As I sit here wondering how to start or what to say, I also ask myself “what did bring me to this course?” I was not raised in a family of outspoken women. I was raised in a family that hated (and still hates) the term “feminism.” So, I, being the misinformed, young girl I was, also adopted this mindset. For a long time, I thought I didn’t need feminism. I didn’t understand why it even existed. Prior to college, I had only heard negative things about these “feminists” that hated men, caused disruption and violence, and so on. As I progressed in my college career, so did my knowledge of what true feminism is. Eventually I came to the conclusion that my and my family’s beliefs about what feminism is were wrong. So, so wrong. I learned that feminism is a movement for women to be equal to men and that it requires respect from both sides as women struggle for this equality. It is not a movement of hate or “man-bashing” as some may think, it is a peaceful yet strong-willed movement intended to include all women. Personally, in my coursework and research, I tend to gravitate towards strong-willed women authors such as Emily Dickinson and Kate Chopin, but aside from that I haven’t had any formal feminism teaching. Most of my encounters with feminism involve social media and include befriending many wonderful women who not only practice and defend feminism in their daily lives, but also some who teach it as their career. Through these meaningful friendships, I’ve been able to find a community of strong, beautiful women who empower one another and stand up for all women’s rights.
In real life, I wouldn’t say that I’ve experienced much discrimination, and I am aware that I’m privileged in this respect. I have experienced some discrimination on social media, mostly men and yes, also some women who don’t fully understand what feminism is and why it exists. I tend to brush those off. It’s difficult to educate someone who is not open-minded to learning about a new way of thinking. Some battles are just not worth fighting. Despite this, I do my best to continue my education of feminism as much as I can. Recently I’ve been reading about privilege (this article has been particularly helpful and informative). Yes, it’s true, I did not know what exactly privilege entailed until fairly recently. Growing up in a white household, family, and predominately white school, town, community, etc., I didn’t really see people without that specific privilege, and therefore it was difficult to reflect upon my own privilege unless I chose to seek it out. For example, you wouldn’t appreciate good things unless you also experienced bad things. I did not know I was “privileged” because I did not know any other way but my own. This mindset is detrimental to personal growth. I feel as though the area I grew up in is privy only to their way of thinking, and experiencing different beliefs and cultures up close and personal is somewhat of a taboo. It was not until I came to college that I was able to experience true diversity, and for that I am so grateful. Diversity allows for so much creativity and improvement in both personal and professional settings. I would not be the open-minded individual that I am today without it. I’m so excited to not only learn more about feminism this semester, but to also learn from all of you. Everyone has something to teach you.
It is my hope that this course will greatly impact not only my personal life, but also my future as a professor. If it had not been for college, I would not have experienced diversity, true feminism, or a passion for learning. I hope to leave this course with an even greater knowledge about feminism so I can one day convey these ideas and passions to my students.