I have to say that Sex, Gender, and Society has been one of my favorite courses that I’ve taken so far at Conn (the other being Introduction to Sociology). That may not sound as impressive when you consider that this is only my second semester here, but I really enjoyed how relevant everything in this course is to everyday life. I always looked forward to doing the readings because I could always tie them back to things I experience (or have experienced) on a day-to-day basis. This was especially true during the Sexuality section when many of the articles featured experiences of college students. When I read the “Grinding on the Dance Floor” and “Hooking Up: Sex in Guyland” articles I would always think to myself about how incredibly relevant it all was. The articles mentioned things I had already noticed, such as how in the hookup culture many people aren’t fans of it but continue to participate because they feel as if they have no other choice, but the articles also brought up points I had never even considered. I of course knew what grinding was, but it wasn’t until reading the almost scientific definition of it in “Grinding on the Dance Floor” that I realized just how negative and derogatory it can be. In Intro to Soc we talked a lot about how once you put on your “sociological glasses” you can never really go take them back off, but I feel grateful that I am now able to recognize these different instances for what they truly are. As John Stuart Mill says (had to read his writings for my Philosophy class) it is better to be aware and unsatisfied than unaware and satisfied.
I would say that one of my favorite aspects of the class was this blog that we all post on. While I may not have posted as many extra links and articles as other people did, I always enjoyed checking it so see what other people had put up. I think as Alia once said, everything is just so relevant to this class so the blog was a great place for everyone to post things they thought we could discuss. There were so many times when I would read an article or see a video and think “I should put that on the blog!” It allowed for us to further our education outside of the readings we were assigned in the classroom. I also liked getting to read everyone’s blog posts and write my own because it was a way for everyone to share their opinions without necessarily having to speak up in class. I know I sometimes do better at expressing my opinions through written words rather than spoken ones so the blog was a good outlet for getting out grievances as well as things we really identified with. I feel like the blog really heightened the work we did in class and made it feel like the true liberal arts experience that colleges always talk about on tours. This class wasn’t just about doing readings and analyzing them; it was about applying the knowledge we learned in class to our outside live and making deeper and more meaningful connections.
When I first realized we would be having a big final project and 12 page long research paper for this class, I felt a little freaked out, but since starting the paper, I’ve realized it has been a lot easier than I thought it would be to write it. While at first I thought the fact that it didn’t have a set topic would make it much more challenging, I’ve come to realize that it is actually much easier to write about a topic you have a passion for. It’s been really nice to have been given the freedom to research whatever we want to as long as it fits within the parameters of this course, something not too hard seeing as the topics in this course can be applied to almost everything. The projects were also a really cool first look at what it is to conduct sociological research. While all of us realized there were some shortcomings in our projects, this only helps us to see what we can work on to do better for the next time. I really enjoyed getting to see the final projects of all the groups because a lot of them explored the different ways that students at Conn react to different topics pertaining to gender. I think the idea for a yearlong Soc class during which a huge research project is conducted sounds like a really awesome idea and I would love to take that class.
As I briefly mentioned before, the biggest thing that I got out of this course was the continuation of my heightened awareness of sociological matters. While I can’t pretend that I’m hyper-aware of everything, I do feel that what I’ve learned in this class (as well as in Intro to Soc) has led me to be more aware of the society we live in and how we’ve been socialized into believing some things are acceptable when in fact, they really are not. I still remember back to the first day of class when we talked about how if you have a problem identifying with the word ‘feminist’, then you have a much bigger problem on your hands. While I was always a supporter of equal rights between sexes, I had never really identified myself as a feminist because I didn’t realize what the true meaning of the word was. Thanks to this class I am no longer unaware of that and so many other important things.