5 Common Courses Taken While Studying Women’s and Gender Studies

The most common course taken while studying women’s and gender studies is Introduction to Women’s Studies class. This course acquaints students with a wide range of relevant academic topics and life experiences. This basic class will study such issues as women’s history, socialization, social roles and feminist theory. Students will be introduced to the most popular and influential essays, novels and literature by and about women.

Gender in Media

A media course will explore the ways that gender is presented to audiences through the lenses of Hollywood, social media and mainstream news. Students will study media planning, production and representation factors. Many of these classes focus on gender across multiple media contexts. For example, students may explore gender representations in sport, marketing, documentary, news coverage, classic fiction, online communities, popular music and television programming. These classes may compare gender within mainstream and independent media productions of different countries and cultures. Assignments may explore how gender representations are social, political and commercial tools of propaganda.

Cultural Diversity

Studying women and gender cannot occur without also studying corresponding cultural values, beliefs and dynamics. We live in a world of shrinking political and communication borders through the powers of technology, immigration and globalization. This type of class will examine the relationships between cultural beliefs, social norms and mass media. It’s very useful for students to study mass media from second and third world countries in order to understand how much and how little we have progressed in America. Some classes may focus on specific ethnic groups, such as Asian or African American women. These classes will take closer looks at race and gender in popular culture and literature.

Gender and Marriage

These classes will comparatively explore love, marriage, relationships and social control. The subject of this inquiry may be on historical constructions of romantic love, gender roles and micromanaged marriages. Students will be introduced to examples from legal, religious and political spheres. For example, many women in the Philippines are socially prevented from driving cars, while women in certain Middle Eastern countries are legally prohibited from applying for a driver’s license. Assignments may require personal editorials, event reflections, rhetorical analyses, research projects and multimedia presentations.

Women Writers

Some classes may focus on female writers from history, so students will learn about Sappho of Lesbos in ancient Greece, Hildegard von Bingen of 11th century Germany and Jane Austen in Victorian England. However, most classes will focus on contemporary authors from the 1950s to the present. The literature written by these American women will explore issues of space, power, grief, violence, immigration, embodiment and family dynamics. Teachers will ask how these writers define gender, use literature to express their ideas and represent personal challenges. Some female fiction writers focus on certain women’s studies topics, such as illness, aging, obesity and pregnancy.

Crime and Violence

These topics may be explored through a class in interpersonal violence. The class may review research and current controversies surrounding, domestic violence, child abuse and spousal stalking. Many women have written powerful anecdotes of abuse, police brutality, legal harassment, psychological pain and social ramifications. A sociology based class in crime and social justice may explore these two distinct constructs. Students may analyze legal perspectives, historical biases, court systems and criminal justice institutions. Students may discuss modern academic and intellectual efforts to challenging existing concepts and political structures.

Related Resource: 20 Best Deals on Colleges for Women’s Studies

Some of the most common courses taken while studying women’s and gender studies also cover spirituality, sexuality and social inequality. Graduates of women’s and gender studies may find work in public sector organizations like civil service, local government, health authorities and welfare agencies.