Diffracting!

michelle.lee's picture

Whist ruminating over my web events and the material and discussions of this class, I thought hard about how I have grown as a feminist.  This was my first class that had anything to do about feminism.  I wanted to know what feminism was about, how it was defined and just get a taste of it.  I think I had a naive notion in my mind that I could take one class of feminism and get a fuller understanding of it.  While I feel like I do have a better understanding as to what feminism is, I also think I've become more confused.  But what I've also gained from this class is the acceptance of this confusion.   (which always happens when you take the time to learn more about a subject).  At the beginning of the year, I felt like I didn't know enough to make any statements or say anything.  I felt I was talking more towards the end of the year.    I really appreciate that this class has made me bolder and not afraid to express my opinions.  As a learner, this helps me to explore ideas more since I am not as afraid to venture into different topics and vocalize my opinions.  

This class has made me realize that I have been a feminist for quite some time.  I just didn't know how to articulate it.  I remember in high school, I would encounter unfair situations and I would feel upset and that what was happening was unfair.  And I couldn't understand why I was upset.  I didn't have the cultural capital to build upon to fully articulate my feelings into words.  I feel I have more access to tools and have the ability to verbally express myself when I encounter situations that I can more confidently deem problematic.  I'm not as afraid to put my foot down and say, "No. That's actually not okay."  and explain why I don't think it's okay.  I find this to be very empowering.  

A recurring theme in my web events was this idea of being an agent of change.  They all touched upon methods of raising feminism as an issue and spreading awareness.  It really highlighted my interest in being an agent of social change.  I want to raise awareness about feminism.  I really feel like this class has helped me realize how much feminism isn't just about women.  It's about all those who are oppressed and denied certain privileges simply because they do not fill the archetype of white, middle class and male.  It spreads over issues of gender, sexuality,  race, and class.  And this stemmed another strain of thought.  In my opinion, in order for me to really get people listening, I still need to keep learning.  I don't want to be a loud feminist.  I don't want to be that negative stereotypical feminist (harpy, militant, etc)  I want to be an informed, intelligent feminist.  I really do feel like at Bryn Mawr there is this concept of Feminist until Graduation.  It's fun to shout words like Death to the Patriarchy, heteronormativity, etc.   I sincerely want this to be a lasting experience.  I want to continue to be a feminist even past my years at Bryn Mawr.  I want my reasons of being  feminist to be on a solid basis and not just because I happen to attend an all women's college.   And in order for that to happen, I need to keep myself informed so I can base feminism on my own definition of feminism and not for the sake of increasing my social standing or because I think its fun.  I need substantiation.  I want my life to reflect feminism through my actions.  Just as the class was constructed in a feminist way, I want my actions to reflect feminism.  Does this mean I will constantly have to check myself and question whether my actions are reflecting the patriarchy? Yes.  But I think I am willing to do that.  I was born with preconceived notions and have just only begun to deconstruct the paradigms I have been growing up with.  In order for me to even begin thinking about how I can be an agent of change.  I need to change, too.  As trite and sentimental as this is going to come off, I'm going to use a very over used quote (which, by the way, was never actually said by Ghandi) and everyone's just going to deal with it..  "We must be the change we wish to see in the world"  If I want to see feminism flourish.  Then my life needs to represent feminism flourishing.  

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