[Image from Flickr The Commons, the Galt Museum collections]

One of the great contribution of the feminist movement, and later gender studies, in the academia is the idea of personal as political, one’s own situated knowledge as legitimate, one’s passions as research-worthy (precisely because one feels strongly about something). This doesn’t mean, and has never meant, that one could not see beyond that, take a few steps back, observe, and deconstruct one’s passions.

But, as bell hooks writes in Teaching Critical Thinking,

The ability to be awed, excited, and inspired by ideas is a practice that radically opens the mind. Excited about learning, ecstatic about thoughts and ideas, as teachers and students we have the opportunity to use knowledge in ways that positively transform the world we live in.

For their first assignment, Fordham students of the course of Gender Images and the Media are to examine something they feel passionately (+ or -) about regarding gender and the media — whether a media celebrity, a blog, a book, a movie, a TV series or radio show, a social networking site or a related phenomenon, and so on. They can express themselves by writing an essay, a poem, a song, painting a picture, making a video — or by blogging right here.