Reflection on Sex, Gender, and Society

Alex Apkin:

Sex, Gender, and Society gave me insights, and new perspectives regarding many issues in our society that relate to gender. But these issues ended up going further than just sex and gender. We were able to see further complexities as we explored each issue deeper. As we did this we found elements of race, the problematic media influence, and various other factors.

This class really opened my eyes to issues regarding gender that I never noticed before. One of the first alarming and intense experiences I had was in my viewing of Tough Guise 2. While I knew that the film industry was violent and at the same time influential the extent of this influence was stunning. Things such as movies are typically taken for granted and always considered to only be entertainment. But when they are consumed at such a high rate viewed in a certain way their role in our society becomes crucial. While our society seems to focus on any gender problem from the women’s perspective, while there are so many issues with men that are simply ignored. The idea of the Gentleman and Beast was absolutely true and yet has seemingly gone unnoticed. Society’s expectations for men and women are set into place and it seems a near impossible task to create change to these norms. The role of film was also seen in our discussion of Disney movies. These kind of films seemed so enjoyable and harmless for so long. Yet this class opened me to the now clear theme of heteronormative romanticism. Many of the patterns of messages these films present to generally younger children and us reflect the same societal problems in association with gender.

One of my favorite sections of the class was the family. The idea of the roles for each gender is an incredibly important take away. We saw at the beginning of the class the roles put in place for children of each gender at a young age, which included girls wearing dresses, and boys being allowed to run around more than them. These ideas were simple yet still awakening to things that have been present for many years. Then later on the roles continued in the home as mothers stayed home and fathers went to work. While I knew that mothers stayed at home more than the fathers, reading further into this pattern gave me more information that showed me the extent of the pressure mothers feel compared to the fathers.

The group project was a huge part of this class. It allowed us to expand on our class readings and use creativity, explore our interests and find results within the school. The project forced us to think about what we had learned in a different light and create something that further examined these ideas. Seeing the answers and overall results of our survey about the hookup culture at Conn was another enlightening part of the course because these were results that our group collected from our fellow students.

By taking this class I have become much more aware of these problematic restraints and expectations heaped on both men and women. There are many concerning aspects to our society that so few are aware of today. This class was enlightening on many of these issues, but also delved deeper into their core and discovered the source. Understanding the issues at hand is the first step to creating more substantial change in the environment that we live in.

Thanks professor Jafar for a great semester.


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