Debunking the myths of the Women's Studies major
I am graduating this year, HOORAY! As I approach graduation at a women’s college with a degree in Women’s Studies, I reflect on all of the jaw drops, naive questions, and stereotypes that I have received from family, friends, peers, and strangers in my four years of study. Well, fun fact, everything you’ve probably heard about Women’s Studies majors (and women’s colleges) isn’t true.
I have narrowed down three of the biggest misconceptions people have when it comes to Women’s Studies majors:
Myth 1: We really hate men.
It’s quite the opposite, actually. When people ask me what my definition of feminism is, I give them a simple answer: “Representing and understanding the equality between men and women.” Part of my feminist journey and agenda is to let go of the stigma that men, in particular, associate with the word ‘feminism.’ I love men. Going to a women’s college and being surrounded by women constantly makes me often appreciate the men that I have in my life. I have male friends, uncles, a brother etc. all of whom I love and appreciate. Despite popular opinion, classes in my major don’t involve sitting in a circle talking about how much we hate men.
Myth 2: We will never find a job with our major
Not so fast! I applied for, interviewed, and got offered a job an entire year before graduation. That’s more than a lot of people, no matter what you’re major, can say for themselves. Women’s Studies majors hold a number of jobs. The beauty of this major is that it is interdisciplinary, meaning that you get your feet wet in many different subjects. Graduates work as victim advocates, for non-profit organizations, writers, career coaches, teachers, in the criminal justice field, and many, many other fields. It’s all about how you market yourself.
Myth 3: Feminism (and this major) isn’t as important as it was when women didn’t have rights.
Boy, do I wish this was true. Feminism is just as, if not MORE, important than it was during suffrage or the second wave. Women are still fighting to close the huge wage gap between men and women in the work place. Feminism is helping women fight for control over their own bodies by gaining more reproductive rights. Finally, feminism is helping eliminate rape culture; a more serious problem than a majority of the world could ever believe. Do women have more rights and freedom then they did fifty years ago? Hell yes! But it’s because of the strong feminists that fought for those freedoms that we are where we are today. In order to gain equality and rights that we deserve, we still need to fight, and we still need feminism. We also need people to be educated about all that feminism entails, and that’s why my major is still important.
Lindsay Borkin is currently a Women’s Studies student at St Catherine University in St Paul, MN. Though she considers the Twin Cities her home now, her loyalty lies with Milwaukee and will always be a beer and cheese snob because of it. She still doesn’t have her post-graduation plans figured out and is really liking being a fake adult while in college. Her dream jobs would be to read novels all day in bed with endless coffee and a chocolate lab curled up at her feet. A girl can dream.