Every April, the Women’s and Gender Studies Program, sponsors a series of events for Women’s History Month, centered on a particular theme. This year’s theme is Redefining Beauty, a critical examination of beauty ideals in recent Western culture and how they reflect and perpetuate culturally powerful judgments about gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, and age. What impact do those ideals have on how we think of ourselves and others, how we live out our embodied lives, what we fear and desire, and how we spend our time and money? We also plan to explore alternatives to those ideals, by highlighting the proliferation of what counts as beautiful in our culture: “radical” means both getting at the core of an issue and departing from the habitual, the expected, and the normal.
Note: We know that customarily Women’s History Month is March. But the quarter system makes March a difficult month, with the end of Winter quarter, spring break, and the beginning of Spring quarter. So we have begun the practice of taking over April. Deal with it, Foot Health Awareness Month and Frog Month! (Nothing against feet or frogs, of course. We like both of those things.)
Our theme for Women’s History Month this year is Redefining Beauty — examining how powerful beauty norms are in our society, but also finding alternative images and expressions of beauty. Cultural ideas of beauty stretch in every conceivable direction, intersecting with ideas about race, age, class, sexuality, and health, as well as gender. Although we don’t typically use the word “beauty” in relation to men (WGS students: you have 90 seconds to analyze that social fact — Go!), our month-long focus on beauty includes a consideration of the impact of these ideas on people of all genders.
• “Tales of the Waria” film showing and panel discussion (Queer Film Series), April 8, 5:00 p.m., SURC Pit.
This is a film about a transgender community in Indonesia, the largest Muslim country in the world, and their struggles to find love and acceptance in a culture that emphasizes gender dualities. The director, Kathy Huang, describes it as a film about “contradictions, tragedy, and heroism.” A panel discussion will follow the film – Mark Auslander (Anthropology), Robyn Brammer (Psychology), Lene Pedersen (Anthropology), and Pam McMullin-Messier (Sociology).
• Heart Your Selfie Display, April 8-17, SURC First Floor
• Beautiful and Bound: Practices and Histories of Footbinding, April 10th, 3:00 p.m., Dean 202.
Lauren Hautamak, Crystal MacDonald, and Elizabeth Glasman, students from Dr. Chong Eun Ahn's East Asian Civilizations course in Winter 2014, will be presenting their research on Chinese footbinding.
• Radical Beauty Exhibit and Student Art Show, April 21-24, SURC 137A-B
WGS minors Cay Collins, Zach Dozier, and Kevan Gardner have created this exhibit, with help from other students interested in gender and beauty. In Kevan Gardner’s words, the exhibit “will deconstruct present US beauty standards, broadly defined as all cultural expectations of physical presentation. We will critique beauty standards, examining how they are influenced by sexism, racism, and ageism, and propelled by a consumerist society. In doing so, we will uncover the negative impacts that these stands have individually and collectively, and leave the viewer with tools to rework and resist these standards.” The exhibit will include a juried student art show. The exhibit has been made possible by generous support from the Pride Foundation.
• “Gender, Race, and Beauty: African Women Artists” – details TBA
• Jeff Cote, film showing/panel – details TBA
• John Corvino, "Haters, Sinners, and the Rest of Us: The Gay Debate Today." June 3rd, 7:00 p.m., SURC Theatre
• Pride Week – events TBA
On Tuesday November 18th in the SURC Theatre, Laverne Cox will give a preCWU Among Nation's Top 50 LGBT-Friendly Universities
In case you missed the story in Central Today, Central Washington University has been named oneNew Course For WGS Coming In Winter 2015! Intro To Queer Studies
WGS will be offering a new course in Winter of 2015, WGS 250 Introduction to Queer Studie