yeah to all the Women’s Studies professors who have fought to keep their departments open, who have fought against really sexist boards, and really sexist departments that never saw it as a legitimate discipline. And also, a voice of support to continue those programs for young women and make sure we don’t get too legitimate and make sure that we do keep connected to on the ground activism. Monty is licking me.
Jessica: And with that, thanks and have a great weekend.

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48 Comments

  1. Ariel
    Posted April 17, 2009 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

    Best Friday Feminist Fuck Yeah EVAR! Okay, over the top. But seriously, that made my day. I’m actually wanting to get my master’s in Women’s Studies at Rutgers.

  2. feministabroad
    Posted April 17, 2009 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

    This Friday Feminist Fuck Yea just made me feel like I am procrastinating. Damn Women’s Studies graduate school applications. I got to get on those. Maybe im just scared about the process. Anyhoo. Yayyy for Women’s Studies/Gender Studies!

  3. Jessica
    Posted April 17, 2009 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

    @feministabroad don’t be scared! if you want any advice, i’m happy to give it…
    @Ariel – Rutgers is the shit. I think it’s such a wonderful school. Apply!

  4. BROWN TRASH PUNK!
    Posted April 17, 2009 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

    hell yeah. well, I’ll wait for the transcript so I can also scream FUCK YEAH

  5. hoolissa
    Posted April 17, 2009 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

    FUCK YEAAAAAH. i’m a major :) )))
    FUCK YOU to my women’s and gender studies professor who called transgender people he-shes…

  6. Liz-99
    Posted April 17, 2009 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

    Fuck Yeah! My U has a struggling Gender Studies minor, but it is including classes in General Education next year.
    I’m on the faculty, and you would not believe the fight it took just to establish the program.
    This is heartening to see your faces and hear your stories and face your attitudes, Women!
    I’d love to see more of these discussions, especially for our students, who have no access to the top-of-the-game schools, like Rutgers.

  7. Denis
    Posted April 17, 2009 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

    This makes me all the more glad I managed to pick up the Gender Studies portion of my degree.
    Unfortunately, because of the machismo of the board of trustees (all-male college for undergrad), it was relegated to essentially a minor. At least it gave me the tools to further educate myself.
    Yay for Women’s/Gender Studies!

  8. Jennie
    Posted April 17, 2009 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

    I’m an animal science major (about to be in vet school) and I took my Women’s/Gender Studies class as a gen ed class. I absolutely LOVED it! YAY for making Women’s/Gender Studies accessible to students of all majors! :)
    PS: Monty is utterly hilarious!

  9. sammylif
    Posted April 17, 2009 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

    I love my women’s and gender program at Syracuse thus far, I can’t wait for my feminist theory class and my queer fiction class next semester. I’m a dual major in Women’s and Gender Studies and Advertising in the Newhouse School, and the juxtaposition has been taxing and upsetting at times – the Newhouse kids are very different form the WGS kids.
    I’m only a sophomore, but until now never considered going to grad school for women’s studies – should I consider that? omg, the future ahhhh

  10. trd3358
    Posted April 17, 2009 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

    Oh, yay feministing ladies! This definitely made my day.
    I have been seriously considering a masters in Women’s Studies, but living in the midwest the programs are so limited and can be difficult to find. My undergraduate degree is in Political Science and my University had absolutely zilch to offer in the way of Women’s and Gender Studies (yes, very lame), so I have nothing on my transcript strictly relating to the discipline, which can also be a problem. I feel relatively well versed in academic feminism, but have nothing on my transcript to show for it.
    If anyone has been in a similar situation or has any advice I would love to hear about it.
    Oh, and Monty is officially the cutest dog ever.

  11. msmolly
    Posted April 17, 2009 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

    I liked this one, I like the positivity of the “Fuck Yeah’s” after a rough week.
    I’m currently debating between majoring in English and Theater, but have already taken intro to Women’s Studies as a gen ed and am planning on taking at least one more next semester to fulfill a gen ed requirement. It’s awesome to have to ability to take classes that genuinely interest me in this way even though I’m not majoring in it.

  12. Ms_Anthropologist
    Posted April 17, 2009 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

    I had an awesome experience taking women’s studies courses at my university. They were some of the very few classes in which I felt that my voice mattered.
    If my first love hadn’t been anthropology then I definitely would have pursued women’s studies as my undergraduate degree.

  13. jellyleelips
    Posted April 17, 2009 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

    I just got accepted to a Women’s Studies Master’s program. Biggest accomplishment of my life :)
    Women’s & Gender Studies has totally revolutionized how I look at culture, taught me how to be confident, and showed me that I don’t have to apologize for being an ambitious, smart woman. Among many other things. Oh, and it taught me to appreciate all the great philosophers: Marx, Engels, Freud, Foucault, Lacan, de Beauvoir. Even if some of them bored me to tears.
    I am so happy to be part of the growing academic community in Women’s and Gender Studies, and I hope universities will be dedicated to building their Women’s Studies, African-American Studies, Queer Studies, Latin American Studies, and other interdisciplinary departments in the future.

  14. Jennie
    Posted April 17, 2009 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

    Same for me (but substitute veterinary medicine for anthropology in my case). My Women’s/Gender study class rocked, and the class discussions were amazing!

  15. Jennie
    Posted April 17, 2009 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

    Congrats! :D

  16. Jessica
    Posted April 17, 2009 at 10:01 pm | Permalink

    Congratulations! Where will you be going?

  17. fatima
    Posted April 17, 2009 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

    my experience in the womens and gender studies program at depaul (in chicago) completely transformed my life in a way that i could never have imagined. the professors were all amazing mentors, and taught me so much without an ounce of judgment. i still keep in touch with many of them (two years later) and will always have a deep respect for them. and i will ALWAYS be grateful for the ways that they pushed me and other students to think outside the ivory tower and be agents of social change in everything that we pursued. ahhh i could go on and on about how wonderful it was for me.
    so yeah….wms = love.

  18. Tiffanie
    Posted April 17, 2009 at 10:12 pm | Permalink

    YAAAAY! Go Women’s studies!
    Shout out to everyone who has stuck with the major despite hearing “are you a lesbian?” or “what will you do with THAT degree” or any comment about feminism being dead or whatever other crap…

  19. Ali
    Posted April 17, 2009 at 10:20 pm | Permalink

    How awesome that this just happens to be the Friday Feminist Fuck Yeah today! Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin held it’s Women and Gender Studies (WGST) Spring Kick Off today to mark the beginning of a formal, institution-recognized WGST program – I think it is sure to be a fantastic, necessary, relevant program for the Marquette, Milwaukee, etc. communities.
    I love academia.
    Here’s the link to the new program’s site:
    http://www.marquette.edu/wstudies/index.shtml

  20. Ms_Anthropologist
    Posted April 17, 2009 at 10:50 pm | Permalink

    There is a huge push at Ball State for the women’s studies program to become an official department. As a result many of the supporters have had to endure a ridiculous backlash.
    Although I will no longer be there I wish the department the best; the professors that have influenced me the most are involved in the program.

  21. flamingofeminist
    Posted April 17, 2009 at 11:28 pm | Permalink

    Check out Roosevelt University if you are wanting to stay in the Midwest. I did my undergrad there and WGS was my minor, but I took a lot of cross-listed grad/undergrad classes and knew the faculty really well. It’s a small and blossoming program, but really quality education. The university as a whole as a social justice mission statement. It’s a cool place to be.

  22. Muffin
    Posted April 18, 2009 at 12:00 am | Permalink

    Awesome fuck yeah. I’m a Women’s Studies major at Tufts, and it’s the best coursework I’ve ever taken. Could I also say, I’m a dude, and if any feminist dudes are reading this blog, wondering if WS is right for them — don’t be afraid! I have never felt anything less than accepted by my fellow WS majors (all women). Seriously, go for it.
    Sorry, kind of a shameless plug, I guess.

  23. Ms_Anthropologist
    Posted April 18, 2009 at 2:20 am | Permalink

    Out of curiosity, why did you choose your major?
    I’ve only come across 5 men in my WS experience at college.

  24. Marc
    Posted April 18, 2009 at 3:42 am | Permalink

    For some reason, I misread and thought Jessica and the Feministing.com writers had dedicated a “Friday Feminit Fuck You,” to WMST amd started to get really confused when really this.
    But, I agree – WMST transformed my life and still does until this day. I owe my professors the world for having had the patience and compassion to be there each time I had a question and for everyone of my misstep. Teaching in WMST makes just as much of a difference as engaging sexism through activism.
    Not only that, the friends I’ve met in WMST will remain lifelong friends, who I can reach at anytime should there arise a need for them to participate in feminist activities.
    Marc

  25. mags
    Posted April 18, 2009 at 6:17 am | Permalink

    Jessica–the undergrad teaching collective is still alive and well (at Boston College, at least). I just got confirmation that I’ll be a TA for Intro to Feminisms in the fall! Fuck yeah for Women’s Studies departments because young feminist voices are just as important to them as the existing feminist canon.

  26. Amanduh
    Posted April 18, 2009 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    I go to the University of North Texas, and their intro to women’s studies (it’s actually race, class, gender and sexuality) satisfies the culture portion of the core.
    I took it as an already self-identified feminist but a TON of people in my class took it because they thought it’d be an easy A. We ended up in some really heated discussions. My professor was fantastic about pointing out people’s privileges and really making the course material personal. Some people got really defensive at first, but when they sat down and LISTENED they ended up coming around. It was really cool to watch young people discuss racism and sexism openly and confront their own prejudices.
    FUCK YEAH WMST!

  27. ladybeethoven
    Posted April 18, 2009 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    It’s only offered as a minor at my school (Johns Hopkins) but I’m planning on taking a course in Feminist & Queer Studies next semester through the program! It’s interesting how women’s studies has permeated so many different disciplines – I’m a classical composer thinking of going into musicology (academic study of music – usually music history, mostly “classical” music) and one of the big rising trends in the field has been feminist musicology. Yay feminism in academia!!! (though as Samhita said, activism is important too)

  28. ENTP
    Posted April 18, 2009 at 9:37 am | Permalink

    I really liked this week’s panel format! I would love to see more of that!

  29. Dandi
    Posted April 18, 2009 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    I loved it too – very informal and fun, and Monty is always a joy to see (my Aussie dog, Bailey, sends a “Fuck Yeah!” out to Monty).
    I also want to take this opportunity to shamelessly plug a post I did, as an Admin. Assistant in my college’s Women’s Studies department:
    http://community.feministing.com/2009/04/starting-a-womens-resource-cen.html
    I desperately solicit ideas, suggestions, etc. from people, as I’m trying to start a Women’s Resource Center on campus. Could really use some help. :)

  30. Nora
    Posted April 18, 2009 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    fuck yeah!
    I’m an undergrad at University of Virginia, double majoring in History and Studies in Women and Gender, and my current battle is that we only have ONE professor that teaches American women’s history (what my double major is seeking to accommodate). I am thinking of writing a letter to the chair of the history department and complaining because I am now with an advisor who does cultural and social history, but not women’s history specifically.
    The real reason for this problem is that the SWAG major is classified as an “interdisciplinary program” not a department, so SWAG can’t hire anyone- they have to convince the old sexist asshole men to hire them. A few other departments are doing okay with this- lots of amazing feminist professors in the English and Sociology departments (an expanding program in masculinity!) but History seems a little behind.
    Anyone have any suggestions?
    I’m also part of a feminist organization on grounds (as we ‘hoos say)- check out our blog! http://www.uvafife.blogspot.com
    also, our Take Back The Night events brought in over 1,000 people-including lots of frat guys!
    http://www.tbtnuva.com
    Twitter me! @nora_c

  31. Liz-99
    Posted April 18, 2009 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    The comment area is turning into a great resource for future Women’s Studies majors and graduate students!
    For any feminist sisters of color out there, what programs have you attended? Do you know of scholarships available?
    Thanks!

  32. Judith
    Posted April 18, 2009 at 10:45 am | Permalink

    I love it!
    And I have a question:
    I’m planning to get a PhD in women’s studies soon with the ultimate goal of being a professor in women’s studies/sexuality/queer studies. I do not have a bachelor’s degree in the field (it was history), but I’ve done a lot of writing on gay topics in both history and law and feminist topics in law. I have a JD, and my plan is to read a lot of the core canon in women’s studies/queer theory so that my lack of ever having taken an actual women’s studies class isn’t an issue. I also will have a publication credit for an article in a law review on sodomy laws in India and Singapore, and I have presented another paper at an academic conference at UCLA and won a couple of related awards.
    So with that background, I would love some advice. I want to place myself well to be a women’s studies/queer studies/etc. professor and not limit my options in terms of the school I eventually end up with. I haven’t been able to find any rankings of the ten PhD programs available in women’s studies in this country, though I know I’d like one that has a genders/sexualities focus of some sort or professors in that area since my dissertation would definitely be linking women’s/queer issues (the idea right now involves how constructions of gender and sexuality in culture and education affect understandings/experiences of sexual violence, possibly with a cross-cultural component). I’d like to know if there is a reputational element, and if I’d find publication/finding a job easier if I went to particular schools. I’d also love any advice in general about finding a PhD program and getting an academic position in the field.
    Thanks in advance!

  33. Judith
    Posted April 18, 2009 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    I’m not sure where we are on masters programs (you’d have to check), but if you don’t need to do it right away, I did hear from a history professor that the University of Iowa is in the process of reworking its women’s studies department to make it more of a gender and sexuality department (with more course options) and I’ve heard good things about the existing program.

  34. billiam345
    Posted April 18, 2009 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    “All” the great philosophers…?

  35. jellyleelips
    Posted April 18, 2009 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    Ohio State University. Now maybe I’ll start liking football!

  36. jellyleelips
    Posted April 18, 2009 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    Um, all I can say is that I assumed it was clear I didn’t actually mean “all”? Because, logically, how could I have read EVERY GREAT PHILOSOPHER ON EARTH in my four years as an undergrad? So I assumed my use of the word “all” could be construed as “all the great philosophers often used in feminist theory” or “a bunch of great philosophers: here are examples!” and not “I have read every great piece of thinking on the planet!” Because clearly, I haven’t.

  37. feministabroad
    Posted April 18, 2009 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    Ahhh. That’s like one of the best schools! Their so hard to get into (I hear). I am an Ohioan and yes, you WILL like football. lol. Congrats! :o )

  38. feministabroad
    Posted April 18, 2009 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    Thanks. Maybe I will be emailing you soon. I think im getting anxious. I graduate spring 2010 so I really need to get a move on it!

  39. theKP
    Posted April 18, 2009 at 11:57 am | Permalink

    Wellesley has a nice listing of the current Women’s Studies programs, both in and out of the U.S., that offer PhD’s (http://www.wellesley.edu/WomenSt/resourcelinks.html). Indiana also has a PhD in Gender Studies that they started in 2005 and is meant specifically to focus on the issues you find interesting.
    With the caveat that I’m in a traditional department, my sense is that there are so few programs offering Women’s Studies PhDs that rankings don’t matter. (I’m not sure that rankings matter that much in my field either, but I could be wrong.) In the case of WMST, the limits on finding a job really come from the fact that so few universities and colleges have separate tenure track lines in WMST (as Nora noted). They’re out there, but you have to be willing to move wherever the job is, and it may take some time to find it. But that’s true for all academic jobs.
    Again, with the caveat that I’m in a traditional department, I was surprised when I sat on our admissions committee that so many of my colleagues genuinely cared about how many courses in the major students had taken. In the end, a strong writing sample seemed to be the most important factor, but it helped applicants who weren’t undergraduate majors if they had gone back and taken courses in the major after graduation. I don’t know, however, if WMST programs care as much about that. I hesitate to suggest this, because it would take time and money, but depending on how many WMST courses you took as an undergrad, you could think about going back and taking WMST classes at a local college. I know that would be a large investment, but so is the application process, I’m afraid. It’s appallingly expensive, between application fees and GREs, etc. Then again, having a JD is impressive, especially with your article, so you might get in without any added coursework. I’d recommend contacting the schools that you find most intriguing and asking about their criteria (like how many courses in WMST they expect applicants to have taken if they weren’t majors–there’s usually some sort of general rubric for that).
    Best of luck!

  40. Sparlita
    Posted April 18, 2009 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

    I’d like to send a massive Canadian FUCK YOU out to the executive and admins at the University of Guelph (Ontario, Canada) who just opted to stop offering their women’s studies programme to ease some tension on their strained budget. I say if we want to chip away, to save money here and there, that we begin with President Summerlee’s $450,000 salary which increased 112% in 2008. Fuck you. Give the students back their women’s studies programme!!

  41. LalaReina
    Posted April 18, 2009 at 10:43 pm | Permalink

    Looks like a good time had by all. I agree there is (at leastas far as I have seen anyway) a big dif between the academic and the actual/activist. But there some noted activist academics, Mellissa Lacewell Harris is among my favorite…actually probably is my favorite.

  42. plasticrose
    Posted April 19, 2009 at 12:47 am | Permalink

    I find this fascinating because women’s studies does not exist in British universities. There’s definitely feminist activism, but it’s not thought of as an academic subject. But that might just be because we have much narrower degree programmes in general. It’s definitely possible to take a class on gender and sexuality as part of a sociology degree or perhaps anthropology, but there are certainly no women’s studies or gender studies undergraduate degrees.

  43. femme.
    Posted April 19, 2009 at 10:30 pm | Permalink

    Fuck yeah ladies! I wasn’t a Women’s Studies or Gender Studies major (English) but I did take a few courses, particularly a WMST/SOC class called Sex & Gender in Society. That class affected my perception of reality and gave me the theoretical language for things I thought about, believed, or felt but never had the strength to publicly debate or embrace. I had to leave my university (damn recession) last year but when I return to school (one year left for my Bachelor’s and I hope to get my Master’s as well) I’d like to minor or double-major in Women’s Studies because of my experiences in those classes and my experiences during this reprieve from school – reading much more about feminism and feminist theory, getting involved in the progressive movement, etc.
    Fuck yeah for Women’s Studies, Gender and Sexuality Studies, and the brilliant, courageous professors who teach in these disciplines.

  44. e
    Posted April 20, 2009 at 12:39 am | Permalink

    FUCK YEAH is right! I would not be who I am today if it were not for my women’s and gender studies major. I’m more critical, independent, and strong in my convictions, and it’s helped me figure out what kind of a feminist I am.
    At my school, it’s an interdisciplinary major, so they don’t allow the courses to satisfy any requirements. Anyone else think this is bullshit?

  45. Nothing Sacred
    Posted April 20, 2009 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

    Any reading suggestions for those of us who weren’t able to take Women’s Studies? My college has a department, but being the huge school that it is I could hardly get into required classes, let alone interesting courses I wanted to take. I’m about to graduate now and would appreciate some suggestions for resources! Thanks a lot!

  46. kawada15
    Posted April 20, 2009 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

    Fuck Yeah Women Studies!! – it’s definitely had a major influence in my college career and I am happy I choose to take that one intro to Women Studies course many moons ago.

  47. Marisabag
    Posted April 27, 2009 at 10:45 pm | Permalink

    Hey guys, I’m currently a journalism major at a school that only offers women’s studies as a minor but I am currently transferring to a larger university with a women’s studies major is available. I am very interested in the major and was wondering those of you who are, what careers have you found yourself in/hope to find yourself in?

  48. Lazysack
    Posted June 11, 2009 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

    Hi Everyone,
    I am a Women Studies major at the University at Albany. Recently, the department was vandalized as someone wrote woman-hating and homophobic slurs on the office doors and bulletin boards.
    This is such horrifying news to me.

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