July 6, 2013

What’s In A Name? Is ‘Gender Studies’ More Inclusive?

Filed under: Gender — Tags: , , , — Marley @ 11:03 am

Last fall UCLA changed the name of the Women’s Studies department to Gender Studies and I have gone back and forth as to why I believe the name change does the major a disservice.  The decision was based on the views of faculty and graduate students in the department who took a vote and decided that ‘Gender Studies’ was more inclusive of a term that highlights the ability to reach a wider audience.  Jenny Sharpe, Chair of Gender Studies and professor in English, Gender Studies and Comparative Literature at UCLA, made this statement regarding the name change:

Building on the path-breaking scholarly legacy of the first generation of Women’s Studies departments, the shift to Gender Studies marks the rich terrain of intellectual inquiry now encompassed by the field, which includes exploration of the histories and experiences of diverse women as well as studies of sexualities, masculinities, and gender systems in historical and transnational perspectives.

The change stems from UCLA’s attempt to make the major more relatable to everyone, not just women.  While I commend the attempt to be more inclusive, it seems as though actually being more inclusive needs to come from within the major and not just by simply changing the name.  Women’s Studies is an interdisciplinary field in which studies of sexualities, masculinities and other gender systems are the areas of focus; the name Women’s Studies derived out of a need to learn history and experiences of women that have been largely silenced within the dominant historical discourse. It is not a major solely intended for women, it is the study of using an intersectional lens in which to view the world, outside of male and female binaries.

As a Women’s Studies major, I have dealt first hand with the incredible amount of prejudice and stereotyping that comes along with being in the major.  References to the ‘soft sciences’ and interrogations about my character and political affiliation are typically at the forefront of the conversation.  While I believe that the change can be beneficial to those who hear ‘Women’s Studies’ and automatically think that it a male-bashing major made just for women, I truly believe that deciding to change the major’s name is somewhat of a cop out.  Simply changing the name without an in-depth look at how the department plans to make the material more relatable (or the professors less judgmental) does not magically make Women’s Studies more inclusive- if anything, it makes it more exclusive.

The first Women’s Studies class I took at Santa Monica College with Professor Melanie Klein changed my life.  It created a space in which students were given the ability to recognize the inherent erasure and silencing of women’s voices in a historical perspective and pushed us to bring women to the forefront of political and social discourse and to create change.  On the first day of class, we were given a questionnaire about the word feminist and the types of stereotypes and misunderstandings that are linked to that word.  Yes, the term feminist brings with it a slew of unwanted perceptions, questions and often times a conversation that can be quite confrontational but never once did I decide not to openly call myself a feminist because I was afraid of the backlash.  In fact, it instilled in me an even more important reason why I openly call myself a feminist- to demystify the negativity.

The same can be said for my views on changing the name ‘Women’s Studies’.  Changing the name on some level acknowledges that there is something wrong, something not to be proud of and for that I inherently disagree.  The role, experiences and achievements of women is just part of the importance of the name Women’s Studies; it is a way of understanding the world that is intersectional, embodying all aspects of the society in which we live related to gender, race, class, sexuality, age, ability, the list goes on. I graduated last month and am thrilled that despite the department’s name change, my diploma will  say ‘Women’s Studies’ because I transferred into the program before the change went into effect. With that said, it saddens me that an area of study I care so deeply about is more worried about conforming to the ideals of the dominant culture rather than keeping alive a spirit of women and men who have worked hard to see Women’s Studies accepted as a field of study.

40 Comments »

  1. In 1978, my girlfriend and I struggled over separating literature into different sections in my bookstore. We decided to do it and it upset many people. I didn’t care then and I still think it was the right move.
    Women’s Literature, Women’s Studies, Women’s Department has a lineage. It made a statement and the fading of the statement seems melancholy to me.
    I a proud of my insistence on inclusion, diversity and intersectionality but there is something about the legacy of Women’s Studies that I miss.

    Comment by Zoe Nicholson — July 6, 2013 @ 11:15 am

  2. In my opinion schools should not change women’s studies to gender studies because it isn’t fair to discredit all the work feminists have fought in the past to obtain a class they can teach about women’s sufferings and history to other women or men who are interested in the subject. Power is knowledge and it is important for women to know our history. In every other class, like history, men are always praised by their achievements, but fail to mention women’s accomplishments. I am not sure what “gender studies” will teach students, but if it isn’t about women’s history, I will be very disappointed. From my personal experience in a women’s studies class, I learned so much more about myself and thanks to that class I respect and love myself more and want to fight for my rights as a woman.

    Comment by Maria Alarcon — July 6, 2013 @ 12:01 pm

  3. Thank you for discussing this topic! I feel like it has kind of gone unspoken that this change occurred, and we definitely need to be talking about it. I’m transferring to UCLA in the Fall and I plan to minor in Gender Studies. I personally have been conflicted about this name change in the past year that I’ve known about it. At first I was sure that it was an issue, and I talked about it both angrily and enthusiastically to my friends and family members. The overwhelming response I got, however, was that I was making a big deal out of it, and that this name change was actually a good, inclusive strategy. While I think inclusion was definitely one of the reasons for changing the name, I think it is also a loss for the feminist movement. Perhaps “Gender Studies” sounds more encompassing, but I think it also takes away from the value of celebrating and recognizing women who have historically made leaps and bounds, allowing us to be studying in a university in the first place.

    Comment by Neda — July 6, 2013 @ 12:58 pm

  4. As a graduate of UCLA’s department of Women’s Studies, I was saddened by the name change of a department that I love. I have heard countless arguments assuring students the name change is positive and much more inclusive. However, the main problem I have with the name change lies within society’s deep seeded systemic attitudes towards women and the lack of inclusion women face on a daily basis. Wasn’t the whole point of creating the major and titling it “Women’s Studies” to respect, understand and INCLUDE the diverse roles of women in academia and society? Changing the name does the opposite. In fact, I believe that it also reinforces the tired ideology that sexism no longer exists, because we are no longer talking about women. To me, the existence of Women’s Studies is what allowed us to talk about gender and examine masculinity and femininity—not the other way around. If there had to be a name change I think Feminist Studies would be the only appropriate name change. Also, I am a male and have always felt included within the welcoming umbrella of “Women’s Studies.”

    Comment by Nasser — July 6, 2013 @ 5:03 pm

  5. In my opinion, I believe that it is unfair and very unnecessary to change the class of “Women’s Studies to “Gender Studies.” The tile “Women’s Studies” pointed out the obvious for me and acknowledged me that I would be learning about WOMEN and not dividing it into GENDER learning about both male and female. I do not think that it is fair to take out the label “Women” from the class and change it into “Gender.” This truly takes away the value from the class, as well as the main focus. I am a female, and I believe we should always try our best to stand out.

    Comment by JessicaH — July 6, 2013 @ 6:55 pm

  6. As a transfer student entering into UCLA, as a gender studies major, I’ve been probed to really think about this issue. I easily see the argument from both sides, agreeing that inclusivity is important, while also recognizing that there is a need to recognize the historical backgrounds and original intentions of the field. The field has definitely shifted from its conception and has become a much more diverse field, focused on a view that recognizes multiple perspectives. My opinion as a male will probably be different from that of a female, but I think that seeing both “sides” is important. After thinking over this issue, I don’t believe that either gender studies or women’s studies is an appropriate title for the field. Rather, I’m a much bigger proponent of titles such as, “Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies,” or some variation thereof: I think that it’s important to represent the conception of the field, while still recognizing what the field has come to develop into. In my opinion, the study of women needs to be recognized in a title, to show the inherent importance of empowering women as a group, rather than boxed into something that it’s not, such as the overarching term of gender studies.

    Comment by Matt H — July 6, 2013 @ 11:02 pm

  7. It’s really upsetting to see that a field of study that has created so many influences by people all around the world through out history can be changed by contemporary scholars in a vote. I think they should have at least considered previous graduates or other professionals from the Women’s Studies field and obtain their opinion of whether or not the name changing would be a good move. I can imagine the disappointment of the Women’s Studies majors. And maybe even before that, the people who struggled and fought so that Women’s Studies can become a disciplinary subject in educational institutions. I think Women’s Studies overall has it’s right and history to remain its name.

    Comment by MarieM — July 6, 2013 @ 11:47 pm

  8. I’m glad that this issue is being addressed because it is not acceptable that several people discredit Women Studies. Changing the name from women studies to gender studies takes away a sense of value to the course. Women already live in a patriarchal society and making small changes like these just proves how little women are valued in society. I can understand how changing the course name to gender studies seems inclusive because gender means femaleness and/or maleness as oppose to women meaning well women! When people ask me what course I’m taking and i say women studies…people automatically think it a class full of women who talk about women issues and that boys are banned from it. However, I’ve recently heard students saying they are majoring in gender studies and both male and female are interested in the subject.So basically it seems that depending on the name of the course will reflect on what students (based on sex) become interested in the subject.

    Comment by Johanna J — July 7, 2013 @ 2:09 pm

  9. Although I somewhat agree with the Author that changing the name of the major from Women Studies to Gender Studies distracts the people from the main issue, women’s movement, it also allows for new audiences to become involved in the matter. Personally, I believe that for women studies to be genuinely understood and accepted by society on an equality level between females and males, especially within those who study the subject, they have to have an understanding of what the term gender is, how it is used in our society today, and more importantly how it affects women and feminism. At the same time, a broader term and subject will attract new groups of people, which are interested in both women and gender studies. As Bell Hooks mentioned in her book, “feminist movement must necessarily think of feminist education as significant in the lives of everyone” (Hooks, ch. 4 p 23) Therefore, by broadening the term used to describe the major, this change will attract a bigger and different audience that will allow the spread of the feminist movement into different cultures, races, and ages.

    Comment by Julian G. — July 7, 2013 @ 6:27 pm

  10. I think that it may take away the sense and value of the course. I say this because when your signing up for a Women Studies class you automatically think that its only a class full of women (that can be a bad thing or good) some may be afraid some may not. Another thing is if a guy do enroll it’ll be very rare and people may look at him different. Unlike if they was to changed the name to “Gender Studies” it’ll just be more guys that may enroll. Which will be good because being in a Women Studies class you don’t learn about women. I can understand the name of the course changing and with that being said I agree!

    Comment by Alexis C — July 7, 2013 @ 10:15 pm

  11. I believe that changing the title of the department to “Gender Studies” is a small example of a much larger issue in our society. Women have fought hard to be heard. “Women’s Studies” has taken many beatings and bashings; it’s been known as a disciplinary field that isn’t “important” enough-one that doesn’t deserve the spotlight. The changing of the departmental name is yet another example of patriarchal rule. Women have never been valued as much as men have. Women’s contributions have never been seen as important as men’s contributions. By changing the name, women are being degraded yet again; women are being portrayed as not important enough to have a department dedicated to the study of their history. Although “Gender Studies” may seem like it has a more all-encompassing view, i find it truly upsetting that this plan of action was put into place to try and appeal to a bigger audience. “Women’s Studies” should be brought back and the biggest concern should not be about appealing to the mainstream culture.

    Comment by Samantha C. — July 7, 2013 @ 11:22 pm

  12. By changing Women Studies to Gender Studies it disregards the Women Studies major, and the history of what people went through to have a major like Women Studies available in universities.It doesn’t make sense to change the major to Gender Studies to include a wider audience and topics.The Women Studies major already offers a wide range of topics in it’s course. Perhaps they want more students to major in Gender Studies so they can receive more money by having a wider range of students interested in the major, rather than just Women Studies? Who knows but UCLA’s actions makes me disappointed.

    Comment by BrendaR — July 8, 2013 @ 9:52 am

  13. I agree with the sentiments of the author; although the name change of the major is at first seemingly subtle, it gives off a more acceptable connotation than does “Women’s Studies,” which may make those in the major less reluctant to state their area of study. It is a mistake to give a name to a major that does not accurately reflect the area of study itself. While saying that one is majoring in “Gender Studies” may be more comfortable than saying one is majoring in “Women’s Studies,” anyone in that major is forgoing their true self-confidence by submitting to the standards of society. Students’ self-consciousness should not interfere with their decision of major, or the title of their major, for that matter.

    Comment by Sarit K. — July 8, 2013 @ 10:01 am

  14. I first have to say that I agree with Marley about how changing the name Women Stuies to Gender Studies discredits women and men who both believe in the field of study. I feel as if UCLA is conforming to the dominant culture and pushing “women” under the bus. There are many classes that focuses on both genders, but they are mostly male dominant. Women studies gives both men and women a chance to seek new information, that they probably wouldn’t have even thought about learning. Women Studies give woman the knowledge that they do not know about themselves and raises questions on rather they recognize sexism and discrimination and if they are apart of it. And it is not just all about women. Women studies also teaches men that they do not have to conform to gender norms based on how society views a man or woman. So, I do not agree with the name change and feel as if UCLA should have kept the name Women Studies.

    Comment by Ashley A — July 8, 2013 @ 12:03 pm

  15. By changing Women’s Studies to Gender Studies its taking away their identity as the Dominant ones in the major and putting them into the same category as men. by doing that it takes all of the focus off women and put it more on men. Changing the name to Gender Studies will bring more attention into the major because most men dont want to know or learn about woman. Even though I’m a guy, I still think changing Women’s Studies to Gender Studies is taking away women’s power to address female issues that have been taking place for many of years. In the future I see Women’s Studies disappearing from mainstream existasnce and by changing its name is just the beginning.

    Comment by Qujuan F — July 8, 2013 @ 12:09 pm

  16. I completely agree with the author that the name change from “Women’s Studies” to “Gender Studies” does in fact cause the major a disservice. Living in a patriarchal male-dominant society, women have already fought hard to be heard. Women’s studies was developed to honor and focus on the roles, experiences, and achievements of women in society. Changing the name from “Women’s” to “Gender” takes away from the value of the course. This change is another example of female oppression and is a step back for a movement. I think different steps should be taken to attract a wider variety of students, rather than just changing the title to something that fits the standards of society better.

    Comment by NikiN — July 8, 2013 @ 1:50 pm

  17. I concur with the author that the change in the name of women studies to gender studies did a great disservice to the feminist cause. Since 1848 women in the United States have been fighting for and standing up for their rights. Feminists have gone a long way since the beginning, speaking out and facing great instances of hate and backlash in our patriarchal society. Women have fought and dedicated their lives to ensure that such a course is taught to future generations. Women Studies tells their story, gives women a voice and addresses the need and importance of understanding gender roles in our male dominated society. It not only addresses women, but it also addresses the issues of how masculinity, and even race plays out in our society. Like the author said changing the name could indeed potentially have an effect and increase the presence of more students. However as the author points out changing the name to gender studies suggests that their is something wrong with women studies and it needs to be changed. By changing the name it is abiding to the mainstream patriarchal society we live in, rather than doing its original purpose of challenging our societal norms.

    Comment by Kayla A. — July 8, 2013 @ 1:51 pm

  18. The author gives insight on the important aspects about the change in the title of the major from Women’s Studies to Gender Studies which reflect that of a cultural trend that increasingly attempts to broaden the base around the discipline yet sacrifices the meaning of the core principles behind what the major actually entails. I agree with the author’s critique that change has to come from within the academic precincts of the major itself and not just include a superficial or aesthetic change in the name which does not accurately reflect the field of study in the first place. The validity of Women’s Studies in general is also questioned by society’s perception of what it deems suitable. As the article points out, this sudden change in the title of the major implies that there is something fundamentally wrong with the major that needs to be “corrected.” This minimizes the successes in the various movements that women(and men) have achieved and the role they have played to establish Women’s Studies as a recognized interdisciplinary major.

    Comment by Daniel S. — July 8, 2013 @ 1:54 pm

  19. I don’t think my comment will be nearly as articulate as some of the previous comments I have read here, but quite simply, changing the “Women’s Studies” major to “Gender Studies” at an attempts to be “inclusive” to those who would otherwise not be willing participants or students of the study is total bullshit. Not only does it perpetuate the ideologies of patriarchal society that women are only significant in conjunction with or as a product of men–”gender” being a binary system–it also insinuates that we as women must first become palatable in order to have our opinions be considered. I fully support the idea of a creation of a separate “Gender Studies” major that is intentionally more inclusive by study and not by title, but FYI–no one is going to go into a gender studies course with it’s pre-existing curriculum and go, “Whoopsie, UCLA! You fucking tricked me, this class is about WOMEN, not gender!” It not only makes a mockery of the program itself but greatly insults the intelligence of those that sign up for the courses to begin with. Double FYI–it is not the responsibility of the faculty or the school to make you feel “included.” Get it together.

    Comment by SarahC — July 8, 2013 @ 3:37 pm

  20. I do not agree with UCLA to change Womens Studies to Gender Studies. To change the name Womens studies into Gender studies takes away from all the women of different races, genders, class (and more) who fought for their rights to be heard and seen .Men have always been seen as more superior to women. Womens Studies acknowledges the history of women. It acknowleges their struggles and achievements to been seen as equals to men. Changing the name to Gender studies discredit women. Lastly Gender studies sounds like more encompassing. But Women studies covers so many differnt kinds of topics already. I dont feel you need to change the name just to show it does.

    Comment by CurielL — July 8, 2013 @ 4:39 pm

  21. Personally, I don’t believe UCLA should have changed the name of the subject from “Women’s Studies” to “Gender Studies”. With this name change, they are taking away all the hard work women have put in to being heard in a male-dominant society. Also, just as the author mentions, changing the name might give some people the idea that there is something wrong or something to not be proud of about the subject. However, I do see why they would think that changing the name of the major to “Gender Studies” would be a good way to help attract a wider audience. When a man sees a class called “Women’s Studies”, he would probably think that it is a class full of women (which it usually is) and that all they will be talking about is women so he might choose to take another class. But if the class was called “Gender Studies”, I think there might be a lot more men who would be willing to enroll and this would give women of the past and present a better chance of having their voices heard.

    Comment by Jasmine P — July 8, 2013 @ 6:32 pm

  22. This is the reason why we should not change the subject Women’s Studies to Gender Studies. I have not heard of this situation until now. People in the society need to realize that women have been through a lot. And yes, in Women’s Studies, there is discussions of men. But without the men in this world, there would be no such thing as the Feminist Movement, we would have never heard of of such feminist speakers like Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, or Lucy Stone. History has its past and its present. And in our world, our past has built the name subject Women’s Studies.

    If UCLA thinks Gender Studies will attract more students into taking the class, they are wrong. No offense, the subject Women’s Studies sounds already boring, and changing it to Gender Studies will make it even sound more boring.

    Overall, I do not think changing the subject is for the better. Leaving it at Women’s Studies, is perfect the way it is. I mean in Women’s Studies, we do learn about women. Changing the subject to Gender Studies, and finding out that the subject is about women, is just misleading.

    Comment by NatalieM — July 8, 2013 @ 6:49 pm

  23. I find, for a university of that magnitude, the change of Women’s Studies to Gender Studies to be appalling. The change in name causes women’s issues to be thrown under the bus while men once again will become the focus. Women’s Studies teaches about the history of sexism and the fight against the patriarchal system that we live in. We have struggled to voice our opinions and to be louder than men. By changing the name it is like the movement and the subject are taking a step back. Women are being pushed to the back and degraded and devalued. Women’s Studies examines the patriarchal society and by changing the name the school is admitting that they do not care about the problems that women everywhere are facing.

    Comment by Mariah N. — July 8, 2013 @ 7:07 pm

  24. The author magnificently proves why UCLA still lives in a patriarchal society. By changing the name from “Women Studies” to “Gender Studies”, the university might think they might be attracting a larger audience, but by doing so they disacknowledge the struggle that women have been fighting to be equal since the beginning of our nation. The name change is an insult to women everywhere by depriving them of the work that took many years to achieve in even starting a women studies class. It is truly amazing how you would think in our day and age where we are making radical changes for the better, women could still be oppressed by not even being able to learn about so much history and achievements that their sex has accomplished. I do not support UCLA’s decision and I hope other universities do not follow their decision.

    Comment by Brandon H — July 8, 2013 @ 7:23 pm

  25. First of all, i would like to point out that the faculty and staff of UCLA is not discrediting or causing a “major a disservice” to the work done by women to gain that field of study. Changing the name would convince many students (mostly males) to become more attracted to having a class or majoring in that department. Yes it may throw off some feminist, but realize they are only doing what most feminist want. They are making the department more equal to men by opening up both perspectives to make men feel comfortable in that field of study. It is contradictory to think that women are equal enough to have a class but men are not. UCLA was smart enough to make a department for both. Most of the material taught in those classes will obviously be more focused on women but men are also elaborated in class. If women and men want to be equal the best possible way would be to combine both genders into one department of study.

    Comment by Matthew M — July 8, 2013 @ 9:03 pm

  26. I too wondered about this name change when looking at majors I would be interested in at UCLA. At first I was confused… are there two different majors? Is women’s studies gone forever? And I am still presently confused on if the coursework for the major is still the same. Changing the name comes with a positive and a negative. In some ways going from “women’s studies” to “gender studies” makes it more relatable, because it is a broader subject area. Although, I’d say the negativity outweighs the positivity in this case. Making “women’s studies” a part of “gender studies” for me groups too much into one. Women before us worked so hard to get these courses established in the first place and now it seems as if the major is not thought to be able to stand on its’ own. I think having two separate majors would be interesting, but I do understand from the schools perspective how that may be difficult due to the low enrollment compared to the impacted majors. Either way, I will be applying to UCLA gender studies in the fall, if it is the closest to women’s studies I can get.

    Comment by Skye J. — July 8, 2013 @ 9:06 pm

  27. Changing the name of the major from Women’s Studies to Gender Studies does change a lot. By changing the name it takes away the point of the major. It does make the major more appealing to men but it also makes it less about Women. If students want to take this class or major in this field they would but they don’t need a name change to take it. If they want more students to join they should change the material to make it more appealing but changing the name does nothing but take away the main point which is the study of Women. This major focuses on women so why in the world would you change the name. I completely disagree with what UCLA did.

    Comment by Ely M — July 8, 2013 @ 9:15 pm

  28. The author in many ways is correct and it does discredit the past and the things that woman have done to get this name. However many people especially men would be very unwilling or would not hear out to taking the class due to the name. Woman do deserve to have a class about the past and feminism and what they have done to get where they are and the struggles that they have faced, however if it was called gender studies i feel that more people would be inclined to taking the class.

    Comment by Ryan Y — July 8, 2013 @ 9:16 pm

  29. I dont think its a big deal to change the name from womens studies to gender studies because in my womens studies class we dont learn only about women. Men are also in the conversations we have in this class. yes i agree that its mostly about women but if theres conversations and topics about men then why not change it to gender studies? I think UCLA is just trying combine both men and women in one class and it may be positive.

    Comment by Justin N — July 8, 2013 @ 9:19 pm

  30. By changing the title from Women’s Studies to Gender Studies dilutes from the true intent of the department and/or courses offered. Typically change is for the better, but in this case, altering the title has the potential to be inclusive while also detracting from a movement. I concur with the author in that the name change which took place was not something to be proud of. It is rather tragic from my perception to see such potential assimilate to this patriarchal male-dominated society we dwell in.

    Comment by Ariel D — July 8, 2013 @ 9:45 pm

  31. I disagree with the belief that changing the name of the Women Studies Department to Gender Studies at UCLA is a disservice to the major. Feminists believe in the equality of both genders, and when there is a major titled “Women Studies”, it feeds into the stereotypes that feminists think they are superior to men. Switching the title to Gender Studies shows that there is the belief in the equality of both genders. Although it is a sad truth, a name like “Women Studies” is intimidating- not only for men, but for women who do not consider themselves “feminists”. Gender Studies is welcoming to everyone, and it invites people to show more interest in the major and the education behind it. I also think that Women Studies is incorrect as a name for the major because the curriculum is not based solely on women; men have an important role on the history of women and one must understand both when learning about the history of women. I understand why some may think that Women Studies is appropriate considering the fact that there is a major that focuses on men and their past (history), but history does not focus on how women and men play a role complementary to one another in society and that is where Gender Studies comes in.

    Comment by CrystalY — July 8, 2013 @ 10:40 pm

  32. I believe UCLA changed Women Studies into Gender Studies because it has the idea that gender studies holds men accountable for gender inequalities in power while women’s studies does not is contradicted by the volumes of women’s studies scholarship that precisely do point to men’s part in the constructions of these systems. Moreover, we live in patriarchy dominant society were men see women studies as being less masculine and that many opinions would lead to men only taking women studies to date girls in the classroom. In addition, for many men in society they see Gender Studies as a more appropiate way of saying it since it has to do with male/female and gay/lesbian studies. Since it can combine all studies together it can be called Gender Studies instead of thinking women studies which many think its only going to be about women.

    Comment by Priscilla R — July 8, 2013 @ 11:32 pm

  33. I also agree that changing the name is a big disservice. The title women studies should be embraced not changed. If it isn’t embraced mainstream society has only won the battle of discrediting the feminist movement and has created a movement of assimilation. I think gender studies and women studies are two different entities. When I think of gender studies i think of the LGBTQIIA. When I think of women studies I think feminism, patriarchy, sex and gender, and the list goes on.

    Comment by GooseG — July 8, 2013 @ 11:40 pm

  34. I believe that changing “Women Studies” to “Gender Studies” will have a positive effect. More males will take the class because they will realize that it is not only for females. They will realize that sexism is not a female problem, but a female and male problem. More men will be encouraged to fight against sexism because they will understand its roots. Although some people believe that “Gender studies” will discredit how hard women fought to get their name and the real intentions of “women Studies”, it will actually encourage gender equality. Once people take the class they will actually realize that it is a women studies class that focuses on females, males, ethnicity and race. I believe it is time for change, time to make everyone aware of sexism.

    Comment by Veronica M — July 8, 2013 @ 11:59 pm

  35. I believe changing the name of the Women’s studies to Gender studies means changing to a different major.In Women’s studies, students learn about women’s history, culture, and society seen by women’s perspecives. The major focuses on women. However, Gender studies include sexual diversity studues, men’s studies, and women’s studies. As the author mentioned, the change stems from UCLA’s attempt to make the major more relatable to everyone, not just women. Unless UCLA tries to make two different departments, Women’s studies should be kept as an independent major. Changing the title from Women’s studies to Gender studies just causes confusions to other students who want to study about Women and discourage many feminists who have been working hard for women’s right.

    Comment by Jinjeong K — July 9, 2013 @ 1:31 am

  36. First of all, When I told my friends I am taking Women’s Studies for summer their response was mostly negative. Because they could picture negative images from the name. So with all respect I don’t think it was a bad idea. I am sure UCLA didn’t mean to harm anybody by changing name of department. I kinda like the name Gender Studies.

    Comment by Chul Woo Park — July 9, 2013 @ 6:25 am

  37. I agree that it tries to cover up the issue of “women’s studies” having negative stereotypes. By changing the name they are doing what people do when they are asked if they consider themselves a feminist, shutting away any possible stigmas that may affect them. And sure while “Gender Studies” may seem more inclusive it also pushes away many people drawn in by the fact that “Women’s Studies” sounds more concentrated on the issues they might be interested in.

    Comment by MargaritaH — July 9, 2013 @ 7:51 am

  38. As a upcoming “Gender Studies” minor at UCLA, this change not only saddens me, also gives me caution as to the whether or not I wish to continue to pursue “Gender Studies” as my minor. UCLA’s decision to change the name, from a position of political correctness is well understood. However, it diminishes the overall purpose of creating a Women Studies department in the first place. It eliminates a place where discourse and education of women’s issues can take place with an educational environment. Frankly, it has the potential to reverse and furthermore stifle the still necessary conversations about women’s issues in a public and educational atmosphere. This of course, not to belittle the other matters involved in Gender Studies, particularly LGBT issues but UCLA has an entire minor dedicated to this field of study.
    It leaves wondering if and when Women, will be allowed to explore, engage and embrace our history in an academic environment.

    Comment by JewelB — July 24, 2013 @ 12:44 pm

  39. As a trans person who doesn’t fit into the neatly defined male or female boxes, and a student of Women’s/Gender Studies, I’m extremely happy about the move toward greater inclusion. Sure, changing the name does shift the focus away from Just Women, but only in that it’s acknowledging that feminism is about more than just the binary and more about tearing down the patriarchy for everyone who doesn’t fit so neatly into its privileged boxes.

    Comment by Tilde — August 11, 2013 @ 11:11 am

  40. Very interesting.. At my university, the Gender Studies major is not even its own major! It is categorized under Interdisciplinary Studies: Gender Studies Track.

    Comment by Emily — May 29, 2014 @ 4:43 pm

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