Identity Crisis for Women’s Studies

What is an Identity Crisis?

In simple words when you feel like you don’t know who you are, where you are going with your life, or you are questioning what your purpose or values are you may be going through what some call an identity crisis.

Crisis of Identity in Women’s Studies

In the 1970s, women’s studies programs were established in UK universities, the concept of “women’s studies” was narrowly concerned with female identity ignoring broader issues of impact, intersection, sexism, etc.

The 1990s brought change to the Women’s Studies Departments of the 1970s and 1980s; during this decade Gender Studies developed, a discipline that underwent the partial transition to “gender studies”, including not only feminist and women’s studies, but also queer studies, femininity and masculinity research, as well as the study of sex and reproduction.

The rigorous debate centered on the ways in which identity politics balanced with analysis of different types of oppression intersect with each other.

The lines between women’s studies, gender studies, and sexuality studies are very thin and all three have many methodological and theoretical differences.

Women’s Studies departments, such as the one at Indiana University, began changing their names to Gender Studies, formally indicating that the discipline was expanding to become more inclusive of all gender-related research.

Publication of the Journal of Gender Studies began in 1991 and in the same year, Men’s Studies was popularized with the founding of the American Men’s Studies Association.

The history of gender studies looks at the different perspectives of gender. This discipline examines the ways in which historical, cultural, and social events shape the role of gender in different societies. The field of gender studies, while focusing on the differences between men and women, also looks at sexual differences and less binary definitions of gender categorization.

The revolution of the universal suffrage of the twentieth century and the women’s liberation movement of the 1960 and 1970s promoted a revision from the feminists to “actively interrogate” the usual and accepted versions of History as it was known at the time.

It was the goal of many feminist scholars to question original assumptions regarding women’s and men’s attributes, to actually measure them, and to report observed differences between women and men.

Initially, these programs were essentially feminist, designed to recognize contributions made by women as well as by men. Soon, men began to look at masculinity the same way that women were looking at femininity and developed an area of study called “men’s studies.”

It was not until the late 1980s and 1990s that scholars recognized a need for study in the field of sexuality.

This was due to the increasing interest in lesbian and gay rights, and scholars found that most individuals will associate sexuality and gender together, rather than as separate entities.


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