- Naperville, IL
My male cousins surrounded me in a tight circle as we walked through the beautiful Taj Mahal in Agra, India. About ten minutes prior, I had noticed that I was being followed by a middle-aged man wearing dark sunglasses and an orange scarf. I notified my family and they instructed the boys to protect me. It was broad daylight and there were thousands upon thousands of people milling about, yet I felt unsafe and victimized … I am a certified black belt in Taekwondo. Theoretically, I should not have feared the man at all, knowing my capabilities to protect myself from danger. Yet, societal norms have conditioned us to believe that women can only be truly protected by the presence of men … I would like to use my education at Loyola to address gender barriers and pre-determined gender roles. My major in anthropology will allow me to study the place of women in society in different parts of the world throughout different time periods to fully understand how gender roles came about. By working with professors involved in gender and women’s studies, I can gain a better understanding of not only why these preconceived notions exist, but also how to unravel them and create a new foundation that eliminates gender stereotypes for the generations to come.