Gender was my first critical lens. My parents had pretty traditional gender roles, but if you asked Paternal Clause if he were a feminist, he’d say “Of course! I have four daughters. I think women can do anything.” That didn’t stop him from displaying a range of stupidly gendered behavior, but for a man born in 1925, he did pretty well.
Over brunch a friend asked me if I would be able to fill in for a gender and culture class that she wasn’t able to teach, my first reaction was, can I do that? I took only two classes in college that could be loosely described as women’s studies. Other than that, I was a fairly average English major. Friend and DP stared at me and said together. “You can do this.” There might have been some eyerolling involved.
Every single friend I’ve told about being snapped up for a third season has nodded and said some version of “Duh. Of course you can do this.” It turns out that everyone knows that I have a big mouth about gender issues. I write this down because I am sure this comes as a surprise to my faithful readers. I’m certain. After a few beers I chastise my friends for saying stupid things about gender [Sorry, A, I’m trying to be better].
One of my student colleagues approached me last semester and asked me if I were a feminist. I stared at her for a second, started laughing, and said “Short answer: yes. Long answer: What are you doing for the next ten hours?”
I’m reading about intersectionality. I’m reading Jessica Valenti, Audre Lorde, bell hooks (love, love that woman), Gloria Anzaldua, Joy Castro, Kimberle Crenshaw, Patricia Hill Collins. I’m taking notes. I’m thinking up assignments.
One thing that is an exciting change since I took a few women’s studies classes in college is that this is gender studies. I’m not just studying women, I’m also going to talk about how the social construction of gender harms men as well. We’re going to talk about transgender issues from week 1.
I have no idea what I’m doing in so many ways, but I love it. I was born to do this shit.
What were you born to do?