As my college career comes to an end, so do my blog posts for ShoutOut!JMU. I would like to thank the academy, my mom, my manager, my kindergarten teacher….
But in all seriousness I am thankful for this opportunity. So for my very last post, I would like to go over some things I have learned, and some things I am thankful for.
Not all women are feminists
Are you surprised that this is something I did not already know? Yeah me too, but I was very surprised. I was shocked that not all people (minorities, women, children, homosexuals, heterosexuals, etc) believe that they deserve to be treated equal. I was angered that there are some women who will say ‘I believe that women and men are equal’ and ‘I am not a feminist’, all in the same sentence. I wanted to shake these women more than I wanted to shake the women who were too ignorant to realize that they were as valuable as the man they aligned themselves with. Above all else, I was shocked to have learned that in a ‘progressive’ country such as the United States, we are still so backwards.
Gender Roles are EVERYWHERE
And I mean everywhere. It was as though I was learning a new language and every time I heard one I knew I became so excited and wanted to scream ‘oh I know that one! I know what that means!’. I would go out with my friends and they would say, ‘oh my gosh you’re such an old man with your whiskey drink’ and I would want to scream ‘WHAT MAKES WHISKEY MANLY?’. Or they would say ‘oh you have a black iPhone and not a white one? I don’t know a lot of girls with black iPhones’, and I would suppress the urge to shout, ‘When did black become a man color and white become a woman color?!! THEY ARE NEUTRAL COLORS!!!’. What was so enraging to me was how long I had gone without noticing these things. I would say things like ‘that’s my inner man coming out’, or ‘god, I’m such a guy’. But I never questioned, what makes my aggression manly? What makes my honesty manly?
I am in over my head
As time passed and I realized how many times we separated men and women and how many times women were put second best, I didn’t know how to address all the discrimination. I couldn’t interrupt every conversation, ‘Hey! That’s sexist!’ and I couldn’t shut off the T.V, not listen to my favorite music, and not participate in social activities. I then realized I had to pick and choose my battles. I had to first change my own state of mind, because I realized that a lot of the injustices were happening in my own mind! I would say things, do things and think things that I would then second-guess and say ‘hey wait…’. I love rap & hip-hop, and watching reality television and watching comedies and action & adventure movies. But all these things were so jam-packed with misogynist messages. I was having an identity crises – ‘who am I?! What do I believe in?!’. Until I realized, hey wait – these things that I enjoy from time to time are jam-packed with misogynist messages! Aka I can recognize when something is wrong, and that’s the first step. I don’t have to change everything about lifestyle, I just have to recognize and try to educate myself about these things that in the long run may be harmful to me (aka I apparently have an addiction and I was practicing the 12 steps….).
But I am thankful
Mostly what I learned over this experience was that I was grateful. I was grateful to have received this opportunity. I was grateful to have been raised in an area and family that supported my individualism and my headstrong will that gave me my foundation as a feminist. I was grateful to live in a country that gave me a venue to research and learn more about such a topic. And lastly I was grateful to have met other people that taught me it was okay to be a feminist and still be a girly diva.