The "Othering": The Impact of Societal Normativity on Exclusion and Oppression
In many places around the world where there has been an interest in studying women and gender roles, including in the United States, there has been a concerted effort to withdraw support for continued research and eliminate Gender Studies altogether. Tensions are on the rise and violence is breaking out as many religious and conservative factions are fighting abolish civil rights, reproductive and bodily autonomy rights for women, the rights of LGBTQ+ persons, robust and relevant public education where it differs from conservative–often religiously–based ideology especially on topics of ethnic studies and sexual education, and any other topic considered taboo by the vocal minority. The current social climate perpetuates societal “othering”, widening the gap between social groups. There exists division between those who are fighting to maintain patriarchal order, in which traditional gender roles are protected and alternative lifestyles are viewed as a threat to the natural order, and those who promote inclusivity and equal rights. My goal with this SURF project is to consider the impact of societal normativity and political and religious beliefs in the creation of an “othering” as it relates to the perpetuation of a climate of exclusion and oppression. I will incorporate personal experiences, including my own familial story and the impact of societal norms and opinions that create a climate of exclusion and oppression. I will consider the works of Simone De Beauvior, Adriene Rich, Judith Butler and Bell Hooks, in addition to outside sources and my personal testimony.