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Events spur discourse on gender, sexuality

By Nicole DeStefano

Sex can be considered a taboo topic of discussion that often goes ignored or completely avoided. Hoping to alter this conception, the College did its best to draw attention to the subject in a more positive light.

The Women in Learning and Leadership Program (WILL) hosted its annual “Redefining Sex Week” from Monday, Nov. 17, through Friday, Nov. 21, with the intentions of creating conversations about topics regarding sex.

At the College, the WILL program strives to stimulate a more profound understanding of gender and its relationships with race, sexuality and culture. WILL hopes to not only strengthen an individual’s understanding of these topics, but compels them to positively impact the local and global community through community-engaged learning projects, according to the WILL website.

The week started off with “Condoms, Contraceptives and Plan B: The Need to Know Information,” which was an open Q&A with Planned Parenthood representatives concerning a healthy sex life.

WILL also covered how culture and social media strongly influence sexuality. “InterSEXtionality” was a discussion panel on cultural influences that focused on the term “intersectionality.”

“Texting, Twerking & Tindering” was a discussion panel held by WILL senior Meagan Loo that discussed the ties between social media and sexuality. Then, on Friday, Nov. 21, WILL showed a movie called “Miss Representation.”

“Miss Representation” explores how the mainstream media contributes to the underrepresentation of women in influential positions by displaying negative or poor portrayals of women. The film’s motto, “You cannot be what you cannot see,” asserts that young women need positive role models.

“‘Miss Representation’ was very provoking, and I would definitely recommend other young, ambitious women to see it,” sophomore accounting major Samantha Burns said.

WILL also brought in Stephanie Gilmore, a scholar and editor of the Committee on LGBT History, Feminist Studies, and The Feminist Wire to address sexual violence and rape culture on college campuses in America, a very prominent issue. She discussed topics including consent and Title IX policies.

Men were also encouraged to participate in WILL’s Redefining Sex Week with an event on Thursday called “#HeForSheTCNJ.” HeForShe encourages men to stand up in addressing inequalities and discrimination faced by women and girls.

Two other events were the “Virginity Diaries” and the “Pleasure Party: Do Something Different For Her.”

The “Virginity Diaries” was led by a student panel that discussed virginity and the many questions revolving around it, while the “Pleasure Party” was a quite literal sex toy party and a night replete with positive sex attitudes.

Lastly, PRISM brought asexuality speaker David Jay, founder of the Asexuality Visibility and Education Network, to the College. Jay has built public awareness toward asexuality and strives to give asexual people a safe space for self-exploration.


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