North Texas Daily

10th Gender Fair kicks off at Willis Library on Wednesday

10th Gender Fair kicks off at Willis Library on Wednesday

10th Gender Fair kicks off at Willis Library on Wednesday
April 22
11:26 2014

Brittany Armstrong // Intern Writer

UNT’s Department of Communication Studies is hosting its 10th Gender Fair on the ground floor of the Willis Library on April 23 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The event is open to the public and free to attend.

Students who are in the gender communication class team up with students in Lambda Pi Eta – the Department of Communication’s honors society – to present the fair each semester.

Professor of the gender communications course, Suzanne Enck, said the Gender Fair is an opportunity for the students in the class to share some of the exciting things they’ve been learning all semester.

“I hope that people will take away an understanding that how we understand gender and how we expect people to perform in gendered ways are always far more complex than we might initially think,” Enck said.

The theme for this semester’s fair is “X-What Marks Your Spot?” The theme name is a play on words, using the roman-numeral X to represent the 10th Gender Fair, along with a twist on the pirate and adventure theme that the students have been asked to incorporate in their presentation booths. Past themes have been “Breaking Gender” and “Gender Gone Wild.”

The themes are chosen by an oversight committee in conjunction with all of the students in the class. The oversight committee is made up of four to five students in the class who help coordinate the event.

Communications studies junior Sydney Davis is in charge of helping distribute fliers and press releases as part of the oversight committee.

Davis said students who come to the fair will get to participate and test their knowledge on gender.

“It’s very interactive,” she said. “Every booth has a different activity. Every booth has giveaways.”

Five different booths will be at the event, each one involving a different gender topic or stereotype. One booth’s topic is masculinity, which is something Davis said is often stereotyped.

“If a male wants to be a dancer, that can be considered feminine for them,” she said.

“But we shouldn’t have to change what we like and what we love just because we fall under specific stereotypes of male or female.”

Each semester the Gender Fair hosts a local non-profit organization that pertains to their discussions.

The Denton Friends of The Family will be at the Gender Fair this semester to give out information about how domestic violence affects women. They will also be taking in donations. The organization provides services to families and individual who are affected by domestic violence and sexual assault.

Toni Simmons, Executive Director of Denton Friends of The Family, said this will be their second time attending the Gender Fair.

“They’re very good about talking about gender and violence at the gender fair,” she said. “Some of the issues they discuss are feminism and women in politics and public life, so we are going to be able to speak to all of that from a perspective of the services that we deliver.”

According to Simmons, one in three women will be impacted by domestic violence or sexual assault in their lifetime.

Integrative studies junior Jenni Marshall, who is also on the oversight committee, said the fair creates an atmosphere of education and discussion that isn’t often presented in the public sphere outside of the classroom.

“I like it because it gives people who are not communications majors the opportunity to learn about these kinds of issues and concepts that shape the way we live and shape our values and beliefs,” she said.

Feature photo: Communication Studies Sophomore Pedro Ortiz and Liz Smith show their support on 2013 Gender Fair. Photo courtesy of Suzanne Enck

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