Video: Meet gender studies major Natalie Perez

“Being in gender studies helps you really understand how to be an advocate for yourself and an advocate for other people as well,” said Natalie Perez ’14, a gender studies major in the College of Arts and Letters.

Gender studies at Notre Dame is an interdisciplinary academic program which analyzes the significance of gender in all aspects of human life, especially in the social formation of human identities, practices, and institutions. “We live in a culture that’s very permissive about these [gender] stereotypes … and I don’t think it’s OK to sit back and accept things for the way they are,” said Perez.

Perez’s senior thesis examined the performance of masculinity at Notre Dame, specifically in theatrical and athletic spaces. “I think it’s important that we look at how masculinity limits men,” said Perez. “If I want to wear clothing that’s typically masculine, that’s fine. But if men play what’s typically a women’s sport or wear women’s clothing, there are punitive consequences for them in our society.”

Perez, who also majored in psychology, accepted a position as a therapist at Lighthouse Autism Center in Mishawaka, Ind., after graduation.

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Originally published by Todd Boruff at on July 25, 2014.