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Blog #11

I went into this semester having taken no other GWSS class before and only knowing what the media has taught me about feminism. I learned that the media gives a very skewed vision of what feminism actually is. It is not a movement of man-hating like I was taught to believe. The feminist movement is about acceptance and freedom of choice; about ending sexism, racism, classism, and any other -ism that brings people down; about not judging people for the way they choose to live their lives. The class was a very good place to learn about feminism because of the atmosphere that was promoted. I felt like anyone could speak their mind and give their twist on what we were talking about, without having to worry about what other people would think. The debating was also influential because it helped you to really think about the issue and delve into it instead of just skimming the surface. I don't think that any particular reading stuck out as my favorite, but they all contributed to the class and I don't remember any that I did not like. The advice that I would give anyone taking this class in the future is to be open to other ways of thinking.

Comments

After reading this post, I couldn't help but think of myself in the same position. I, too, enrolled in this course as a first time GWSS class. Boy, was I in for a surprise. I had no idea the passion behind feminism and the powerful influence that it is capable of. I realized that feminism is not what I had previously believed it to be. A feminist's main goal is not to degrade men simply based on their gender. A feminist's goal is a part of the movement to end various forms of oppression by promoting choice and acceptance of all people regardless of their race, gender, sexual orientation, etc. I discovered this idea of feminism through the class discussions and the various readings throughout the semester. I found the majority of the readings to be interesting and engaging, but the articles that were the most effective for me were the ones that included personal experience of the authors. I found that those stories seemed to portray the severity, or lack of, better than the readings that were more "straight out of the book".
My advice for next time: continue to include all of the students, regardless of their feminist knowledge. I think that students on all levels of feminist knowledge have thoughts and ideas that successfully contribute to class discussion. I thought that my classmates did a wonderful job of including students like us who had never taken a GWSS course. Hopefully, your next class will be equally generous and understanding.

I agree that the atmosphere of the class was really accepting, and that's what made the class a success. As a GWSS major, and someone who's considered herself a (pretty hardcore) feminist for several years, it was really good for me to be in a class with other people who might not have felt the same way. I really had to question a lot of things that I thought were common sense. You might even say that some of my most treasured values were contested. Speaking of Butler, my favorite readings were the ones that were not at all like her; I liked the Eirenreich and the Barton the most, because they were so easy to read, and really made sense to me. I also really enjoyed that the class looked a bit deeper at feminist debates than usually happens (sex work as empowering/degrading, pro-life/pro-choice) and showed how those debates are really oversimplified. As for what can be done in future classes: I wish there was some way to convey that feminism should be available to all women, not just those who read and understand Butler (because I'm not even one of those women). I'm not sure how to incorporate that into a college class...maybe it's the wrong setting).

This was also my first GWSS course. I still had a liberal education requirement left to fill and when I looked up courses that fit the requirement, this was one of the many that popped up. I have a friend who is a GWSS major and she really enjoys it so I thought I would give this class a try. I agree with you in saying that media gives a very skewed vision of what feminism actually is. The only glimpse of “feminism” (or what I thought was feminism) that I had ever seen was through the media. However, this class showed me that media portrayals are usually not correct. In writing my first paper, I was able to come up with my own definition of feminism. My definition was in congruence with your statement that the feminist movement is about acceptance and freedom of choice. The readings that we were exposed to helped to broaden our definitions and change any preconceived notions that we had when entering the class. I felt the same as you regarding the classroom environment. It was a very free place where anyone could express his or her beliefs. Everyone was respectful and allowed for differing views and beliefs to enter into our discussions. I would advise people not to enter this class with preconceived notions, but I don’t want to. The fact that I came in with preconceived notions, I think, further deepened my understanding of what the feminist movement REALLY is. I truly enjoyed taking this class and I would recommend it for anyone in the future.

I am one of the many who share an experience similar to belde024's: I came into this class with a view of feminism that had been spoon - fed to me by other people who didn't know much about it and the media. So, when I first started the readings I definitely got a shock. It's not that feminism is this one simple thing where the goal is to hate men: it's a complex idea formed by diverse women and men. I don't know if I could pick a favorite reading, but I could definitely pick a favorite topic: the sex wars theme. Before we discussed this topic, I mostly just thought of the sex industry as bad, but now I am more aware of the social faults that cause it to happen, how to some people it's not even a bad thing, and who it affects. Even though I have never been exposed that lifestyle, the information I learned bridged a gap, and that's the way it's been the whole semester. If I had to give advice to anyone taking this class the next semester it would be to start early on everything! Whether it be the readings or projects or anything, it takes some time to read the assignments and then reflect on it so that your answers come out coherent; it's a lot to think about.

I definitely agree with what is being said here. This was also my first GWSS class, and I really enjoyed it. Coming in to the class, I also only knew what the media had told me about feminism. The biggest surprise for me when I started the class was the fact that there were many different views within feminism, since I had always been taught that feminism was something static and unchanging.
In regards to a favorite reading, I didn’t have one. What I did love though was the fact that each article we read made so much sense in context of what we were talking about, and they fit together so well to really portray all sides of an issue.
The last thing I wanted to bring up was the environment, which it seems like everyone else has done so far. The atmosphere in class was so great, because I felt open and encouraged to express my own views on an issue. I think it was known that a lot of the people had very strong views on the issues we discussed, whether in one direction or another, and I think that speaks volumes about how much we were all able to understand that and still carry on some great and respectful conversations in class.