This resource guide may contain trigger material for the following:
*violent sexual material and imagery
*sexist material and imagery
*violence towards women and GLBTQ
Ferris Collection of Sexist Objects: A Short History
By Tracy N. Busch
In Spring 2014, an interdisciplinary group of faculty and staff came together to organize a collection of sexist objects gathered by David Pilgrim, Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion, over the past 10 years. This group brings a wide range of perspectives to the study of sexism and includes librarians Mari Kermit-Canfield and Frances Rosen, professors Tracy Busch (Faulty Lead), Rachel Foulk, Tracy Webb, and Trinidy Williams (Humanities Department Chair), staff members Carrie Stermer (Ferris Fine Arts Museum Director), Jessica Cruz (Latin@ Center Associate Director), Franklin Hughes, Patty Terryn, and Lisa Kemmis (ex officio). Susan Morris, Adviser for the Women and Gender Studies Minor, and Andrea Blue, Coordinator of the Ferris Virtual Women’s Center, recently joined our effort.
Over the summer, the Organizing Group developed a mission statement for the collection, which is:
“The mission of the Ferris Collection of Sexist Objects is to be a leader in raising awareness and inspiring activism in response to everyday sexist objects that promote sexism, gendered violence, female stereotypes. The Collection will provide a learning environment that encourages scholarly dialogue and fosters research."
Although women today have more opportunities than their mothers and grandmothers, the Ferris Collection of Sexist Objects reveals the extent to which violent language and behaviors toward women are still promoted through songs, advertisements, T-shirts and other forms of popular culture. Because the sexist objects are all located together in one small room, the cumulative effect can be overwhelming. A visit to the collection allows students and other visitors to see sexist objects for the first time, despite the fact that they have been present in their environment for months, even years.
Professor Tracy Busch experimented with the collection in History 259: Women in Global Activism class in Fall 2013, and is now leading the effort to make the collection accessible to other professors who will find it useful for their classes in upcoming semesters, including professors Carole McKenna, Tracy Webb, and Susan Morris this Fall. She worked closely with Mari Kermit-Canfield to produce this Library Guide (LibGuide), which we hope will be useful to classes and groups on campus investigating gender roles, gendered violence, pay equity, women in politics, intersections between sexism and racism, female caricatures and stereotypes, and global women’s issues.