Gender shouldn’t limit you

International Women’s Day was March 8. Glendale Community College celebrated women’s awareness and empowerment by presenting a talk about gender. The event was held in the Student Union 104 on Thursday, Mar. 8 from 1 p.m.-2 p.m.

“International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women,” read a board placed before the room. “The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity.”

The panel was hosted by GCC’s Dr. R.J. Leamaster. He is the Assistant Department Chair of Sociology and a professor of Sociology. His talk was entitled “Gender Socialization: What is Limiting You.” His goal was to inform the public that gender is a social construction, understand how gender expectation is formed and how it constrains people from reaching their full potential.

Dr. R.J. Leamaster gives an example of how gender is structured even before birth.

“Gender is one of the main ways society is organized,” read one of the presentation slides. Leamaster said that the projecting of gender and the role it plays in society begins even before birth. Such ideas can restrain human behavior by giving people limited thinking and believing their goals are predetermined based on their gender.

What plays the biggest decider are family, the education system, peer groups, the media and religion. Women today are still expected to be homemakers while men are expected to have rigorous jobs. Women also have smaller paychecks, are more likely to undergo issues with their body image and experience sexual harassment at work.

In addition to talking about women and femininity, Leamaster also mentioned men and masculinity.

“We don’t think of the downside of masculinity,” Dr. Leamaster said during his panel. “And there are downsides.”

Men are taught to push down their emotions. Because anger is permitted for them, men are more likely to be at the end of violence. They have a higher suicide rate compared to women. There was also mentioning about a growing double standard. Women can be encouraged to be more tomboy. However, men aren’t encouraged to be more feminine.

Students engaging in the discussion.

The discussion was an interactive one for the audience. They broke into small groups to discuss their childhood and adolescent years. The object of the activity was to observe how gender and restraints came upon people even at that age.

The latest instigation of the #metoo trend came into the talk. Harassment isn’t only in the entertainment industry. It is also found in sports, politics and education. It is a reminder that women still aren’t treated the same in the public sphere.

Leamaster ends his lecture by prompting if gender socializing is terrible. He reminds the audience that for change to happen is to have awareness. To be aware of limitations can bring about change.

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