Emerging 3.0: Sexualities and Gender

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Sexualities and gender have always played an important role in Emerging. As a gay man, I have a vested interest in these topics, more so now that I am also serving as the Interim Director for Florida Atlantic University’s Center for Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. We’ve added some great new readings on these issues in the new edition of Emerging. In this post I’d like to highlight three of them.

First, I’m quite happy to have Julia Serano back in the book. Serano is a transgender writer and activist who appeared in the first edition of Emerging. This time we selected her essay “Why Nice Guys Finish Last,” a complicated engagement of men and rape culture. I’m particularly happy to include a reading that engages the problems of our current sex/gender system for men and I am also happy we have a reading that can broach the troubling issue of rape culture.

Roxane Gay’s “Good Feminist?” is similarly complex and reminiscent of Ariel Levy’s “Female Chuavinist Pigs” in that it requires students, to some degree, to read against the grain to unearth the real argument. In this case Gay is arguing for an expanded definition of feminism by detailing all the ways she is a “bad” feminist given current, limiting definitions of that term.

“Complicated” is the theme here as Ruth Padawer’s “Sisterhood is Complicated” (as its title would suggest) also presents sexuality and gender as a deeply complex issue. Padawer examines the challenges presented by transgender men attending all-female colleges such as Wellesley. It works great, too, in any series of assignments on higher education, but in this context it underscores the ways in which shifting notions of gender and gender identity challenge our comfortable norms.

Of course these aren’t the only essays in the book that investigate these themes, but I think you will find they’re all great new inclusions.

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About the Author
Barclay Barrios is an Associate Professor of English and Director of Writing Programs at Florida Atlantic University, where he teaches freshman composition and graduate courses in composition methodology and theory, rhetorics of the world wide web, and composing digital identities. He was Director of Instructional Technology at Rutgers University and currently serves on the board of Pedagogy. Barrios is a frequent presenter at professional conferences, and the author of Emerging.