Music & Gender with Dr. Spilker from Gender Studies minor Eoghan Hartley

As a Gender Studies minor, I was looking forward to taking Music & Gender a lot. But I had no idea how many diverse topics that we were going to cover. I was under the impression that the entire semester was going to be talking about women’s representation (or misrepresentation) in music videos and how female artists are being objectified. Within our first several weeks of classes, we had done reading and had invigorating discussion about women’s involvement in the music and social sphere all the way back to the Middle Ages. Yet, even in this discussion, our class of young undergraduate students from all different interests was able to make enlightening connections to modern day music culture.

One of the elements of this course that I enjoy the most is that I get to hear other people’s perspectives from outside the sphere of gender studies. Some students who may not have the most previous exposure to these topics sometimes surprise me with the most interesting observations. During our discussions, I am wide-eyed and eager to take in as much of other people’s observations as I can.

One of the most invigorating discussions that we had recently was about drag culture and examining videos from popular drag queens such as Willam, RuPaul, and Lady Bunny. Within this discussion, we covered all sorts of topics such as drag queens and sexuality, drag culture within the public sphere, and even the portrayal of LGBT culture within popular television shows and movies.

As always, I look forward to hearing about what other people are observing, which makes me especially excited for listening to my fellow classmates make presentations about their research topics that they have picked for their final course project. The only main requirement that Dr. Spilker gave us in choosing our topic was to have some relation to gender studies. My research is dealing with sexual fantasy and gender roles, including specific analysis on the messages portrayed in Lady Gaga’s new single “G.U.Y.” Within our course, we have a broad range of topics including: Greek sexual culture, development of masculinity within female prisons, women’s participation in sports, and the representation of female artists within jazz music. Needless to day, I am simply thrilled to be listening to my fellow classmates educate us about this broad range of topics.

For the record, I am working towards a B.F.A in Directing. The information that I am gathering throughout this course is going to prove to be very beneficial as I guide projects and facilitate another growing source of media to our culture. If there are any students who are interested in any aspect of gender studies, sociology, or even music itself, I would highly suggest this course. Never be afraid to dive deeper. Who knows what you may find!

– Eoghan Hartley



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