Greetings from the Women's and Gender Studies Program. During the hot Lancaster summer, two Hackman scholars (Elizabeth Murray and Elaine Kohler) worked on writing the twenty-year history of the Alice Drum Women's Center. They interviewed students, administrators and alumnae involved with the Center ,and their research will be publicized when the College celebrates the twentieth anniversary of the Alice Drum Women's Center later this fall. Speaking of anniversaries, did you know that 2012 also marks the fortieth anniversary of Title IX and the fortieth anniversary of F&M Women's Volleyball?
This past academic year, Maggie Michaud ('12) had the special opportunity to study the "Happiest Place on Earth" -- Disney World. Professor Carol Auster and Maggie examined the portrayals of gender and race in Disney’s marketing images by noting the gender distribution of Disney characters (both human and animal) as well as the cast members of the parks themselves. The study examined Disney parks around the world, including California, Paris, Tokyo, Hong Kong, and the Magic Kingdom in Florida. At the end of the study, Professor Auster and Maggie found distinct gender gaps in the media portrayals of the Disney parks, and that race played an important factor in these findings as well.
Both Professor Auster and Maggie are hoping to encourage a more critical eye on gender portrayals in the media, and want to encourage further research on this topic. They hope that in the future, families and children of all races, classes, and genders will be able to look at and images of Disney parks and feel that they are included in the magic that makes these parks the “Happiest Places on Earth."
On February 24, Franklin & Marshall students and faculty were treated to a night of laughter, information, and discussion about “The Big O”! Brenda Segal ('12), a WGS joint major and then -president of VOX (Voices for Planned Parenthood), was the driving force in bringing the dynamic duo of Rachel Dart and Marshall Miller (professional sex educators and leaders of The Female Orgasm) to campus this semester. When asked why she chose the program to share with her peers, Brenda explained, “My freshman year  a friend of mine invited me to The Female Orgasm event. I was unsure what the program would be like, given the provocative title, but after attending the hilarious and informative program, I left a huge advocate for this female orgasm education program. When I became president of VOX this year, I made it my mission to bring this amazing program back to F&M, because it made such a lasting impression on me three years before.”
The Female Orgasm has been presented more than 300 times, to more than 100,000 people in 35 states. Dart and Miller openly discuss topics relating to female sexuality and pleasure in a funny and relatable way, opening up the lines of communication for both women and men. The event was empowering and informative to students and faculty members alike, providing an open forum to discuss a topic that is often forgotten or left out in our society. At the end of the evening, students left Barshinger Center for the Musical Arts having gained a better understanding of their bodies and their partner’s needs, making the event an enormous success. Congratulations, Brenda!
Members of the F&M and Lancaster community at large were treated to a special “V-Day” celebration on Saturday, March 3 -- two performances of The Vagina Monologues! This year’s V-Day was in support of the Milagro House and Domestic Services of Lancaster, while also raising awareness about women’s empowerment and violence against women at large. In addition, 10% of the proceeds raised went towards helping women in Haiti, a concentration of the national organization this year. Sarah Steinhorn ‘14, Jessica Dunbar ‘13, and Nalyse Seymore ’12 directed the performances, leading a cast of 24 talented and passionate students. Laughter, compassion, and most importantly, awareness were raised at these performances, and we congratulate the directors, cast, and crew on a wonderful V-Day 2012!