To be quite honest, my experience with feminism has been foggy. The term was never truly defined to me. Only in recent years have I come to understand the values at the core of the movement. Now as I read more about Feminism and the message that the Feminists preach, I realize that I stand behind their message. The entire goal of feminism is equality. No authority makes one human better than the other, so why does society act the way it does?
Recently, I have seen so much support for women’s rights. Because of the Women’s March and the swarm of articles that followed it, I have learned so much that I didn’t know before. (For instance, many jobs still don’t give women equal pay. STILL. What year is it?) While I have hope for the future of women’s rights, it is a cautious hope. Many looming obstacles stand to oppose even the strongest of Feminists and I fear the power of these obstacles may be great. Still, I believe that the strength of one’s spirit is stronger than the strength of oppression.
In my past years, I have run into many situations where people have treated me differently because I am a female.
One such instance always puts a sinister smile on my face (the type of smile the Grinch has). I love to run. I used to run races locally all the time. At one particular race, my friend (also a girl) and I were running against a large number of kids our own age, both boys and girls. One particular boy attended the same school as us and was absolutely certain he could beat us.
“There’s no way you’ll beat me! You’re just girls! You can’t run as fast as boys!” he chastised.
The race began and the three of us were in the lead. He had a strong start ahead of me and at the heels of my friend. I remained behind him, waiting until the last curve. I sped past him with ease. From behind me I heard him yell. Glancing back, I saw that he had sat down in the grass and was griping loudly about how it was impossible for TWO girls to have beaten him.
I hope all women smile like this when overcoming stereotypes. Many other times I have encountered similar situations. Typically society would project its beliefs onto the way I acted.
I am a nature person; I love all animals. As a child, I constantly had some sort of creature in my hand or happily climbing about my shoulder. My mother not only encouraged this behavior, she nurtured it. When I began kindergarten however, I realized that only the boys seemed to share my sentiment toward “creepy crawlies.” I was often told, “Ew! You’re holding a bug? That’s boy stuff!” or “Only boys can catch lizards!” The negative comments came from boys and girls, because that’s how they were raised to think.
Sure, these instances seem small, but to a child they can have a large impact. Luckily, my mom taught me to never listen to anyone who says you can’t do something just because you’re a girl.
Spoiler alert: I still hold all the creepy crawlies.
Luck is what led me to this course in Feminism. I was in search of an interesting online English course and when I saw this class, I jumped at the opportunity. As I said before, until recently, I haven’t had a clear definition of what Feminism is. My knowledge has been mostly just “Google-ing” things about it. I am excited because in this course I will be able to obtain a more concrete understanding of Feminism and Feminist theory. I expect that I will also learn a lot about the history of Feminism and pioneers of the movement that is still taking place today.
I hope in this class that we will discuss women’s rights, historic and current events in Feminism, our own experiences (as we did in this first post), and ways to get involved and do some good ourselves. I hope to be a teacher someday and I feel this course, the textbook, and our individual research on women who influenced Feminist theory will influence not only the way I think, but the way I teach. By gaining a greater appreciation and understanding of Feminism, I hope to more than anything to be able to pass the message along.