Whelp, it’s that time of year again the libraries are filled to capacity where noise of any kind is met with evil stares and death threats, everyone is offering to use their dining dollars for you, and every student seems on the verge of hysterical laughter, or crying, or fits of rage and most likely a combination of all three. It can only mean one thing! The end of the semester is finally here! And it has been quite a journey. As most of the bloggers have done I would like to take this time to reflect on my experiences this year, especially as they concern my time with ShoutOut!
Who knew I would have had such an awesome experience in a class that I ended up in on a whim? A fellow blogger was listening to my plight as I complained about needing another class, but because I was already at 18 credits it needed to be something on the easier side. Lo and behold she just happened to be working on this thing called ShoutOut! which she informed me was JMU’s feminist blog. My first question was JMU has a feminist blog? Followed by where can I sign up? Next thing I know I’m hanging out with my fellow bloggers and faculty advisers and talking about my experiences with blogging (none) and feminism (socially some). We get introduced to the class and our requirements, one of which is to read a book that deals with feminism and we’ll discuss them together at a later date.
Being the procrastinator that I am I checked out a book about a week before our discussion date, and being even more of a procrastinator starting not actually starting it till two days before the fact. I found myself camped out in the freezing cold waiting for Macklemore tickets and reading this book. Honestly, I am so glad I was exposed to it even in those conditions. A History of U.S. Feminisms by Rory C. Dicker gives a comprehensive overview of what feminism has looked like throughout its history here on U.S. soil. It’s separated by the waves of feminism and discusses all the heavy hitters in the movement while also highlighting those who are well less known, but no less influential. With its interesting factual excerpts and its easy flow the book was enjoyable and easy to get through. More than that, for me, this book was invaluable.
I would say, and have said, that I have always been a feminist in terms of social issues though I haven’t always labeled myself that way the fact remains true. This year my exposure to feminist thought has expanded greatly due to ShoutOut! and my other feminist tinged courses. This resulted in me with vast amounts of knowledge about our current social issues and understandings of specific feminist rhetoricians, but no concrete historical context to place them. This is why Dicker’s book was so beneficial, it allowed me to take what I had learned and place it within the right context and to see the patterns that have traipsed through time to affect us today.
Without the past accomplishments of my feminist predecessors who knows if I would be sitting here writing this right now, I doubt that I would. Being able to see how far we have come is amazing, but it has also showed me how far we have to go. Now I am able to plan for the future because I know the past and this has allowed me to better know myself and my cause. I have grown as a feminist because of my experiences this semester and I can’t wait to see what is next in store!
I would like to give thanks to our advisers Alison Bodkin and Janelle Bauer who have given me this wonderful opportunity of blogging my feminism. My sociology professor Matt Ezzell for having such a great class that helped generate the vast majority of my posts! All my fellow bloggers for making this such an amazing experience the conversations that we have had have been enlightening. A special thank you to ladychaotica21 for reminding me that it’s okay to not be the perfect feminist, no one is going to take my card aware from me for it. Finally, and most importantly, to my readers thank you for engaging, for listening, and for understanding you are all FABULOUS! I can’t wait till hear from you all again next semester!