My friends, Women’s Studies has morphed into “Gender Studies.” Women come in second (“Gender and Women’s Studies,”) or even third (“Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies.”) Lots of trans scholarship, too.
One program is called “Women Studies” and this is why:
Women Studies is the history and future of our department. Analyses of sexism and of women’s places in the world are critical to our work. We retain the non-possessive “women” instead of the more common “Women’s Studies” to indicate that our work as a department is not owned by or solely relevant to women.
First part’s great; the second’s baffling: Why is the work not owned by women? Would that be bad? Shouldn’t it be solely relevant to us, at least most of the time? Should I just slit my wrists with my labrys charm?
There’s nothing wrong with focusing on men, trans, or queer studies if that’s what you want, but I want Women’s Studies. I want to study the lives and experiences of lesbian feminists; even separatists. I want a program where it’s OK to be that, and I’m not finding it. I’m even afraid to include a link to this blog in an application — it’s much more likely to hurt than help me — and that says a lot.
Also. I found out today that I’d be the oldest Gender and Women’s Studies Ph.D. candidate at my local university, should I decide to apply. I’d spend the next 6 years “investigating gender in society and culture in historical and contemporary contexts from nuanced multi-cultural and multi-racial perspectives” as well as “utilizing and interrogating existing methodologies” with a bunch of people born in 1990 who’ve never paid their own rent. No thanks.
I know I can read and learn on my own; a Ph.D. is expensive and unnecessary and no one can find a university-level teaching job anyway. But tonight, I’m sad and discouraged.