Campus Reform: The University of Notre Dame will conduct a “Gender and Culture in American Society” course for high school students next summer, where they will be encouraged to question their gender identity in exchange for college credit.
The Catholic school’s Gender Studies director, Abby Palko, will lead the course and will “ask [the high schoolers] to explain how they know for sure whether they are male or female.”
A website, outlining the accentuated topics covered in the course says, “[w]e will address the questions of how ‘woman’/’the feminine’ and ‘man’/’the masculine’ have been represented and created in our cultural system.”
“When you were a baby, did your parents dress you in pink or blue? Why don’t girls (typically) play football? Why don’t guys (typically) wear make-up?” the website asks.
One of the goals of the course is that “[s]tudents will develop a basic understanding of current theoretical explanations of gender, including femininity, masculinity, sexualities, patriarchy, and feminism.”
When Campus Reform reached out to the university’s Gender Studies Department for comment, a woman on the phone insisted “nope, no one is available to speak to you.” Campus Reform made multiple attempts to reach out to Dr. Palko, who did not respond in time for publication.
Additional information from the seminar web site:
- Who dressed you, fed you, changed your diapers – your mother or father? And do you have a mother and a father or is your family structured another way?
- Do you know how to behave in a typically masculine/feminine way?
- Gender theorists argue that gender – our masculinity or femininity – is a performance rather than an innate characteristic, and that our ways of “doing gender” are shaped by social cues and influences.
- Topics to be discussed might include: cyber-bullying and constructing an online identity, treatment of female candidates in election seasons (wanna bet they won’t cover the treatment of Sarah Palin?), controversies about the HPV vaccine, the gendering of toys, domestic violence in dating relationships, body image expectations, gender nonconforming youth, and gendered roles within family structures.
- We will address the questions of how “woman”/“the feminine” and “man”/“the masculine” have been represented and created in our cultural system.