Faculty lecture to highlight important conversations on gender roles and identity
In society, gender roles are expectations that set the parameters for how to act, think, dress and communicate with others. Some people are readily exploring ideas around gender roles in contrast to their unique identities, but to many, the conversation around gender and identity is nonexistent and often scary.
Dr. Victoria Gonzalez, assistant professor in the Department of Cultural, Environmental and Global Studies, aims to simplify the discussion around gender through an inclusive and reflective conversation at her upcoming lecture entitled “Going Through Changes: The Evolving Gender Roles of College Students.”
The event, part of McKillop Library’s faculty lecture series, will be held on Thursday, March 30, at 4 p.m. There is no registration needed for this event.
“For those who decide to defy gender roles, they go through a period of unlearning that can be painful and traumatic,” described Dr. Gonzalez. “But also, it is very joyful and liberating.”
Gender roles are taught as effortlessly and as early as walking or learning first words, according to Dr. Gonzalez. In decades prior, the experience of gender was a subconscious way of being. Few questioned the stereotypical teachings, and even less spoke up about personal experiences and identities that differed from the status quo. However, Dr. Gonzalez is noticing a shift in beliefs about gender roles, specifically in college students.
“The conversations about gender roles lead to a great deal of reflexivity. Students often reflect about the lessons that they are taught and how they compare and contrast to the current trends in gender expression that they are seeing,” described Dr. Gonzalez. “There is recognition of a great deal of gender fluidity, even if they have not experienced this themselves.”
This event will highlight the diverse stories of the Salve Regina community and provide students with an opportunity to hear about experiences that differ from their own.
“Open conversations about gender roles can help to expand people’s perspectives,” said Dr. Gonzalez.
This lecture will also showcase a collaborative display entitled “Going Through Changes.” This display allows students to share their experiences with gender roles and identity that aren’t manifested physically. To Dr. Gonzalez, this display is meant to make the invisible more visible.
“I wanted to create a space where people could share their thoughts and lived experiences regarding gender and gender roles, and to make these thoughts and experiences visible to the Salve community,” she said.
The topic of gender is one that has begun to take place more often and more openly. However, Dr. Gonzalez finds it is thanks to marginalized groups that make these conversations possible. It is people who are consistently on the receiving end of discrimination who fight to be heard, and it is their resilience that breaks through social norms.
This supportive and inclusive lecture offers students a deeper understanding of differing gender identities. Through an open, candid conversation, Dr. Gonzalez aims to promote growth across the student body and the institution.
“I hope that all of us walk away committed to continuing the conversation, tuning in to the active effort to negatively sanction gender nonconformity, and doing all that we can to support each other as we navigate evolving gender roles,” Dr. Gonzalez said.
This event will be held on Thursday, March 30, at 4 p.m. in McKillop Library. There is no registration needed for this event.