Going into my first semester as a ShoutOut! blogger, I was hesitant and excited. I was excited to see meet feminists with the same thoughts and perspectives. But I was hesitant to encounter the ‘know-it-all’ feminist. In my opinion, a know-it-all feminist is an individual that is not open to hearing other perspectives. Also, they essentially think they know it all. Going into this process, I wanted to learn but not preached to.
The stigma of feminist includes a nag that claims to be knowledgable while disregarding any opinions. But I could not be anymore wrong about the group of individuals I joined. Going into this group, I never expected to gain as much perspective as I did. But most importantly, I bonded with individuals on a political and personal level. I did not know this was possible.
Below is WanderingOtter and I with the incredible, Janet Mock:
I expected to come into an environment full of individuals that wanted to state their opinion rather than learn from each other. I have learned more from my fellow ShoutOut-ers than I could have imagined. The amazing lessons I have learned:
- It is easier to say “no” than “yes” — It is easy to say “no” to opportunities because they may not fit into your “life plan” or make you uncomfortable. I have learned that being uncomfortable enables growth.
- Being an activist is not as intimidating as it seems. When we (few bloggers including myself) went to the National Young Feminist Leadership Conference, we met individuals like us. People that fangirled over women leaders and up for consciousness raising conversations. They were human and simply trying to bring awareness like us. The conference taught me to take the label without hesitancy.
- Open yourself to new viewpoints. Challenge yourself to explore areas you are not familiar with. The conversations that challenged my perspective or even opened my perspective made me a better ally, feminist and citizen.
- Oppression is not isolated to your community. It may seem like an obvious notion but living with mentality is another challenge. At the same conference, there was a lot of discussion about jumping scale and addressing issues on international scale. The privilege enabled in a developed community disables our ability to see the needs and issues in developing countries.
- Conversations with others can teach you more about yourself than you may think. Your willingness to learn and actively converse will teach you something about yourself. Being in ShoutOut!, I learned that you can be inspired by everyone. I can talk to any of my fellow ShoutOut-ers and get advice on my posts or even guidance in general.
Below is a picture of a few of us at the conference:
My experience with ShoutOut! was the best decision that I made. They raised my consciousness and inspired me to look at different perspectives. Also, these individuals taught me to help others along the way. The journey and challenge of changing a patriarchal society takes multiple voices and perspectives, not just one.