Women and Gender Studies discuss impact of stereotypes.

The Women and Gender Studies Conversations Series took place on April 12 at Texas A&M University-Kingsville, where the presenter was Dr. Rick Miller. Dr. Miller’s discussion was about Stereotype Threats. Stereotype Threat is defined as a situational predicament in which individuals are at risk of confirming negative stereotypes about their group. It is the resulting sense that one might be judged in terms of negative stereotypes about one group instead of on personal value.

Dr. Pamela Wight, assistant professor in English shared, “I do think the WGST Conversation series is important. It offers a venue for thought and discussion about issues that somehow impact all of us–whether we are aware of gender bias and gender issues or not. For example, I tell my students to think about the way grocery stores are even designed–with the average height of a woman in mind because women are traditionally the ones who shop for their families. Or, even think about advertising on television and in magazines. If the audience for a particular magazine or television program is male, the advertised products will be completely different from those during television programs or in magazines geared to a female audience. While these are very rudimentary examples, they illustrate how gender is involved in nearly aspect of our lives. In an academic environment like a university, this type of venue educates students and faculty, and offers a place to discuss issues you might not have ever thought about being related to gender. I was most surprised by some of the data he actually showed. I had never seen some of the tests that he used in his presentation.” Dr. Wright Concluded.

Dr. Aniruddha Mukhopadhyay, assistant professor in English commented, “The Women and Gender Studies Conversation series is very important because it promotes discussions on gender equality and gender representation at our university. So this is a great forum for both faculty and students to engage on important questions on gender rights. But not only that, these conversations are a great way to learn more about gender issues from different disciplinary perspectives, like social studies on “Stereotype Threats” as presented by Dr. Richard Miller this last Wednesday.”

Jilma Vinson, lecturer in English and PhD student of Bilingual Education added, “Subtle tones of intimidation can affect how students produce in testing if they perceive that the person giving the test promotes stereotypes of gender or race. The academic event was about a serious matter, but the feel was very friendly and we were all free to engage various thoughts and possibilities about stereotypes and what triggers them or how we can counter them with our affirming words or behavior.” She finalized by saying the importance of the events in her opinion “The Women and Gender Studies conversation series helps to remind the TAMUK community of social advances we have achieved and where we can still strive for more change.”

For more information in the Woman and Gender Studies Conversation Series you can get in contact with Dr. Susan Roberson at 361- 593-2012.

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