December 14, 2008

Final Blog

In the beginning of this semester I was frustrated with this course material. The theories were too broad for me because I was only applying them to my own plus-four life. I was in no means trying to be ignorant, and I thought of myself as always being an open-minded person. I grew up in Northeast Minneapolis and I lived amongst largely diverse people, however I never thought that these other people’s lives could be so dramatically different from mine. My neighbors had different philosophies, different limitations, and different knowledge than my family. So when I heard these theories, I believed that they were false and over exaggerated. Concepts like Richardson’s idea of performing gender seemed as though theorists were looking too far into everyday life and over analyzing it, however, this performance of gender explains many situations because it is how our society works. Frye’s piece on Oppression seemed way over exaggerated and completely out of line. However, as the semester moved on and we explored the idea of a +5 lifestyle it was clear to me that I live a VERY privileged life. The course was not about me, however about humanity in general. Wow, what a wake up call. I kind of feel like slapping myself for thinking that way. There is a certain lens that you have to look though to completely understand where these theories are coming from (rose-tinted? Heh...). The course seemed to unite women from all walks of life, recognizing that we all have struggles, from trying to find your place in society as a homosexual, to trying to find the balance of gender roles in family life, to fighting for fair maternity laws, to dealing with domestic violence within a marriage. I know this is going to sound corny and I am sorry that I could not spare you, however this has been quite a journey for me. I have met some of the most intellectual women within those classroom walls. Thank you so much.

Last Blog

I am realizing after having this class that I am so much more perceptive about gender relationships in my life than I was before. It’s empowering because I feel more confidant about myself, but it’s also kind of depressing because I realize so much more how oppressive it can be to be a woman in patriarchy! I work in a bar as well, so I am more aware of the gender and sexual politics that are everywhere in that sort of space! I think what is best in my situation, as a female 23 year-old college student is to be aware of this dynamic in society, and be ready to gently challenge the “normative? views people have of each gender and the expectations we have for ourselves and each other as gender-performing individuals. I have already been able to do this a bit where I work, just by making people explain what they mean and where their ideas come from after they make a mocking or derogatory comment about women. I have thought of Johnson’s view, particularly when I am at work, of taking accountability for our actions and beliefs in a gendered society and making sure others do the same. I also think Audre Lorde’s tactics of looking at differences as useful perspectives for understanding gender in different situations and social spaces, and using differences (especially ones that overlap as in her situation) to break down the dualisms that are still so prevalent in our patriarchal society are concepts that are very applicable to my everyday life. Her ideas are a way of being more open-minded and a way of thinking more critically before passing judgment. Overall, I think knowledge is power, and the more we educate ourselves on issues involving women, gender and sexuality, the more power we have to, even in a small way, change the way others think about gender. From here, we have the power to change people’s actions, and hopefully provide a more accepting environment for everyone.