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Women’s History Month: Imagining the future

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yescavagescola-copy.jpgWhat if women didn’t have to have babies, or menstruate? What would the world look like if traditional gender roles were rendered obsolete?

These questions and others were posed at the round table discussion March 6, lead by Associate Professor of Psychology Karen Yescavage entitled “Women’s History Panel: Imagining the Future.”

Students in attendance were encouraged by Yescavage to think about a world where the traditional gender roles did not apply. She opened the discussion by asking for examples of difficult situations that face women and girls.

Some of the situations brought up by the students included: miscarriage, sexual assault, puberty and managing family and career roles.

“I’ve watched both of my girls struggle through adolescence, I didn’t realize how hard it was until I had girls and watched them do it,” Women’s Studies Coordinator Becki Scola said.

The concepts of forging an identity based on the beauty myths that society portrays as being desired by women was explored as well.

“Society pushes big, big business around selling products to little girls so that they’ll know how to make their little ponies pretty and their little Barbie’s cuter and all that crap. There’s something wrong with that,” Yescavage said.

Yescavage then asked what would happen if the slate was wiped clean, if all of the values that are attached to women in today’s society didn’t exist.

“What if we were to completely wipe the slate clean, if women rebuilt society from the ground up?” Yescavage asked.

The discussion then focused on what would happen if women had the option to have babies outside of the womb.

“I’m not objecting to having them (children) but I can see how not being pregnant could change women’s lives significantly because our lives are completely disrupted by pregnancy,” Scola said.

The conversation took a turn into abstract as the participants tried to imagine a world with artificial wombs and communities of people raising children.

Yescavage introduced the thought of parenting as a regulated industry, with potential parents having to be approved in some way to be in charge of another human life.

The discussion was completely hypothetical, everyone in attendance commented on problems with the ideas presented as well as developed points that they saw as positive.

Many other Women’s History Month events are scheduled on campus, with sponsorship by the following groups; Women’s Studies and Chicano Studies programs, First-Year Center, Multicultural Center, University Library, the offices of Student Life and Development and Student Activities and the Political Science and Riding the 3rd Wave clubs.