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Connell's Theory of Gender Applied to LUMS

Gender arrangements at LUMS are harmonious with Connell’s theory of gender i.e. ideal masculinities and femininities. At the top of the gender hierarchy at LUMS are men, specifically the men in higher management positions e.g. Deans, Vice-Chancellor, etc. They have a direct formal and/or informal say in faculty arrangements, hiring, admissions, student societies, offices, and all other institutions within LUMS. Apart from their power, they are also the highest paid strata at the institution. In Connell’s terms, they can be said to possess hegemonic masculinity as two of the defining factors of such masculinities are power and paid work. Their power is also showcased in keeping their rank entirely male-dominated; it wasn’t until last year that a female Provost and Interim SAHSOL Dean were hired.

The next level in the LUMS gender regime is those men who get validated from this gender imbalance in the administration. For instance, most student societies are male-headed and male-dominated e.g. SPADES (Science society) and LUMS Adventure Society (LAS). Most panelists in webinars and talks are men, even if the topic concerns specifically females e.g. acid attacks, rape, etc. These interviewers and panelists can be said to possess complicit masculinities in Connell’s terms because they directly benefit from the gender inequality made common by hegemonic masculinities.

Furthermore, it is noticeable that most women students opt for societies such as FEMSOC. Though part of the reason is men keeping them out as mentioned in the LAS example, it is still sometimes by choice. This creates an idea that such societies are meant for women and should be limited to them; not only does this then create an influx of female applicants but also makes male students reluctant to join. Such women can be said to possess emphasized femininity because they maintain the status quo in which men get to saturate the “manly” societies that would fall under the hegemonic masculinity umbrella e.g. SPADES.

Hegemonic masculinity and emphasized femininity then work hand-in-hand at LUMS to shame other gender labels. For instance, the minority of male students studying at the Humanities and Social Science School would be shamed for being a “lesser man” because the school is female-dominated. I recall a male student sharing his experience last semester of facing reluctance from his family when he declared his major as Sociology and Anthropology. These males would be labeled as “subordinate masculinity” primarily because it supports the cause and everyday work of the hegemonic masculinities.

Therefore, the LUMS gender regime is extremely imbalanced in favor of men, those possessing hegemonic and complicit masculinities, through constant reiteration and validation of the gender order.

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