A new year brings a new semester for me, and so far things seem encouraging. I don’t mean that in the academic sense (although I’m optimistic about that), but in terms of the demographics of my fellow students in two particular courses. Last year I was disappointed by the fact that there was nary a dude in my course on women’s intellectual history; this year is different. One course, on how Elizabethan gender hierarchies affected the poetry and drama of the era, has two dudes. Another course, on women and Islam, is about one-third dude students (I kind of want to combine those words and coin a neologism called “dudents”).
So how significant is it? Maybe not at all. And my love of statistics starts kicking in here, saying “this is a really small sample pool, sarah.of.a.lesser.god! Three courses does not a study make! There are too many unknown variant factors!” Okay, fair enough. Still, when there were zero dudents last semester, and six this semester, it makes me feel like maybe some guys realize that embarking on these studies will give them a broader understanding of history and culture. Since I don’t view my gender studies classes as an “us vs. them” construct, I hope that these dudents will take as much away from these courses as I think I will.