Otherness-Wrong about Gender

For the purpose of this essay prompt, pick one FHS or FWS seminar to study at CMC. What part of your personal experience—or your desire to know more about an area outside of your experience—best explains your seminar choice?

My choice of FHS would be Otherness and the Encounter with the Other. I am particularly interested by otherness when it comes to gender because I have recently learned that everything I thought I understood about gender was wrong.

I come from a family with a pretty traditional outlook about men and women and I am the only boy among the nine children in my generation. I have two sisters and six female cousins. I’ve always been told, and I had pretty much accepted, that gender was about biology and that certain attributes were masculine and others were feminine. So, I came by my masculine traits of being rational, tough on the football field and ultra-competitive naturally, while I got my feminine traits of being compassionate, talkative, sensitive, and understanding thanks to hanging out so much with my sisters and cousins.

But the readings in last year’s AP Language class, and what I heard from my peers in our hours of conversation about gender, completely upended these fundamental assumptions. I learned that gender is more complicated than biology or a set of “masculine” and “feminine” traits. It is individually and socially defined.

I love being challenged in this way. It opens me up to new ideas and causes me to reconsider my fundamental beliefs and assumptions. I think that further and deeper inquiry into “otherness” and more encounters with the “other” would catapult me into a more mature and better understanding of myself and the world.