When I reflect on the semester and my role in conversation and levels of participation, I have a lot of mixed feelings. I am very regretful of my lack of presence on the course forum-- that was an entire aspect of conversation for the class that I really think I missed out on a great deal. I did engage, but only as a lurker and passive reader, which is certainly a shame because I think one of the lessons of this course was to value your own voice as well as the others around you (something that many conversations in class over the semester would lead me to believe is a feminist project). I think that while I managed to really enjoy the ability to see the thoughts of my peers develop on the forum, I did not really trust in the value of my own words.
In class, however, I definitely feel like I was a pretty active and useful member of discussion. I was always very interested in the voices around me, and, unlike my reaction to serendip, was able to trust in the worthiness of my own thoughts enough to share them. I really hope, and think it is not out of line to say that I think it’s true, that I was a good community member in that I contributed as much as I was taking. Or perhaps, a less possessive and more appropriate phrasing, I engaged fully in the shared experience of conversation and therefore did my best to enrich and be enriched.
Reflecting on the readings, I would say that I really enjoyed the works we were exposed to throughout the course. The films, the novels (and of course within that category we had variation in medium), the media from “setting the scene”, and the articles through which we were exposed to some critical/academic theory were all very worthwhile and mostly pleasurable for me. There were definitely some pieces that I felt better about than others-- I really enjoyed Persepolis, “Canzone”, Middlesex, Live Nude Girls Unite, Half the Sky, and bell hooks. I absolutely adored “Lifting Belly”, and I really loved looking at Judy Chicago’s Dinner Party, then connecting it to "Goblin Market", and playing with the idea of a “potluck” throughout. I think one of the most fun things about the texts for me was being able to play them off each other and find patterns, connections, and contradictions. I found I had very little trouble keeping up with completing my readings, although on some of the theory articles, I did have trouble understanding and I struggled to find things to say about them during class. I do wish I had asked more questions, but I will say that there were moments when I felt so lost that I wasn’t quite sure how to formulate any questions at all.
Looking back at my web events, I am very pleased with my effort levels and progress. My favorite was my second web event, exploring the motif of tongues throughout the course thus far. I love being able to take a large mass of readings, unite them through a small motif, and then expand again to look at implications of feminism. I have found that my idea of the tongue and licking as a new mode of analysis that is more feminist than sight to be one that is valuable for its mobility. I go back to that core thesis, and try to deploy it in other areas of my academic life, and the intellectual pleasure I have taken in the directions those inquiries have gone has really taught me the value of returning to papers after I have written them-- a new idea for me, when I am used to never looking back at a paper after it has been submitted.
Ultimately, I think this class has been a very valuable experience for me. There definitely were bumps in the road, but I learned a lot and plan to seriously pursue gender and sexuality studies during my time at Bryn Mawr. I feel that I have some very interesting ideas and new methods of thinking due to this course that will definitely help me in that pursuit, as well as my academic pursuits generally.