Illustration by Joaquín Kunkel
We have reached the last issue of 2017. This semester’s pages of The Gazelle served as a space – for us as students and as the members of editorial team – to enter and open a number of dialogues we felt central to our community. Many of these conversations were inwardly-focused, aimed at tracing the heartbeat of the community we are a part of, through questioning our structures as a student newspaper and a liberal arts college in a place that remains a rather unexplored territory for both. We greatly appreciate the mutual flow of ideas and dialogue, both criticism and acclaim, between the student body and our inboxes on a regular basis. Thank you for challenging us.
Our site has hosted debates about gendered Student Interest Groups and gender roles in sports. We’ve striven to include diverse voices on topics of gender and identity, touching heavily on masculinity and its role, but deconstructing feminine ideals as well. Diverse notions of gender and sexuality that remind us all to question our assumptions, our truths for which we may not even know the root of their formation. All of this is with the aim of making our community more inclusive, accepting and more able to progress than ever.
Gender is central to our daily experiences, our developmental trajectories and where we fit into society. Gender also plays a series of roles in shaping our community and the experiences of our community members. For the diversity NYUAD represents and strives to cultivate, gender is among its central issues, worthy of being addressed in constant exploration of unexpected changes and previously neglected conversations.
Talking gender is a conversation of both public interest and the most personal kind. Its effects permeate our self-perception and interactions with others, whether or not we act upon them with full realization of their scope.
In the wider public, discourse about gender has been on an uptick recently. There has been increased media coverage of gender and consent issues, especially of issues of sexual harassment in the U.S. political spheres and film industry. It’s easy to view these stark portrayals of injustice as gross abuses of power. But it is one thing to pass judgment and speculation about gender in these public spheres, and another thing altogether to examine ourselves and our community as it mirrors similar patterns. Collective change begins at the individual level. It is easy to espouse ideals of equality and acceptance, and hide behind theories of postcolonial feminism and in the debates taking place in academic halls. Looking inward takes the most courage.
We must examine our own narratives, whether generated internally or by our cultures. Have you ever questioned if you believe in what you’ve been taught all your life, and why? What are the effects for your peers, your partner, your parents?
We’re proud of our community members who stepped forward to explore this issue, often accepting vulnerability and difficult realizations in the process. For those reading, we challenge you to do the same.
As a professor, do you create a classroom that is inclusive for all of your students? How do you use your authority, your potential to be a gatekeeper for student success? Have you ever abused the position of power that you hold? Or perhaps neglected the potential of leaving an impact it gives you?
As a classmate, do you live up to the standards you espouse in an academic setting? Do you allow these in-class discussions to reemerge in your quiet moments of self-reflection? Do you view all of your peers as worthy of a voice, an opinion and a bright future? Do you objectify, other, or alienate our fellow students?
As members of this community, do we still try to unpack our biases, to think critically about our actions, when nobody is watching?
The amount of interest in participating with this issue highlights the needs of our community for a platform to explore them, but certain topics remain untouched. Perhaps they are those that are the hardest for us to face, and the most necessary.
Let's take these conversations into our off hours, our best and worst moments, from the library cafe to the dorm rooms. Let's hold ourselves accountable to respect, open-mindedness and always growing as human beings both when we're in the spotlight and when we close the door.
Email The Gazelle's Management Team at [email protected]