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December 20, 2008

Final Blog

This class taught me about concepts of gender that I had never heard before, and it helped deepen my understanding of life. I really enjoyed the readings and opinions of all the other authors because there were so many ideas and new thoughts of gender. All of them provoked me to think further about gender roles.
I got the most out of learning about gender as a performance and learning about how the body functions as an extension of society’s standards and control. I had never thought of gender as a performance before, and this new concept stood out a lot to throughout the semester. I felt like it connected to everything in some way like even when Anzaldua wrote about the borderlands and feeling confused about being torn between her culture and her own self. I thought of how her culture was expecting her to act a certain way and reminded me of how people are forced to act as their gender respectively because it is what society wants.
The fact that gender is a performance demonstrates that people act a certain way to be accepted rather than acting how they truly want. When learned about the body and how people always try to fill very stereotypical molds of it, it proved that it was a part of how gender is a performance. I never understood how much of our actions as men and women represent cultural standards.
I now plan on being more aware of gender as a performance in my life from now on. I think it will help to always be more comfortable with myself, and be proud of who I am even if I do not live up to societies standards. I plan on taking what I have learned to enrich my life and help my friends understand it so they too will not be so hard on themselves when it feels like they are not good enough.


Please, allow me to say that I loved this class. Most of the information that I have learned has become and will remain part of my consciousness. I have now learned to recognize when I am being oppressed. I have learned to recognize the violence that often comes with oppression. I really admire Ann Jones for saying that women often are abused because they “resist.? This shows me that women are strong. It teaches me to be strong in my everyday life. I am not going to allow man to be in control. This class has taught me that it’s ok if you resist. Men are only considered to be superior because society has given them that role, but it doesn’t mean that it actually is that way. This idea truly fascinates me, because I had never thought of it that way before. I tell people about it. I inform my friends about it. I tell them that men are superior only because we have allowed them to be superior. I tell my friends that men are abusive towards women, because we as society believe that they are superior. It aggravates me when men sometimes say that they batter a woman because they lose control. What a lame excuse! Ann Jones says that they don’t lose control, they are fully aware of what they are doing, because they perform the domestic violence to women, to “their? women, not a random man on the street. This has taught me that there are NO excuses for domestic violence. I have promised myself to never tolerate it, because that is the only way that our society can change its norms of considering men as superior and women inferior. If we allow even the simplest forms of domestic violence we are basically reinforcing the ideas of male dominance.

December 19, 2008


After taking this course I really feel that I am much more attuned to how gender and power are related and relate to our everydaylife. I feel that the readings were very helpful in aiding our studies and giving us some really great discussions during class. Although I feel that yes some of the things we looked into/studied in class were kind of common sense or aspects that we are used to hearing ex. gender roles or thinking about the +5 system or how women are abused, I liked that we still had in depth discussions about them. I think that by going over many of these topics it makes them much more realistic. From our topics about gender as a performance and gender roles that we mostly covered at the beginning of the year but through the class as a whole I really can't help but think of them on a day to day basis now. For example seem to observe people more and how they perform their gender and I feel like I am just more aware of the subjects we covered in class which is a GOOD THING!

One particular reading: "Age, Race, Class, and Sex: Women Redefining Difference, by Audre Lorde was a specific reading that I always seemed to remember. I feel that it was very real and would help us to not only understand different topics but also gave more in depth analysis to how we can change and look at why we do/act the way we do now. She talks about difference and the reasons we "see" difference so much by saying that we are either programmed to fear it, ignore it, or try to become it if is dominant. I thought this was especially interesting because it does seem very true. She continues in saying that "we do not develop tools for using human difference as a springboard for creative change" and " by ignoring the past, we are encouraged to repeat its mistakes" (Lorde 117). I feel that this is the most encouraging and real advice out of any of the readings because it seems so simple but yet it will help so much. I as I hope everyone else will take away from this class is not to ignore or fear difference but yet use it to our advantage and make the most out of it. We each have our own special and unique talents and we need to see that for what it is. If we can stop ignoring things from the past we can make much bigger efforts to change the way our society views gender, power and everyday life.

Thanks Rebecca and Katie for a wonderful semester! :)

Final Blog

I think that this class has left me with a broader perspective on the way that gender plays a role in our daily lives. Although I may be a gwss minor, i think that this class has provided me with a lot of essential materials to really assess the many forms of systemic oppression faced by women today. I particularly enjoyed the readings by Lorde, Fausto-Sterling, Rich, Jones and Plumwood. I think they represent both classic ideas in gender studies and also progressive and radical ways of thinking about gender. I have been joking with my friends lately that gwss has ruined my life. I don't mean it in a bad way, it's just that I will never again be able to think about my interactions with people, the shows I watch on TV, or do the activities I once did the same way. I constantly have to be aware of the ways in which gender affects my daily decisions and I must be more conscious of the ways in which I perform gender. Opening up discussions on gender, sexuality, class and race has become essential to my existence and I wouldn't have it any other way. Instead of being a silent citizen, I hope to critically analyze and deconstruct oppressive systems. I want to be an agent for positive social change and taking classes like this one enables me to have a framework to build off of. I am thankful to have been a part of this class and truly enjoyed the constructive and respectful conversations that we had together. I hope that others from this class feel inspired to continue looking into gwss issues and make it a part of their daily life.

Final Blog

Even before signing up/taking this course, I have been interested in gender/women/sexuality studies. I’ve been a Judith Butler fan before I knew who Judith Butler was. But I hadn’t really thought about the “everyday? in all of it. Luckily, this course helped me to see that aspect and, more importantly, helped me see the everyday of gender and power in my own life.

Since I am a Butler fan, the essays on gender as a performance were especially intriguing to me, especially because they were very much focused on the everyday. The Butler piece, along with a other readings, really got me thinking about 1.) how people do (perform) gender, 2.) what kind of performance society expects, and 3.) how the way gender is performed is tied to power. From all of this, I learned what I believe…that gender is performed in a million different ways, that it becomes something personal, but through all that society creates gender norms. Of course anyone going against social norms is looked at as different, queer, or indecent.

By reading Johnson’s essay on the +5 system, it is clear that there are people in society who are privileged and therefore, powerful, and in turn there are people (lower on the +5) who are oppressed. Oppression, a system within itself, creates more cycles…oppressed people are held down by the privileged that control all the means (government, money, etc.).

It was great to take this class with students who were first being introduced to some of the theories and topics we discussed. It made the course interesting and allowed ideas to be challenged and rethought. As for me, I’ll leave with the understanding that gender and sexuality are not as technical and scientific as they once were understood to be…they are raw and personal and can’t be defined by society.

Katie and Rebecca --Thanks for a great semester; I look forward to working with both of you in courses in the future.

December 18, 2008

Blog Ten

I am quite invested in changing power structures concerning gender, race, class, etc and I've decided to devote my life to working towards this goal. I'm majoring in GWSS studies and hope to be a life long learner of change not only through school and books, but most importantly by meeting other people and helping to build coalitions. I am currently employed by a wonderful non-profit organization and hope to continue in this vein in the future. I feel that community services have the potential to create a valuable space for diverse peoples to gain access to resources and to have their voices heard. They also have the potential to give marginalized people leadership and employment positions and to help them reach above the poverty line. I feel it is important to live a life that is mindful of other people and our environment and that is actively engaged in building and maintaining societal sanity.

Final Blog

All though this class I found it hard to agree with a lot of what was said. I can see where things like patriarchy, oppression, body image, etc are coming from, but I guess in "my world" they don't really exist. Yes, I can see it happening around me at times, but I have never really felt the negative effects of such things, or at least not to the extent where I can't just shake it off. Also, with the way the world has changed so much in the past few decades, all those concepts feel like a thing of the past to me. I have always felt that women and men are pretty much equal in most aspects of everyday life these days and by saying that women are oppressed we are only dwelling in the past and causing it to become our future. I feel like a lot of times people cause themselves to be oppressed. Of course there are concrete systems out there that cause oppression, but many times it seems to be like we make our own oppressing system in our minds. We look at the ads and media and think we're too fat or not pretty enough, which causes low self-esteem. Well if we actually took a moment to realize a few things it wouldn't have to be that way. You could look at these "perfect" people and realize they had to work extremely hard to make their bodies look that way and you could do the same. You could look at them and realize that they turned to surgery to make themselves "beautiful" and that you would never want to do that to yourself. Or you could realize that they aren't so perfect after all and they aren't the people you should be imitating anyway. It works this way for many factors besides body image, like the power of men over women and one race over another. If you didn't let yourself think and act that way, a lot of times, but not all, you would realize that you can change those parts of your life.

I think this and the fact that I'm more privileged in some ways than I realized, is why I can't always agree or don't see this in my life. I have always been "one of the guys" ever since I was little; probably a perk of growing up with two older brothers and all of their friends. I don't let guys overpower or oppress me. I know that sometimes women truly can't help it, but to those that can, stop complaining and start changing!

So I guess with all this I'm trying to say that the biggest things I realized are that in many ways I am privileged and that there are things I think we can do to change how some "unprivileged" people feel. Therefore, there are two things I am going to do to change the relationship between gender and power in my everyday life. One is that I am going to be more optimistic and stop complaining and taking the little things to heart because I realized that I do have it much better than some people and the problems that I stress about are in fact very small in comparison to what I could be dealing with. The other is that I am going to make the best effort I can to make certain people realize that they are the ones oppressing themselves, but not to judge so harshly some women, as I do now, because some truly can’t overcome their oppression like I can.

Gender, Power and Everyday Life

The main point that I will take from this class is that women are oppressed. It sounds so simple and obvious because it’s been said before, but until I took this course, I didn’t actually believe it. I was one of those people who was in denial because I was so used to being oppressed that I didn’t realize I was oppressed. “The word ‘oppression’ is a strong word? (Frye, 6). I still feel that I am much more privileged (less oppressed) than some people, especially those who are not Caucasian. I do not have a career or children yet, so I haven’t had to experience the oppression that Frye writes about around that, but I have realized how large of a role patriarchy is in our society. I’m currently living with two males who assume that I should cook and clean because I’m the female. I see this in many families I know.

In general, I think I’ve become more understanding of others’ perspectives. My classmates have shared personal stories of hardship that have impacted the way I think of oppression and people who are different and/or less fortunate than me. Katie has also made an impact on the way I feel about everyone’s opinions/voices. On multiple occasions, she assured my peers that they knew what they were talking about; that their thoughts/statements were valid. That made the whole vibe of the class very open and accepting.

This class has pushed me to stand up for women and equality.

Final Hurrah

I had a very enjoyable time during this class. I hope that I can remember half of the things that I learned during the course of the semester. The main thing I would like to take from this class is the ability to put myself in the shoes of others. I thought that I could do it before taking this class but really I could only put myself in the shoes of other members of the +5. I would put myself in their shoes but not their frame of mind and upbringing. Before participating in this class I would give my seat up to a woman on the bus or hold open a door for a woman for no other reason than she was female. After reading Frye's essay, Oppression I know that many women would view these acts as oppressive. I admit that since reading the article I stopped doing these things and I have taken a objective look at the reason that I did those things and how others practice these acts. I have come to the conclusion that through my upbringing I was taught to be courteous, especially to women. In the future I will strive to hold doors and give up my seat to people because I am courteous and not because of their gender. Making this change was very hard to do because I had been conditioned to perform these acts without thinking, and when I forced myself not to do them I felt like a jerk, for lack of a better word. There are many more instances that I could remark upon but I would rather not continue to type on and on. So, farewell GWSS, I will never forget this class and the time that we spent together. It feels strange to think that this class is not a mandatory class for graduation because I feel that everyone can benefit in immense ways from completing this course and putting in an earnest effort.


The most revealing part of this class for me came in the first section, with the definition of patriarchy and priviledges. As a dude who's thrived in a previous gender studies course and the first couple weeks of this course, it was obvious to me in an empirical way that, at least in a scholarly setting, feminism is not, as one previous blogger claimed, all about hating men; its about hating a system which favors men, among other demographics, without any inherent merit on their part. The first few weeks, however, really put his into focus and gave language to why feminist studies and social action, or racial studies and social action, or sexuality studies and social action are necessary (class issues and consciousness being fairly well addressed already).

People, however, are what systems work through, and myself being at the top of the patriarchy foodchain, I have a relatively strong role in allowing the system to operate as it does. At the same time, I am immensely aware of how little I can change as a whole. Still, I believe its good to at least understand and acknowledge the situation in one's own life. Acknowledge that there is a birdcage around so many people's life and that you cannot simply say that if they were better, they would fly away. The cage needs to be removed first. As mentioned before, I can't lift that cage myself, but I myself can try to loosen some of the wires at least. I can't say how exactly as I don't really aspire to be in a position of any real power to do something concrete, but I'll be sure to if/when the opportunity arises.

Final Blog

In this class what i learned most about was perspectives. You guys did a great job of creating this space where you could really put yourself in someone else's shoes. I think that is completely necessary if we are to understand where they are coming from and why they feel the way they do. For example I was able to think about what it might be like to be transgendered and how that person might feel in our society. It makes everyone that our society dehumanizes seem human again. So I will definitely change the way I look at people in our society.

In relation to gender and power I can now more clearly see how power and gender work in our society. I will definitely change the way I react in certain situations, but more importantly I will not worry so much about "doing gender" or being a girl. Society puts a lot of pressure on us to do our gender roles really well in order to have power. But I feel it's more important to be myself and work on breaking those systems down. What's most important isn't having one sex more powerful than the other, but having true equality and acceptance.

bye bye GWSS1001

This class has been pretty intellectually stimulating for me. I’m sure that it will take awhile for me to become aware of the impact this class has had on my understanding of gender and power everyday life. One thing I know for sure is that I have newfound respect for gender studies scholars. I read the work of so many intriguing authors this semester—authors who challenged what I thought was true and supplanted those thoughts with new ones.

To change the relationship between gender and power in my everyday life, I will hold the perspectives I’ve gained very close to my consciousness, and attempt to live my life in a way that accepts my location in society just the way it is. I’m a white, heterosexual, non-Christian, middle-class woman, and although some of these categories are flexible, this is my exact location in this exact moment.

This means that I will also attempt to live my life in a way that accepts the locations of other people in society, just the way they are. Hopefully this acceptance will continue to inspire new awareness of the dynamics that occur among individuals regardless of whether they struggle with their location in society. I hope to become a therapist one day, and I’m sure such awareness will serve me in ways that I can’t imagine yet. I have all these new questions, like—what emotions does a transsexual person struggle with? What sort of therapy benefits people who have been raped? What can we do for the working poor? I’m excited to see what will have happened in the world by the time I finish school.

Thanks for a great semester.

Final Blog

After taking this class, I have a better understanding of the idea that not just one person can change the whole world. But, there are a few ways in which I could change my world. I’ve never been outgoing, mostly just because I am easily intimidated by people. I hardly ever speak up in a group, especially in a group of guys, and prefer to let other people take the spotlight. For some reason I always think that it would be better in someone else’s hands. Something this class restated in many ways is that everybody deserves the chance to be heard. I try to give this courtesy to other people, but oftentimes forget to apply it to myself. This class reinforced the fact that being noticed isn’t a bad thing, even if you’re noticed for being different. It is only by being noticed that you will make yourself known. Also, I realized that things could be a lot worse for me. There are people out there who have so many struggles with our power system that being shy would be the least of their worries. I live in a society where opportunities for women are increasing all the time, so while not all women are on the same level as men, some of them are- and some are higher. But, it’s not a competition- the important thing to realize is that a lot of the time, the only oppressive forces in our lives are ourselves. And, though somewhat indirectly, this class has helped me to realize that I have no idea what I could really achieve in life. I am constantly making excuses and limiting myself to what I’ve done in the past or to what people expect from me. Are women more limited than men in their opportunities? Yes. But, I’ve learned that using that as an excuse doesn’t really get women anywhere. So overall, I found that while there are a certain number of restricting limits on what we can do with our lives, there are other limits that we put on ourselves. And until we remove these self-inflicted boundaries, the concrete, systematic ones will not go away, either.

MOVING ON....The Final Blog

I guess the best way for me to start out my last blog is to quote my first blog. “My hope is that women and men will now be afforded opportunities to be themselves without the biases of the past.? I would add to that. I would wish that all of us would critically be able to evaluate our biases when it comes to gender in everyday life and in that way be able to change the limitations of accepted behavior for ourselves and within our society. This is what I hope for my children, as well, as all of you in this course, and society as a whole. I believe each one of us can make a difference in our world. Whether, it’s counseling a women at a shelter or nurturing a friend so they can move on to a better life.

My life has afforded me experiences, both positive and negative, which have made me the person I am. There were people and situations, which provided me the insight, which enabled me to move into the light. One clear moment in time, was the day I realized that what my ex-husband thought of me mattered to me no longer. I will continue to grow in the knowledge that I take from this course in my everyday life.

I hope what I have shared was beneficial to my classmates. I believe this course should be a required freshman course. Society, in many ways, has moved forward but in saying that, there are many ways gender bias still permeates our lives. You have been afforded many things because of what women and men have accomplished in the past, and still continue to fight for now. What I can say for sure that in my journey many things have changed. There are opportunities now that are offered to you that never existed 40 years ago. As I sighted in my first blog, girls in high school 40 years ago played half-court basketball because our society believed that full-court was too strenuous an activity for the “weaker sex.?

As I have gained critical knowledge and personal insight from what I have learned and experienced in this course, I feel I have so much to offer others by example. I will continue to encourage women, as well as men, to become what they want to be without confining themselves to someone else’s ideal of how you should “do? your gender. I plan to take training in counseling abused women so that I can help someone envision and then put in place their dream. I will challenge myself with the knowledge that I gained from this course and my life experiences to make sense of my own life so that I can show others that living oppressed is not living.

Thank you, Katie and Rebecca, and classmates for this amazing chapter in my journey.

December 17, 2008

Final Blog!!!!

After having had this class, the one thing that I will do to change the relationship between gender and power in my everyday life is to try to go against gender and power norms every chance I get no matter how hard it is or if I am unaware of the fact that I am doing it sometimes. I will also be more aware and passionate about the fact that we are all in oppressed in our own little birdcages as we were told in Frye's piece so I will try not to judge others just looking from the outside in and not care about how people are looking at me from the outside in because they are not in my "birdcage" and do not know the half of my story. For me this will be my hardest task because I have become so accustomed to norms of gender and power that when I see something not in compliance with it, I automatically start to judge. I do not mean that I judge out loud and talk about people, but I do mean that I make assumptions that should not be made and/or judge them for their actions according to my own definition of norms. Now this is not anything I am proud of but something that I did not even realize until taking this class. I would like to thank Katie, Rebecca, and all my classmates for helping me realize this, so I can change this aspect of myself, and work towards changing the relationship between gender and power in my everyday life.

Final Blog

As a male taking a class aimed predominantly at females, the class was a struggle from the start. Right off the bat, articles attempting to disprove biology 'cause it makes people feel bad about themselves assaulted my senses and incited my anger. Indeed, for the first part of class, I read each new article with more disgust. The lone exception, ironically, was the Allan Johnson piece which was presented a much more level-headed argument and was more reasonable in its assertions. If I take anything away from the course readings, it would be Johnson's +5 system. When we hit the articles on sexuality, the absurdness of Catherine MacKinnon and Anne Koedt struck a chord in me. MacKinnon especially, with her asinine assertions that male sexuality is activated by violence against women and quivering children. How she graduated from an Ivy League school and was also a assistant professor of Law here at the U of M is beyond me; what a joke! The whole "men are evil" thing started to get a little stale by the time we hit the domestic violence unit.

Also, it was hard for me to connect to the class entirely because I felt like all the material was relatively well-known: feminism, gender and race oppression, domestic violence, etc. It's all pretty much common knowledge. Though it's good to refresh ones knowledge about these subjects, the people claiming that they view their life in a very different manner after going through the readings are probably embellishing a little bit. I will say however that the in-class discussions were always superb, and Katie and Rebecca did an admirable job with the material at hand, as controversial or offensive as it may be.

Final Blog

This class has definitely helped me understand better why society is the way it is, how it works, why people do what they do, etc. This was a surprise to me, a little at least, to realize just how much my thinking has been broadened by this class considering the way I thought of everything before (my group of friends and I have always been extremely open minded about everything and very accepting of diversity) and, at the same time, very exciting to know that I was able to broaden my mind even further and discover just how broad my thinking was throughout the class. The subjects we talked about throughout class were fascinating and definitely made me think of things differently, especially the topic of power which I find extremely intriguing which is probably because of the line of work I am heading into. I am majoring in math and chemistry and then becoming a teacher, so I felt like I was able to relate a fair few of the topics we talked about to what was going on in my own life, especially the idea of power. I already knew when I decided to be involved in math and chemistry that it was a male dominated system and that it would probably be very difficult for me to make an impression because of that but I had never known why. It's always been difficult for me to understand why everyone just doesn't accept everyone else for who they are and what they can do and not who they think everyone should be and what they think everyone should do. Learning about all the different power theories and exploring the +5 system, heirarchy, oppression, and everything else definitely helped me understand that better and has convinced me to try and 'spread the word' or at least educate others about what is going on in our world. I know I probably can't do a lot and I know everything takes time, but I'm hoping that maybe if I just start with my own classroom I can help move society towards a world with less discrimination and oppression, especially since I think maybe part of the reason there is so much discrimination and such is because people just don't know or understand what is going on.

Thank you for teaching this class, it definitely was an amazing and intriguing class!

December 16, 2008

Final Blog : (

I had always been aware that gender dualities and oppression had existed, but it wasn’t until I took this class that I understood exactly what they were. Oppression is more than just domestic abuse or a glass ceiling; it comes from a normalized way of thinking about sex, gender, and sexuality. Mythical norms have been created and internalized by people, and they are used to create “inherent? dualities. People perform gender because it is believed to be natural, and they place that accountability on others as well as themselves. As a culture we produce and regenerate these ways of thinking and acting, and it shows its face in social systems.
As a global studies major, and future study abroad student, I hope to take what I’ve learned about gender and power and see how it compares to other places on an international level. I have previously studied women and religion in the Middle East, and I think I now have a better understanding of how both religious and secular states impose different oppressions on these women. Also, I have an invested interest in the women of my home state. I’ve advocated for women’s reproductive rights there in the past, and I hope to continue as abortion issues continue to resurge in South Dakota. I understand now how laws shaping reproductive rights are really a way of controlling women and accessibility. Another issue near to my heart is the neglect of women’s issues on the reservations. A friend from Pine Ridge, SD, opened my eyes to the sad situation last year, and I hope I can advocate for those women in the future. I hope my schedule will allow me time in the future to get involved with the women’s groups on campus.

Final Blog

Initially, I thought that by taking this class some light humor and entertainment would be added to my schedule and while this was true, I never anticipated learning so much about myself and taking so much away from the class. It made me appreciate my life in the sense that my parents have a healthy, non-abusive relationship in which we are all safe. I feel very fortunate to have that seeing as it doesn't sound like it is as common of a situation as one would think. Additionally, I feel much more empowered and confident as a woman. After learning about oppression and such it was kind of a wake up call to stand up for myself because I can be more confident than to let men walk all over me (not that this means I was a pushover to men before taking Gender Power and Everyday Life). I learned about different gender roles and how we all subconsciously perform differently around different sexes. After learning this I picked up on it in movies, my friends', and even my own everyday life. I am much more interested now in the subject matter than I was before and hope to take similar courses in the future. Thanks for making it so interesting and such a fun semester.

December 15, 2008

Final Blog

This class has really opened my eyes to a woman's situation in our society and how it is affected by power in our everyday lives. I can pretty safely say that I have led a pretty sheltered life so far. My dad has always treated my mother with respect and I honestly can't recall a single time that I have seen him yell at her or openly argue with her in front of us children. They disagree and have different ways of doing things, but my dad usually stays out of her way and lets her have her say. In a way I think that this, although a great thing, has blinded me and given me a false sense of how things really are. After having gone through this class I can see that I need to step it up and make sure that I treat women the way that I know they deserve to be treated. I know that at times I have been guilty of playing into the patriarchal system that exists in our society, but I have never had the whole way it operates laid out so clearly and poignantly. What I need to do is give myself a self evaluation and see where I’m at in the scheme of things as it relates to patriarchy and do my best to reduce the ways in which I contribute to its cycle. This class has taught me a lot about the state of our society, what kinds of things are really going on behind the curtains, and how these different issues perpetuate themselves and affect our everyday lives.

Thanks Katie and Rebecca! You've taught me a lot and I appreciate the things I have learned in class. :)

Final Blog

To start out, I have to admit this class was a bit of a struggle for me. My personality is very compromising and is always looking out for the best way to solve things. I then had to start reading very biased articles, and it took me out of my comfort zone. Sure, I knew that women were oppressed in society, but I didn't know how it came to be that way. For instance, I knew that there was gender and that there was sex. I did not know that sex was our basic male and female distinctions and gender was how we performed our sexes; I thought they were all one in the same. I found it very intriguing to see how men and women perform gender to try to fit themselves into the +5 system the best way that they can. Obviously, men tend to see themselves as the superior, but women are trying to prove to society that they aren't just women who have to wear make-up and put on sexy clothes to be wanted or needed in society. As I have learned about the oppression of women in class, I have been able to observe it on the school campus and in my own personal life. For instance, my brother has always made jokes that tend to be a little more degrading to women. Of course, he is very loving and caring, but I don't believe he always thinks before he says things. In our case, I'm always less than he is. He's always smarter than I am, he's always better at sports than I am, he's better looking than I am, etc. He is just kidding; I know that, but sometimes I take it personal. I'm older than he is, so he should look up to his elder and want to take advice from me, which is starting to happen. I also think it is apart of him growing up because he's learning how to perform his own gender and try to be "manly" and stick up for himself and not let his big sister tell him otherwise. Once I've taken this class, I've explained the importance of performing his gender in an appropriate manner. I've told him that he is in part of the +5 system in the sense that he's on top and needs to take responsibility for not using that against other people. I am also part of that system, but rather a +4. I've learned where I need to stand in society and how I can put in my two cents and try to make it a better place on my part. Everyone needs to be aware of oppression and how it affects individuals. Oppression is not something that goes unwitnessed, and that is how this class has opened my eyes and made me want to broaden everyone else's horizons in my life.


Before I started this class I thought I new about a portion of subjects in relation to women’s rights and the hierarchy in our Western culture, however, I had much to learn. I am a female college student living in a house with six male roommates from my hometown. I believe that by living and interacting with men on an everyday basis veiled me from realizing how oppressed women are in our society. I will use this class to not only remind me to step out to try to overcome social norms, hierarchies, and the +5 system that our culture creates but also to explain to my roommates and make them realize how important it is to treat women with respect. The guys I live with are very polite but I want to constantly remind them respect women sexually, intellectually, and emotionally. I learned, especially from the oppression piece, that men think they are trying exceptionally hard to overcome sexism, but in fact it is continually occurring. I have to admit that after taking this class I have turned into, what my roommates call a little more stubborn. I now resent some of their comments when commercials with “sexy women? on them or even how some of them still think they do not have to take care of children or cook their own meals. I am so surprised at the new things I learned. I thought I new the basics on gender and race when really I didn’t even touch the surface. This class has opened my eyes to a variety of issues not only concerning women in American cultures but from cultures around the world as well. Thank you for making me realize how controlled our world is. I will try to break away from the norm to change the system of patriarchy in our culture.

December 14, 2008

Final Blog

In the beginning of this semester I was frustrated with this course material. The theories were too broad for me because I was only applying them to my own plus-four life. I was in no means trying to be ignorant, and I thought of myself as always being an open-minded person. I grew up in Northeast Minneapolis and I lived amongst largely diverse people, however I never thought that these other people’s lives could be so dramatically different from mine. My neighbors had different philosophies, different limitations, and different knowledge than my family. So when I heard these theories, I believed that they were false and over exaggerated. Concepts like Richardson’s idea of performing gender seemed as though theorists were looking too far into everyday life and over analyzing it, however, this performance of gender explains many situations because it is how our society works. Frye’s piece on Oppression seemed way over exaggerated and completely out of line. However, as the semester moved on and we explored the idea of a +5 lifestyle it was clear to me that I live a VERY privileged life. The course was not about me, however about humanity in general. Wow, what a wake up call. I kind of feel like slapping myself for thinking that way. There is a certain lens that you have to look though to completely understand where these theories are coming from (rose-tinted? Heh...). The course seemed to unite women from all walks of life, recognizing that we all have struggles, from trying to find your place in society as a homosexual, to trying to find the balance of gender roles in family life, to fighting for fair maternity laws, to dealing with domestic violence within a marriage. I know this is going to sound corny and I am sorry that I could not spare you, however this has been quite a journey for me. I have met some of the most intellectual women within those classroom walls. Thank you so much.

Last Blog

I am realizing after having this class that I am so much more perceptive about gender relationships in my life than I was before. It’s empowering because I feel more confidant about myself, but it’s also kind of depressing because I realize so much more how oppressive it can be to be a woman in patriarchy! I work in a bar as well, so I am more aware of the gender and sexual politics that are everywhere in that sort of space! I think what is best in my situation, as a female 23 year-old college student is to be aware of this dynamic in society, and be ready to gently challenge the “normative? views people have of each gender and the expectations we have for ourselves and each other as gender-performing individuals. I have already been able to do this a bit where I work, just by making people explain what they mean and where their ideas come from after they make a mocking or derogatory comment about women. I have thought of Johnson’s view, particularly when I am at work, of taking accountability for our actions and beliefs in a gendered society and making sure others do the same. I also think Audre Lorde’s tactics of looking at differences as useful perspectives for understanding gender in different situations and social spaces, and using differences (especially ones that overlap as in her situation) to break down the dualisms that are still so prevalent in our patriarchal society are concepts that are very applicable to my everyday life. Her ideas are a way of being more open-minded and a way of thinking more critically before passing judgment. Overall, I think knowledge is power, and the more we educate ourselves on issues involving women, gender and sexuality, the more power we have to, even in a small way, change the way others think about gender. From here, we have the power to change people’s actions, and hopefully provide a more accepting environment for everyone.

Final Blog

I am realizing after having this class that I am so much more perceptive about gender relationships in my life than I was before. It’s empowering because I feel more confidant about myself, but it’s also kind of depressing because I realize so much more how oppressive it can be to be a woman in patriarchy! I work in a bar as well, so I am more aware of the gender and sexual politics that are everywhere in that sort of space! I think what is best in my situation, as a female 23 year-old college student is to be aware of this dynamic in society, and be ready to gently challenge the “normative? views people have of each gender and the expectations we have for ourselves and each other as gender-performing individuals. I have already been able to do this a bit where I work, just by making people explain what they mean and where their ideas come from after they make a mocking or derogatory comment about women. I have thought of Johnson’s view, particularly when I am at work, of taking accountability for our actions and beliefs in a gendered society and making sure others do the same. I also think Audre Lorde’s tactics of looking at differences as useful perspectives for understanding gender in different situations and social spaces, and using differences (especially ones that overlap as in her situation) to break down the dualisms that are still so prevalent in our patriarchal society are concepts that are very applicable to my everyday life. Her ideas are a way of being more open-minded and a way of thinking more critically before passing judgment. Overall, I think knowledge is power, and the more we educate ourselves on issues involving women, gender and sexuality, the more power we have to, even in a small way, change the way others think about gender. From here, we have the power to change people’s actions, and hopefully provide a more accepting environment for everyone.

Last Blog

I am realizing after having this class that I am so much more perceptive about gender relationships in my life than I was before. It’s empowering because I feel more confidant about myself, but it’s also kind of depressing because I realize so much more how oppressive it can be to be a woman in patriarchy! I work in a bar as well, so I am more aware of the gender and sexual politics that are everywhere in that sort of space! I think what is best in my situation, as a female 23 year-old college student is to be aware of this dynamic in society, and be ready to gently challenge the “normative? views people have of each gender and the expectations we have for ourselves and each other as gender-performing individuals. I have already been able to do this a bit where I work, just by making people explain what they mean and where their ideas come from after they make a mocking or derogatory comment about women. I have thought of Johnson’s view, particularly when I am at work, of taking accountability for our actions and beliefs in a gendered society and making sure others do the same. I also think Audre Lorde’s tactics of looking at differences as useful perspectives for understanding gender in different situations and social spaces, and using differences (especially ones that overlap as in her situation) to break down the dualisms that are still so prevalent in our patriarchal society are concepts that are very applicable to my everyday life. Her ideas are a way of being more open-minded and a way of thinking more critically before passing judgment. Overall, I think knowledge is power, and the more we educate ourselves on issues involving women, gender and sexuality, the more power we have to, even in a small way, change the way others think about gender. From here, we have the power to change people’s actions, and hopefully provide a more accepting environment for everyone.

Final Blog

What I will be taking away from this class is a deeper knowledge of what is going on in society. I was always aware of the plus five systems and the oppression of minorities but never in this light. The articles that we read in this class really made me think outside the box about many different issues that occur and how to handle them in a civilized manner. Sometimes I think about the outcome of my life if I was another race or if I was a part of the entire plus five systems, and I know that my life would be entirely different than it is now. Sometimes I think back to articles that we have read and challenge them because I know that all information given in a bias or opinionated article will not give the best facts, but these articles shined light on issues that most people try to cover up the reality that they are happening.
What I will be taking from this class is the knowledge that gender roles are real and that many people try to act as if they would mind if their daughter or niece plays with “boy? toys when in reality they do. Gender roles are making life harder for women in my eyes because all the big corporate roles are said to be for men and if a women is on top of the hierarchy then people will begin to believe she did some unethical things to get there or she just doesn’t deserve to be in that spot. I feel like I have learned the most from this class out of all of my classes that I have taken this semester and I am very happen that I had the chance to experience a gender studies course.

December 13, 2008

Final Blog Instructions

In this final blog entry, consider what you will take from this class by thinking about what you will do to change the dynamic of gender and power in your everyday life. You can respond however you wish, but you should focus on one of the themes, ideas, or readings, we covered during the semester.

Loving Women Study- last blog

I really like the fact that I had taken this class because I learned so much about gender, power and an everyday life. Especially when reading Johnson’s plus 5 systems and fry’s Oppression article, because it made me realize that every one is oppressed in many different ways and that the plus 5 system is a tragic to everyone. After reading these two articles, I have a good understanding of how oppression and plus 5 system really works in our society. The plus 5 system is the truth of an American life and how judgment is made upon a person. Is like you get credit to be male in the first place, then you get a second credit being a white male, then you get the third credit for being heterosexual and then a forth credit being a Christian, and lastly you get a fifth credit being a. people who are not as what Johnson had describe in his plus 5 system are automatically consider lower then the man I had just described. The lower mans are also being oppressed by this system Johnson had talked about. That’s why every time when we see men, we as women do not know that they too are oppressed and not just we, women that are the only one that are oppress. Like Fry had mention in her article that, women have their own limits and guys have their own limits. I always thought to myself before I had taken Women Study class that women are much lower than men; because I grew up in a culture that men are always on the top list and women are consider just house wives. I will not forget these two article because is an understanding and the truth about life in America. I will look at gender in an everyday life as this oppression and as a plus 5 system that surround us in America.

I have always thought of myself as a liberal minded feminist. Going into this class I thought I knew the basics of feminist thoughts and theories. Throughout the semester I have learned so much more about gender, women and sexuality studies, and the thoughts and theories involved. In the readings and lectures I have learned about dualisms and Johnson’s 5 part theory, along with many other ideas. Though some were not new to me I have never thought about in depth. This class made me look more in depth to what I see and hear in real life. I enjoyed having such a diverse class of thinkers; it gave different ways of looking at what we learned. It was interesting reading the articles, because they were so diverse. I have rarely read articles from 20th century authors of color and authors of diverse sexual orientation. It helped me understand many points of views and made me want to learn more. I feel that before this class I was not as educated about the ideas from people like Lorde or Anzaldua and how they view their oppression. After this class I want to read more articles from author like Lorde and Anzaldua, because it’s a great way to learn about feminist thoughts and ideas. Realizing how much has changed from the early 20’s for women is amazing, but what is also amazing is how much still needs to change. Just by looking at adds or listening to people speak I can still see that women are treated way differently than men. Though I would have no desire to live in the twenties there are aspects of 2008 that I can’t stand and I think must change soon. With this class I feel like I have the insight and tools to do something and in the future I am going to do my best to try to change something about society. I really enjoyed this class, so I have to give mad props to Rebecca and Katie for making this class exciting, fun and educational. Rebecca and Katie have also inspired me to choose GWSS as a minor. Thanks

December 12, 2008

last blog

I know guys back home who are quite sexist in their remarks and though they claim to be joking there still seems to be a bit of truth behind the kidding façade. I always tried to point this out to them, show them how bad these so called jokes really are but since I didn’t really know much about the subject it was usually brushed off. I feel that this class gave me the tools and knowledge I need to speak up in situations such as that and have my words carry more weight.
This class has made me realize more than ever that I need to speak up when I witness oppression in my everyday life. According to Johnson’s plus five system, I am a plus four which I feel gives me a certain amount of responsibility, as several the author’s stated, I must take accountability. Perhaps I can speak up for those woman who society may not be as willing to listen to due to their rank in Johnson’s system.
This class has also made me more aware of the gender roles that I act out and see in my everyday life. I just recently watched the movie “She’s the Man? and viewed it in a completely different light than before I took this class. The different ways “Viola? was treated when dressed as a boy and the different ways she had to act to pass as a boy were astonishing and I couldn’t believe I’d never noticed it before.
One other important thing I took from this class was what actually counts as domestic violence. Ann Jones article made me aware of just how many negative actions count as abusive behavior and it really made me examine my previous relationships for such behavior. I feel that because of this class, I now will have a better idea what to do if I find myself in such a situation.

last blog post gwss 1001 for chole005 =(

One of the most important things I took from this class was how issues such as race and income affect gender, and I certainly look at this now in a new light. Something that has also stuck with me is the idea of how gender is something that we perform (Candice West, Judith Butler). I think this has changed how I look at people everyday, and hopefully has not only allowed me to understand some of the strange things they do, but also hint at the reasons they may do them and to accept how their perspective is much different than mine.

A few other things in this class changed the way I looked at gender and every day life simply because they were things that I thought I knew about, but really didn't. The readings and statistics behind gender and how it relates to violence (Ann Jones, Barrie Levy/Denise Gamache)were very shocking and even disturbing. I think issues like rape and domestic violence are things that all of us want to think of as 'out there', when really we have to face the fact scary fact that it could happen to us, it likely will happen to us in one way or another sometime in our lives, and what we might do if and when we end up in such a situation.

Overall this class really did give me many tools to understand gender and how it relates to us and to society every day of our lives. Before I took this class I liked to think that gender was something other people were really concerned about, and not something I was controlled by. The truth is that it is something that is inescapable, but doesn't have to be something entirely limiting or bad. Thank you for teaching this class.

Final Blog

After taking this class, I have become especially attuned to the oppression of women in my everyday life. Whether it is demeaning pictures of women in mainstream advertisements, the lack of women in the professional math and science fields, or the reluctance of law enforcement to intervene to help women in domestic violence situations, women are oppressed almost everywhere I look. Before this class, I was oblivious and thought it was a thing of the past. Now I notice it everywhere. I also have become aware of the way in which some men feel that it is ok to oppress women and do it very openly. In my biology class, I have noticed that the men in my small group ban together and are actually very rude to the women in my group. They have no expectations for the girls and disregard much of our input. I also feel as though they act shocked when we do something beneficial for the team, as if they are surprised women can actually partake in educated activities.
Throughout the semester, I have seen a theme of the misconception that women only need to be pretty objects and nothing more. Women are not expected to succeed at anything other than being the primary caretaker. Women are not anticipated to be smart and if you are a smart, strong woman, you are out of the ordinary. Many times, you are looked down upon because you are not following the norms that our society has placed upon women.
I now have expectations for myself to not fall within this trap that our society has placed upon women. I have more drive than ever to prove others wrong and to be able to succeed as a working woman in the science field. I will no longer just disregard it when men put me down. I will stick up for my thoughts and efforts. I have already stuck up for myself within my biology group, as to the treatment of the male members to the women members. All in all, I aim to be a strong, independent woman and will do everything in my power to achieve my goals, regardless of everything that is going against me, which I did not realize until this class.

Final Blog

Final Blog

Katie and Rebecca that was a loaded question.

I think in order to change the relationship between gender and power, there are many components, but I think the first thing I need to do myself is to take accountability for my status, but also realize the oppression I receive (Johnson and Fyre). I always knew in the back in my mind of my oppression, as a Korean and as a woman, but I always rejected it. My life was filled with privilege; I had more opportunities than even white males did in my small Irish Catholic town. Another thing I must do in order to change the relationship between gender and power in my everyday life is to take accountability of my status (Johnson). Although I am Korean and a woman, I am still a heterosexual, Christian, and a part of middle class. I have more power than other people, I have more advantages, and I have more opportunities.

Another thing I plan to change the relationship between gender and power in everyday life is to accept Fausto-Sterling’s Five Sexes. I recognize that there is more than the female sex, and the male sex, and the “genders? applied to them are horrible. And with this, I have to take accountability also. If I hear or see people disgracing others because of being an intersex, “improperly? performing their gender, or as a transsexual, I must stand up and accept it is not okay. I will accept them for their choices, applaud them for resisting our societal norms, and teach my children one day of the restrictions on our sex, gender, and sexuality in our binary system.

Lastly, another thing I will do is to not judge a woman’s (or man’s) situation in such a black and white manner. I must take the context of their situation (may it be from a different sexuality, ethnicity, class) and see it from their lenses. I cannot judge one from my personal experiences, but try to understand in the context of theirs.

And yes, I know, I will 1.) Not pee/shower/change clothes2.) Go to the hospital 3.) Ask for a rape kit 4.) And send that sucker where he belongs!

Final Blog

I dated one guy who very strongly believes that men are smarter than women and stronger and all the other things we talked about in this class. My goal is to change his mind on that subject. Some of the essays we read would be very helpful in explaining how those theories are wrong. For example "A Question of Genius: Are Men Really Smarter Than Women?" would be very helpful in arguing that men and women are of equal intelligence. It may seem as though men are smarter than women in todays society, but that's only because of what each person is taught according to their gender. Before this class, I never would have even thought about that fact. I would have just accepted the fact that men are smarter and gone with it. I would also reference "Where I come from is LIke This." The part about this that stuck out to me was when the writer said her mother moved the furniture by herself and didn't need a man's help. When I was in the younger teen years I would rearrange my room all the time and I didn't want help from anyone, and my bed was huge. Somewhere along the line I lost that drive to do things like that by myself, but now I remember how stubborn I was and that I wanted to do everything by myself. I think if I can change just this one person's view on equality among men and women, that can spread to people he knows, and so on. I know that before this class I didn't think women were oppressed at all, but now I definitely realize differently. And I think other people need to hear it too. Telling one person is just the beginning.

December 11, 2008

final blog!

Coming into this class, I thought of myself being equal to men as a woman. I always thought that the oppression of women ended a long time ago. Obviously it was a thing of the past since I cant recall when women gained equal rights to men. However, now I see aspects of gender oppression in every part of my life. From advertisements, to sex, to the body, women are oppressed by all angles. I have also learned that this applies to people of all kinds through the plus five system. Women are not the only people that suffer from oppression in America.
I’ve also learned that gender is a performance. Gender is not male and its not female, gender is what you choose to be. Society and norms teach us that we must be male or female because it does not know how to deal with those who are unknown to their norms.
I will use what I have learned in class and apply it to the real world. Using what ive learned, I will respect everyone around me because we really are all equal. Just because someone doesn’t fit the norm, that doesn’t mean they are unequal. It means that they bring diversity. We can all learn from each other, we shouldn’t use our differences as a means of oppressing others.
Lastly, ive learned what to do if im raped: 1-don’t pee 2-don’t shower 3-don’t change clothes 4-rape kit 5-press charges!!!

Final Blog...

This was the first gender/women’s studies course I have ever taken. Many things that we covered in the course I was aware that they existed but never recognized them in my own life or others lives around me. Power is a very important aspect in every relationship. My boyfriend and I, in my opinion, seem to have an equal partnership. This class has helped to keep our balance of power as close to equal as we can. He recognizes that I do and always have had strong ideas, morals, and standards, even before we started dating. I recognize that he has had a difficult family life that still exits, yet I do not excuse any of his behavior because of his family. We support each other and try to communicate the best we can. Although the balance of power seems to be equal now, I know that things can change in the future. I myself will never allow myself to compromise myself for someone else. I will do everything in my power not to control the relationship, but to control myself. This same ideology can be applied to all relationships in my life, not only romantic ones. I can also recognize this same power dynamic in my parent’s relationship. My mother is a very strong willed woman and my father had a difficult family life growing up (sounds familiar huh?). They too have a seemingly equal partnership, both with successful careers that they love, both take responsibility in taking care of the house as well as my sister and I. They never really argue and seem to “pick? their battles, when they do take place. I only hope to model my relationship after my parents, while still keeping the balance of power in the back of my mind.

Final Blog

When I signed up for this class I did not realize how much I would actually take from it. I thought I was going to be learning about women through history and how men and women differ. But I was wrong. I learned so much more.
I learned that gender is not just a difference between a man and a woman, or being female or male. It is something that each person decides for themselves. There are no limits, and each person is entitled to perform their gender how they wish. Gender is not something that you have it is something that you perform. In our society their are norms that put people into certain categories, and this is not the way our society should work.
Something else I have learned is about oppression in our society. So many people deal with oppression and live their life dealing with it each day.
I will take what I learned from this class and use it in my life. I will not look at someone I think looks different than me in a negative way. I will always know that each person is allowed their own opinions and embrace everyone's differences. I will live my life knowing that the differences in our world are what makes our society prosper. I also will be aware of cliques and be aware that just because someone may look different doesn't mean they don't have things in common with you.
I will also use Marilyn Frye's article from now on to be aware of the oppression that is put upon others. I will realize that certain people are rewarded just because of their skin color, their religion, or how they may look. I will, like I try to, treat everyone with fairness and respect people for the person they are and not how they look. I have learned a lot and I will take it with me to further my acknowledgement of the society I live in.

Final Blog

Blog 11

I have learned a lot from this class, but it has been a different type of knowledge. Not the kind of repetitive textbook knowledge that sits in your head until after finals when you erase it all, the kind of knowledge that sticks with you and applies to your life. I think the piece we read in this class that really made me think was Plumwood's piece on Dualism. Although I feel like I am a strong young women, I never realized that there were time when I thought it was okay that males were dominant over females. Other dualisms like white and black just seemed natural in the world that we live in. I come from a small town, and being a freshman this year at a very large and diverse school has made me question my old opinions and beliefs. I have met people with varieties of race, gender and sexuality. I have realized that you cannot catergorize every into two different groups. No everyone is just either white or black, male or female, straight or gay. And just incase someone IS one of the two, it does not mean that one is superior to the other. Plumwood states that we need to look at differences not dualisms. There should be no value placed on our differences, and our differences should be valued in knowing that not eveyone is the same. In my life I am going to look at the differences I have with people and embrace them, and not place one above another. I know after taking this class that everyone has something great to offer and we should not have to rely on one group to define a subordinate group, but we should rely on all different groups to define eachother.

Final Blogging

What would I do with gender and power in my everyday life? Well I’ve already started on gender. One thing I do now is not to label people by two genders only as I have learned from many writers. They have taught me the many genders that exist. I just felt to uncomfortable just labeling people by either being a female or a male, after know all this. A transgender is a transgender, a male is a male, a female is a female, etc. Before this class I had only seen two genders now I see many more. However, I still feel uncomfortable labeling people so I’ll stick to calling people, people and let them tell me what they would like me to call them.
Power, however, will always be hard to get by. A lot of people struggle with power, even men. I don’t know quite how, I’m not a man so I wouldn’t know. All I know is that men have more power than women, but that is only if they let the men have more power. I say this because in my Hmong culture, even though our gender power are very uneven, I see that when certain things happen the women does gain a lot of power over the men. I have seen older women stand up against their husband and fight back when their husbands cheat on them. Usually or back then wives would not say anything because it was not abnormal for a man to marry a second wife. I don’t know the influence, but I like it. So I want to do the same thing. I want to be able to show young girls that yes they can follow the cultural rules, but they can also bend it so it fits equally between men and women. One thing that I have tried to show men in my culture is that girls can go hunting like them and shoot something if they want to like them. I did this, but never expected for so many of them supporting me. They smiled and complimented me. That was my first step. My next step is showing men in my culture that women can live independently successfully and still have children. Some or most men in my culture, especially the older generation, believe that we depend on them for support and children. Well one of my sister has proved them wrong and some are proud, but some old men would try to hit on her thinking she is a desperate divorcée. Well I want to be a part of those independent women. I want to show them that women can do whatever they like and be happy without a husband. And if they want children they could adopt those that need them as much as they need them. I want to show them that I can follow the culture and also do what I like even if it goes against some of their beliefs.

December 1, 2008

Blog 10

Lawrence Summers was a well known and highly regarded educational administrator at Harvard University. The things he said and claims he made as the president of Harvard should have been able to measure up to academic scrutiny. Making statements to the effect that women don’t want “80 hour a week? jobs when there are so many women who hold powerful positions in corporations and government is not something such a high ranking official in the field of education should feel comfortable making. With the wealth of academic knowledge at his disposal, one would think that a person in Summers’ position would have taken the time to at least provide facts relevant to an argument as poignant as the “fact? that women lack the necessary brain power and aptitude to succeed in scientific fields of research. One of the more laughable concepts Summers brings to the table is that when a woman drops a college course, it displays an inferiority in that subject. All I really know about dropping courses is what I have learned from dropping courses on a high school level. However, dropping a course usually meant not liking a professor, or needing a teacher was more suited for a different learning style, not an inadequacy in a subject. I think that much of what Summers says is based on misconceptions, opinion, and what he believes to be true from his own experience.