Reflections from Wonderland: A Newfound Feminist’s Journey

If you didn’t know, the semester is wrapping up for the year.

When I look back on this semester I can only see a blur. It may not have been the toughest, but it certainly hasn’t been the greatest. Of the few real memories I can conjure up, I can distinctly remember every time I wrote for ShoutOut. Between long periods of writer’s block, cursing myself for again waiting until last minute and hollowly swearing I’ll start earlier the next week, I was actually doing something I was proud to be a part of.

Accurate, to say the least
Accurate, to say the least

This past semester I was introduced to another world. Unlike Alice’s journey into Wonderland or Dorothy’s to Oz, I couldn’t snap myself back to reality as I had unknowingly stepped into it. In this new environment I felt the patriarchy that held so many people back and created unrealistic expectations for all participants. I heard the language that was casually thrown around as if it didn’t sting like knives. I saw the pain in people’s eyes as they recounted events when they were affected by misogyny. The kicker though was the shame I felt realizing I played an active role in all of this like a chump.

Thanks to ShoutOut’s amazing writers and readers, I’ve begun changing my lifestyle. Taking small steps to turn my life around and lead it in an open-minded way, I’ve seen the positive it could do for the people around me. It’s been liberating to say the least, however I’ve recently felt like there was still something missing; a weight in my heart I couldn’t shack.

Yesterday I went to see writer and director Jennifer Baumgardner’s documentary on rape survivors, It Was Rape, and was awestruck. Afterwards I waited to introduce myself but was still so dumbfounded I couldn’t say a word. Imagineherstory was with me (thank God) and carried on a conversation as I nodded my head and maybe said 10 words. In the conversation Baumgardner laid down a profound piece of advice that answered the call deep inside me.

When asked about the best thing a blog like ShoutOut could do for advocacy Baumgardner said, “Almost everything on the internet is a carbon copy of the same thing. One of the best things a blog can do is cover local events.” She went on to point out Steubenville wouldn’t have been a part of the mainstream news if it weren’t for a local blogger who screen captured the tweet conversations and presenting them on the internet.

Life is within your grasp; do you use yours to actively shape the world around you?
Life is within your grasp; do you use yours to actively shape the world around you?

Summer is a sweetly somber time for me. It’s the first time I get a little breathing room, a chance to sit down and relax. Better still, I’m able to process the thoughts that have nested in my head, some of which from as far back as January. This reflexive process is my greatest opportunity to contemplate what I need to/would like to change. Listening to Baumgardner I saw flashes of everything wrong I had heard or seen over the past few months and I realized what I need to focus on was actually speaking up to the people around me. She exposed the confliction I held in my heart for so long and what I must consider for ShoutOut and life.

To the world we are just one person, but to one person we are the world. What are we doing to influence that person? Will that person see me as a feminist who fights misogyny, or will they see me as another person afraid of going against the grain? ShoutOut has only been the beginning of what will surely be a lifetime of activism, but will I be a player in the game or a fan on the sidelines?

Too many times I’ve let open opportunities to address misconceptions of feminism slip through my fingers. For too long I’ve remained silent as my peers engage in the patriarchy. I no longer want to feel conflicted when I preach ideals and values that I strive emulate in my life, but won’t lift a finger to point it out to others to better the environment around me. I’m tired of talking to a wall like other types of social media; I want to make a difference.

I’m excited for the summer and what opportunities it holds, but I’m even more excited to return to ShoutOut next fall with continued growth as an activist. Until then I invite you to reflect too; where do you stand as a feminist activist? Are you satisfied or like me, do you feel like there’s something you could improve upon?

Thank you for reading over the past few months, your love and support is immeasurable.

3 thoughts on “Reflections from Wonderland: A Newfound Feminist’s Journey

  1. I’ve really enjoyed reading your posts and watching you grow as a feminist this semester ElFeministo! I agree that more focus needs to be on the local – if you are going to be around the summer and are interested, I am trying to start a Harrisonburg Feminist Collective – it is really important to me to have men involved, and I would love to see you there!


    1. Thank you so much! You and everyone else on ShoutOut have been amazing sources of inspiration and support! I haven’t finalized anything yet but if you can shoot me an email, I’ll hold onto it and reply back when I do!


  2. Will, awesome post! You have grown as not only a blogger, but as a feminist. I love reading your stuff because you always have so much passion behind everything that you talk about. I am excited to read your work next semester since sadly, I have to take the semester off 😦 Awesome reflection!


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