According to a recent piece published in The New York Times, nearly 40 percent of high school seniors believed that “the husband should make all the important decisions in the family” in 2014. In the same year, 58 percent of seniors said they preferred a household arrangement where the man was the main source of income and the woman took care of the home — a 16 percent increase since 1994. These statistics are somewhat indicative of a growing resistance towards egalitarian heterosexual relationships and gender equality. In light of this — as well as the more recent publicized sexual assault allegations and subsequent dismissals — universities should consider implementing a required human development course that would discuss gender and sexuality amongst other relevant and valuable topics.
Human development courses typically cover subjects related to physical, cognitive and social development, including areas such as parent and child relations and gender and sexuality. Currently, NYU’s College Core Curriculum for the College of Arts and Sciences has a humanities requirement, but this includes 24 different course options with only one course centering on gender and sexuality studies. The plethora of options for the humanities requirement allows students to bypass a valuable educational opportunity. A required human development course would encompass a variety of topics that could prove valuable to a college student — most of whom are forming or evolving their outlooks on relationship dynamics. Additionally, it would include crucial information on parent and child relationships, which is a subject critical for every young adult that is or intends on becoming a parent.
This current shift in beliefs about egalitarian relationships needs to be corrected because, if unattended, it has the potential to spiral out of control and reverse longstanding feminist victories. Our perception of women is affected by every aspect of our culture, and the belief that women should inherently hold domestic positions in a relationship is built upon dangerous premises. Implementation of such a course would provide insight into gender and sexuality theories that many students never encounter throughout their entire educational experience. Providing this information may or may not change a student’s views towards supporting egalitarian relationships, but it would at least provide them with the necessary information to make an educated decision.
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