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2017 Gender Matters Expo preview: ‘Now It’s Personal’

In today’s political atmosphere, the role of gender is playing a more prominent role than ever before in national discussions. Keeping that in mind, this year’s gender expo will be more important than ever before.

“Concordia’s Gender Matters Expo 2017: Now It’s Personal” will take place in the Centrum from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Feb. 9. The expo is an annual event sponsored by the women’s and gender studies program where students, faculty and staff can submit research and scholarship in a variety of formats.

This expo is about how gender is ingrained in the fabric of our lives, and Karla Knutson, co-chair of the women’s and gender studies program, believes this is a good year for inquiry given the current political climate.

In addition to oral presentations and poster sessions, this year’s attendees can also look forward to seeing a number of art presentations, speeches and music. Knutson says there will be a lot of amazing and exciting work showcased at this year’s expo. Belly dancing, the portrayal of sexual assault in film, women’s suicide in prisons and transgendered bathroom discrimination are just a few of the topics that will be featured.

“Students can talk to presenters, enjoy snacks, and attend for twenty minutes or stay for the full two hours,” Knutson said.

Lara Moll, sophomore and theatre major, is currently enrolled in Gender and Communication, a course taught by Aileen Buslig. Through the course, Moll is taking a group project to the expo. The project focuses on gender and calorie intake. Each group member went to a different grocery store to look at the frozen food section. They had to pick out twenty items each, see how many calories they had and whether or not the product was marketed toward men or women. Moll says they believe that women’s products will most likely have fewer calories and be seen as healthier, while food made for men would have a higher calorie count and more protein.

This is Moll’s first time participating in – or even going to – the Gender Matters Expo. She says her group got their idea from their professor and decided to see where it would go. Moll is excited to see the data presented.

“Who thinks about that? How many calories are in this thing? It is more female, feminine? This is going toward men, it has more calories,” Moll said.

Knutson believes there is much to be gained by both presenters and attendees. Those presenting their work are able to engage in academic feedback from an involved audience that can help the scholars continue to research.

As for those attending, Knutson says it is a great chance to see what students are doing and be informed about important topics. It is also an opportunity to be able to apply ideas in further conversations.

Moll certainly agrees about the benefits of the expo. She is excited to be involved in her project, and has found herself thinking critically about the idea of “feminine vs. masculine.” With eighty different products being analyzed by her group, she believes the data will be extremely informative.

“I want to be able to tell people about my research.” Moll says.

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