2015-16 Gender Roles

Gender Roles, Relationships, Realities

Few elements of our identity may seem more basic than the “It’s a girl!” or “It’s a boy!” announcement at a birth. Yet we all recognize that gender roles are not fixed across time or consistent across cultures. How do—and should—we determine the roles that women and men play?

In our conversations, classes and presentations, we anticipate exploring a wide range of gender questions throughout the year.  For instance, in the United States and around the world, how do girls and boys differently experience education?  How do boys and girls decide what career to pursue? Is Title IX still important? How do media and advertising portrayals of women and men shape our gender assumptions? Does the gender pay gap persist and, if so, how should we respond? How do women and men understand their roles as parents? What attitudes about masculinity and femininity persist that contribute to the reality of sexual violence? Does a gender binary like man/woman still make the most sense in a contemporary worldview? How can Christian understandings of gender roles inform contemporary conversations regarding gender in the church and the world? 

Marge Piercy

Pay attention

Novelist, poet and memoirist Marge Piercy,  author of the first-year student summer reading assignment “He, She and It,” spoke at the Opening Convocation ceremony.

Kerry Strayer

Negotiate the labyrinth

"Glass ceiling" may no longer be the best description of what keeps more women from reaching high-level positions, according to Dr. Kerry Strayer '84, Otterbein associate professor of communication.

Male achievement gap

Since the introduction of Title IX in 1972, there has been a lot of focus on ensuring girls get the same opportunities as boys in public education. However, with so much focus on girls’ achievement many people haven’t noticed that boys are falling behind. Bethel College (Kansas) professor Dr. Doug Siemens explored the role reversal in educational achievement.  

Professor turned MMA fighter

Jonathon Gottschall’s presentation, “The Professor in the Cage: Why Men Fight and Why We Like to Watch,” based on the content of his book “The Professor in the Cage.” He explained why an English professor at a small liberal arts college would take up cage fighting for three years.