Introduction to Gender Studies
Gender Studies is an academic area of study that critically examines how gender shapes our identities, our social interactions and our world. Through exposure to interdisciplinary perspectives, students develop a framework for thinking about power relations and the ways that those relations are shaped and challenged by intersecting constructions of gender, race, class, sexuality, ability, age and nationality. Gender Studies examines everyday experiences, social and political institutions, literary and philosophical contributions, and past and present ideas and world events. The discipline provides students with tools to engage with and critically analyze these areas.
The field is struggling for the meaning of gender in this society. There are many societal factors that may endorse the study and even some elements negate them. The supporters of the gender studies pursuit it for the sake of general interest and the elements who negates it are doing so at individual basis. There is only one subject, introduced by the societal thinkers, impartial scholars and true learners about the gender studies, so that students can get familiar with gender at broad perspective. Under the normal circumstances, the four dimensions of this segment of the society studied in Gender studies.
Gender/sex plays a role in almost all spheres of life. It is an important aspect of politics and economy. It has an impact on everything from working life to intimate relations. It makes itself felt in war and in love.
We read the world through gendered glasses, and media, institutions, families, social networks and many other arenas construct gendered distinctions and norms for “proper” gendered behaviors and appearances. To visit a standard department store in order to find baby clothes or toys for toddlers that are NOT marked by gender is, for example, not such an easy task today. Even when people transgress gender in various kinds of transgenderism or queer practices, “proper” gender is often still an underlying norm for what should be transgressed.
Firstly, the historical foundations of the gender studies and the origin of this subject. The time bounded techniques had been used in this exploration. For example, Theories of Women’s Studies by Gloria Bowles basically pursuits for the historical bindings of the studies and demonstrates foots of this study as the proper discipline in many aspect.
Secondly, the subject matter covers the grounds of economic way and the action needed for the economic part in terms of gender studies. For example, the study materialist approach and the approach that shows that the meaning and the hidden knowledge behind the meaning is not the only requirement of this literature. Oppositely, the political economy and the dimensions of political economy is also a way of thinking in all aspects. There is known linkage between the political economy and the gender studies, the subject matter also showed that the globalization is pursuit for this change because the nature of the studies is highly depends upon the female character of this world more than male. The study of B. F. Reskin (Ed.), proposed the reality of the male occupations and the same occupations are consistently adopting by female with the same pace.
We tell stories because, in order to cope with the present and to face the future, we have to create the past, both as time and space, through narrating it.
—W. F. H. Nicolaisen
Wilhelm Fritz Hermann Nicolaisen (13 June 1927 – 15 February 2016)
Thirdly, the history is also something that is no changeable and constitutes importance because of endorsement by the historian of sociology and anthropology. There is strong link between these two different mindset and there is new subject comes with the new idea and the mindset to think about the gender. Cristina Bacchilega in his book Postmodern Fairy Tale: Gender and Narrative Strategies proposed about the same idea. The initial ideas presented by him in the book told an old story with the modern language in justified way about historical background of the gender studies with new look. The act that was doing repeatedly by the gender is actually inherited in him for long.
Fourthly, while the introductory material presented here said about the gender and the studies directly related with the gender in best possible way showed that the Feminism and are acts as both the private and the public one. The idea boosted while the J. B. Landes studied about the linkage of philosophy with this subject. The same writer proposed that the cultural studies are also closely related with the gender studies because the culture is also amalgamation of both sex with different proportions. The same gender study in philosophical paradigm constitutes some roots in epistemology as well. The developmental studies endorse its usage and take as good in all aspects. K Lennon and M Whiford also initiate the study about in 1994 about the feminist view, feminist thinking and the Feminist schools of thoughts about the epistemology in well-mannered way.
Gender Studies is a Transdisciplinary area of study which engages critically with gender realities, gender norms, gender relations and gender identities from intersectional perspectives. To study gender Intersectionality means to focus on the ways in which gender interrelates with other social categorizations such as ethnicity, class, sexuality identity, nationality, age, disability etc.
Teachers and students of Gender Studies are diverse, but share a belief that women and men, girls and boys, are much more than just gendered stereotypes and cultural “dopes” who simply perform a pre-given gender/sex, defined by a heteronormative two-gender-model. In Gender Studies, we analyze how gender/sex interacts with other social distinctions such as ethnicity, class, sexuality identity, nationality, age, disability etc. We explore how gender, power and norms are intertwined and cannot be understood independently of social and cultural contexts. We scrutinize how various kinds of social injustice, for example, class- and ethnicity-based injustices, often haves strong gendered dimensions. A key focus of Gender Studies is the question: how to foster change, make space for diversity and for new kinds of social, cultural and ecological sustainability and equality. Gender Studies educates agents for change.
In the end, one can say that the initial draft presented by Gloria Bowles and Renate Duelli Klein was the best draft of theories of the women studies. The study that opens another door for thinkers, writers and scholars so that they can collect the ideas from the society for the gender studies and presents some argumentative studies in this streamline. Theories of women’s Studies are articulated draft and the draft included the fourteen papers. The papers that showed the how much a female have right in this society.
A Brief History of Gender Studies
Even though Gender Studies is a relatively new phenomenon in higher education, it is today well established as an interdisciplinary field of study which draws on knowledge from the humanities, the social sciences, medicine, and natural science. The basis for the academic field of Gender Studies was in many countries laid in the 1970s, when women in Academia protested against the ways in which academic knowledge production made women invisible and ignored gendered power relations in society. Interdisciplinary study environments started to mushroom, among others in many European countries and in North America, where. So-called Women’s Studies Centers were set up, gathering critical teachers and students who wanted to study gender relations, and women, in particular. A common denominator for the development was strong links to women’s movements, activism, feminist ideas and practices. The research agenda was emancipatory, and the aim was to gather well founded scholarly arguments to further the political work for change in society, science and culture.
Who’s Science? For the Benefit of Whom?
The aim of the academic project of Gender Studies was to generate a new field of knowledge production which could gain impact on science and scholarly practices and theories.
Against this background, a critical and innovative approach to existing science and academic scholarship is one of the characteristics of the subject area. The relationship between knowledge, power and gender in interaction with other social divisions such as ethnicity, class, sexuality, nationality, age, disability, etc. is critically scrutinized in gender research.
From the beginning, there has been a lively debate among those who identify with the field about its contents, conceptual frameworks and theories: What is Gender Studies? What is the “object” of study? Is a delimited “object” of study needed? Is it more interesting to ask critical questions about the role of the subject of scholarly knowledge production? What about the impact on research of the ways in which the subject “behind” the research is embedded in gendered, sexualized, class-defined, ethnically and nationally located power relations? Questions such as: Who is doing science? For which purposes? And who benefits? Has been key issues in the unfolding of the academic project of Gender Studies.
A Diversity of Research Traditions
Since the start in the 1970s, gender research has been inspired by and embedded in many different and sometimes partly overlapping scholarly traditions, such as empiricism, Marxism, psychoanalysis, post structuralism, critical studies of men and masculinities, critical race theory, critical studies of whiteness, intersectionality (Intersectionality is a term that was coined by American professor Kimberlé Crenshaw in 1989. The concept already existed but she put a name to it. The textbook definition states: The view that women experience oppression in varying configurations and in varying degrees of intensity). and postcolonial theory, queer studies, lesbian, gay, bi and trans studies (so-called LGBT studies), critical studies of sexualities, body theory, sexual difference feminisms, black feminisms, ecological feminisms, animal studies, cyborg theory, feminist techno science studies, materialist feminisms. The field of study has grown and expanded rapidly on a worldwide basis, and given rise to a diversity of specific national and regional developments.
Feminist criticism and women’s studies
It was feminist criticism of gender inequality in the 1970s that provided the impetus for gender studies. In Academe, moreover, it was initially a critical response to the lack of knowledge and interest that was shown in half of humanity. Women’s studies, as the subject came to be called, started to complement the knowledge base of various disciplines. It was considered necessary to add knowledge about women’s lives and conditions in order to ensure that the knowledge base was not biased and that ignorance about the situation of women did not lead to injustice. It was considered necessary to study the situation and fill knowledge gaps.
However, it proved difficult to mainstream the results of women’s studies. They challenged and changed the overall disciplinary structure and in time disciplinary criticism grew stronger. The new insights were used to scrutinize academic traditions. Studies were made of the potential gender blindness of various disciplines, but more subtle questions were also raised about the influence of endocentric issues on all research. Established concepts and theories were reappraised. Attention was drawn to the discrimination of women researchers and women pioneers in various disciplines
Such studies, which may be characterized as complementary research, cannot be said to be state of the art today. The progress made varies in different disciplines and the task is by no means finished. Complementary research is almost always a necessary first step towards developing gender studies in a new field, and criticism of gender blindness in individual disciplines is still an important task
The main subject of women’s studies was the past and present position of women in society, i.e. not only the situation of women, but also their social relationships, including relationships between men and women. These studies also raised issues that could not be addressed either by the established disciplines or in the framework of women’s studies. It also became clear that it was not possible to understand the complex nature of social relationships solely by means of studies of women’s material circumstances, social affiliation, actions or failure to act etc. Historically and culturally determined conceptions of sex, or gender, proved to be important for people’s understanding of other people and the organization of social relationships.
Sex and/or gender
Two distinct terms were coined in women’s studies at an early stage: “sex” and “gender”. The purpose of distinguishing between these two concepts was to emphasize the difference between biological and social sex.
However, it has proved difficult to maintain this distinction. In France, in particular, it has often been pointed out that biological sex can only be understood with the help of our conceptions of it. According to some researchers one term – sex or gender – is enough, while others use both. However, all researchers share an interest in the cultural construction, the ideas, facts and values that it involves, and its functions and effects
The key differences between these two terms are:
|It is natural||It is a social construct.|
|It is biological. It denotes to visible differences in genitalia and related differences in procreative function||It is a socio-cultural construct and it refers to masculine and feminine qualities, behaviour patterns, related roles and responsibility, etc|
|It is a universal term||It is variable it changes under the influence of time, geographical and socio-cultural settings|
Gender is manifested at many levels: in the case of individuals, as an aspect of their own personalities; at the cultural level, in figures of speech, metaphors, categories; at the social level, as a principle for organization of work and decision-making processes. Gender is a classification principle that often, but not always, results in two classes. The notion that there are two, and only two, sexes that are distinct from one another – without any overlapping or surplus – and can be defined as opposites, is a Western way of thinking rather than a biological fact
A gender system exists in every society. It consists of all the notions of male and female that exists in a certain place at a certain time and all the consequences as regards that does what, who decides what, and how we perceive ourselves and one another, collectively and individually. Ideas and stories about sex/gender pervade our thinking and determine not only our sexuality and family life but also the labor market, politics, religion, law etc. Gender is a term that identifies a specific aspect of all human life.
Gender Studies and Gender Theory
Gender researchers study how people think, interpret, perceive, symbolize, feel, write, paint, dance, fantasize, wish, experience, define – in other words “construct” – what we normally call sex and what this word means and what it meant in the past.
However, the epistemological dimension of gender studies does not deny the material, biological aspects. Ideas about the body, for example biological descriptions of the human body, have cultural and social consequences too. Biology is relevant to gender, not as an integral component but as a subject of research
Gender is about sexuality and the labor market, processes and structures, science criticism and gender equality, culture and social organization, what exists and what might exist. It is about power and resources and figures of speech, body and soul, individuals and groups; about whether, and if so how, one gender is superior to the other and how such a situation has arisen and been reproduced
Gender is a specific object of study, but the issues could be formulated with reference to most of the things people do. It is therefore a wide-ranging and complex discipline. All gender researchers cannot know everything about gender, and many of them are not interested in gender studies outside their own subject. Others regard gender theory as a discipline in its own right that finds inspiration in other disciplines.
The purpose of interdisciplinary gender studies is to understand gender from as many different viewpoints as possible. The knowledge obtained from interdisciplinary gender studies can also be used to improve understanding of problems in other disciplines. It is difficult to draw a precise line between interdisciplinary gender studies and gender theory with an interdisciplinary focus. There is also intensive communication and extensive collaboration between the two approaches. Despite the dynamic development of interdisciplinary research, gender studies in Sweden are carried on mainly in existing disciplines and have in the last few decades significantly helped to develop and broaden subject-specific knowledge and theory in some of them
Feminism and Gender Studies
There would have been no gender studies without feminism as a driving force. But whereas gender studies is a field of knowledge and study, feminism is both a political movement and a field of knowledge and study, the latter being called feminist research or feminist theory. In gender studies the terms gender studies and feminist research are sometimes used synonymously for the discipline. Other researchers in the field distinguish between gender studies and feminist research. Feminism in such cases represents a more critical approach with a perspective on power.
Queers originally a derogatory label for homosexuals, but in the context of gender studies it is used in connection with homosexuality research and with efforts to combat the normative status of heterosexuality in society and culture (the queer movement).
Difference between Gender and Women Studies
In 1970s, women’s studies programs were established in UK universities, the concept of “women’s studies” was narrow concerned with female identity ignoring broader issues of impact, intersect, sexism etc.,. The discipline then underwent the partial transition to “gender studies”, aided by the widespread influence of the work in study of sexuality focused on “lesbian and gay studies” towards “queer”. Rigorous debate centered on the ways in which identity politics balanced with analysis of different types of oppression intersects with each other. The lines between women’s studies, gender studies and sexuality studies are very thin and all three have many methodological and theoretical differences.
The Gender studies is the new subject to academics across the world because the world and elements of the culture are tend to achieve the realistic approach towards the exploration of ills in society. The basic motive behind the exploration of ill is to confront the challenges in human life. The subject is not ancient one and oppositely it is new to the society. The society that is showing some endorsements towards the reality approach so that gender differentiation can come forward as truth.
Gender studies is the paradigm shift in academics and this shift is being obtained through the consistent behavior of women in women struggle against freedom. Realistically speaking, the subject matter’ debate is not end till date because of different viewpoints of the society about the gender studies at the same platform. It is known fact that the women studies is always considered the major elements related with the women only. Those elements that are highly considerable in the way and should be done with the immediate improvement in the timeline at women’s perspective. The women issue is the one of the main elements among those that considered the women at first place in society and should be molded in the sense that may endorse the way of society towards the women.
The women issues may be same as the society said and may be highly integrated as the Hillary Clinton thinks. The women’ issues may be same as the urban women said during her daily life and may be same as the women issues buzzed up by the rural’ living life. The main element in which the women can think, ponder and initiates the discourse analysis is being understandable and discussed in the women studies in this society. The women issues are not a static form in which the women can thinks and responds in the static form, it is the flexible paradigm that show that how the women confronts the challenges in her life. The challenges that issues of friendship, he challenges of vulnerability in the society and the challenges that is confronted by the women against the power distribution in the same society.
The challenges are itself creating various issues in the women’ life and women can think that people of society are still unaware the methods that show that how these issues can be resolved. The women researchers and the women responded are the two ways to think about the issues of the same community in which the both exist with almost the same mindset but in the different way. Ironically, the women study endorsed the same mindset at different levels so that the community shows some integration at large scale. The women researchers are doing well under the way that is highly considerable but constitutes less power than the women responded in introspective way. The community sets a mindset that the women issues are the core purpose of both platforms so that the issues could meet the pragmatic strategies at vast range. The power is unequally divide between the power responded and power researchers in the manner that is very useful in the manner.
The women issues can’t meet the solutions in any case because the society acts differently. The Gender studies is entirely a different concept and the conceptual framework of gender needs the ways in which the respondent behaves with the researchers but in both men and women’ perspective. The gender’ studies are always considered the issues at front desk in which the both male and female are considerable for the discourse analysis. The women studies considered the women history and Gender studies considered the men’ role in the women history. The women studies initiates the analysis at women’ literature and gender studies draws attention towards the role of men in articulation and even creating it.
In the end, one can say that the women studies pondered upon the women’ studies, history of women at this universe and women struggle for freedom so that the issues could meet the debate desk as soon as possible. The gender studies is the paradigm shift that show that how the studies of men and women or interrelated activities during discourse analysis.
Multi-disciplinary nature of Gender Studies
The gender studies as the name gives taste of the thematic meaning in meaningful manner to ponder that how the studies of gender in this consistent widening population endorse the way that is highly centralized with the studies of both sexes currently in this universe. When the gender studies decided to do the relative measures with the immediate study as the research paradigm in which the studies in this manner is very descriptive it arises as the tool to make assumptions and expectation. This analysis toll provides the way through the further research is being carried out with the effective decision making.
The decision making is not so easy because the gender studies are at stake. The assumption that are providing the glaring way to make assumption about the gender at first level and influence of sex difference at other. The gender studies can not only consider the cultural difference in further way but also two other aspects that are exactly deals with the things in this manner. The social ideas that show that how the community is going to do the justification is another way to think about the course material in detail. The ideas of political mindset with the ideas of social mindset endorsed the way in which the clear difference is being considered at first level and the difference is about the men and women.
The same material of gender studies show that how the studies incorporated the ways in which the scholars thinks and the thinkers reacts. The both elements of society; masculinity and femininity are always dealing with the ways in which the society is the only way to show that the every aspect in society behaves with these elements by considering the differences that are always there and being there forever. The both elements that are integrated with the way that social constructed platform is the way to get the real maxim in the beautiful way. After the social constructed element, the other aspect is the historical touch with the manner that are highly sensitive in the history and show the struggle of later said in above text.
Particularly, the gender studies is the multidisciplinary nature in the course because the studies always considered the and even encourage the students who always a perfect match with different courses. The first course that is natural science and the students of natural science can accept and even do better while studying the gender studies. The other students who may done the health care degree before the study but can do better with the same gender study. The Students who may got excellence even in education and business may show that the same interest in the gender studies. In the end, one can say that knowledge of almost every field can do the indirect support so that excellence could be achieved even in the sender studies.
Gender Studies is the multidisciplinary study of how assumptions and expectations about gender and biological sex influence cultural, social, and political ideas about women and men.
Gender Studies take experts from several fields as the nature of Gender Studies was such that many discipline fit into it. The second reason is that there is no one who had training in this field. The interdisciplinary nature of Women’ Studies is yet to establish because the traditional wisdom of our academicians seldom allow them to apply their knowledge in other fields. Gender Studies curriculum of various institutions show that there is no uniformity among one another. Usually the curriculum will among one another. Usually the curriculum will be set in the line of the expertise available in the institution. For example the Gender Studies curriculum framed by an English literature expert differ from that framed by a social scientist. Both will not be related to each other as the contents and approaches vary from one another. All these are rationalized in terms of its multidisciplinary character. The above described characteristics of Gender Studies is also due to the nebulous stage of Gender Studies in the academic field. Gender Studies is yet to be evolved and experiments are going on using theoretical and methodological contributions of other discipline. Gender Studies continue to be like this till the time it as its own theory and method. The scope of Gender Studies is large as Gender Studies is necessary to understand fifty percent of our society. Neglected portion of our society is brought to limelight through Gender Studies. As Gender Studies is emerging as separate discipline it has an international orientation. Though Gender Studies Gender culture can be built by linking the results of the researches of Gender issues with the existing societal culture. Gender Studies become complete only if each Gender experiences are put together as their experiences are unique due to the cultural differences. Gender Studies give a lot of descriptive data on various aspects and religion. The tribal women, rural women, women of different classes are all studied and each group’s problems and prospects are to be highlighted. For the historians Gender studies are important as History totally neglected women and Gender role in building the nation is yet to be known. Gender Studies is a key subject for Sociologists as many evils of the societies can be tackled only after getting a holistic view of the society and only after understanding Gender views on these problems. For Economists and Political Scientists Gender Studies are relevant to study productive and consumer patterns and to know the political
For Economists and Political Scientists Gender Studies are relevant to study productive and consumer patterns and to know the political participation, awareness and leadership of women. The dilemma between the importance of the economic independence vis-a-vis political and educational progress and economic progress is still going on and Gender Studies experts are yet to give a solution. The popular belief is that economic freedom is the prelude of all the other freedom where as social scientists are of the opinion that economic freedom is different from the freedom of our culture. The culture in which the women are nurtured is the biggest enemy for freedom and Gender Studies look into the possible ways as means to come out this and also to make strategies to overcome this for woman. The scope of Gender Studies is enormous as all the societal issues are either Gender issue or related to that. In this context it is to be pointed out that Gender Studies cannot have concrete theories as pure sciences because of the nature of society. Just like any other social science theory, Gender Studies will be abstract which should be applied in all regions and sectors of society and modify them periodically. The theoretical jargons can be taken as basis of analysis by the theory cannot be used, but most of the theories are contextual in character and abstract in nature.
The methodological experiments in Gender Studies are another area in which Women studies have to do a lot of research. The traditional methodology may not be much used for Gender Studies and therefore new tools and techniques should be evolved to infer the correct results. Gender Studies gave a large scope for various disciplines as it is an interdisciplinary subject. The findings of Gender Studies researches can be applied both for scientific researches and action programs.