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Gendered at WSRC...

Studying gender and feminism was not one of the ideas that was in my mind in the months after completing my Masters degree. I think it was something that happened purely by default. For those of you who don't know...WSRC stands for the Women's Study Research Center, a small, quiet place in the interiors of The Faculty of Family and Community Sciences. As a first time visitor to this otherwise non happening place, I was hardly expecting any activity worth the reason as to why I was there. I was there to do an inter-disciplinary course on Gender Studies, and I prefer that term better than Women's Studies as gender is about both men and women, and not just women. It was really the course structure that struck me and got me interested to pursue it further which initially just my mum was keen I take up.

As weeks have progressed, and now I am into the second last week of the course I feel myself to be equipped to talk a little bit about what I learnt and why I think what I learnt was important and holds some ground for our society at large. Let me begin by clarifying that doing gender studies/feminism doesn't qualify you as a man hater, a home breaker ... or someone who believes that women are all supreme and men are all to be demeaned. Those who take such an approach are not worthy of proclaiming themselves as feminists in my view. Gender is just another dimension or just another way of looking at how this world functions and how it can be used effectively as a variable to examine differences and discrepancies that loom large in our society. While not going into much details about the hows and whys of it, I would say that it was a riveting journey to learn about a whole new and different dimension which I had never thought of so deeply. Gender as is said is ever pervading. You name it and you have it. You cannot escape it. And coming to why it is important to learn this is to sensitize people around you of the need for a gender just society.

Some of the stuff which I found to be really fascinating was the knowledge on patriarchy, self and identity, gender and development, the method of doing gendered research and feminist critiques of different disciplines. As I finish this course in a week's time...I cannot say whether I am a feminist or not. Just that now I am more gender sensitive and know how I can incorporate gender in my area of study. As I make a presentation next week on 'Mainstream Hindi Cinema through the lens of Gender: A Case Study of films by Madhur Bhandarkar' (with much help from somebody though!!!), I aim to live through my entire experience at WSRC and take some important lessons home.

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