I have to admit that coming into this class, I didn’t know what I would learn about. Would I learn about influential females in today’s society? Would I learn about times when even the idea of influential females was unheard of? Not only was I unsure of what I would learn about in Intro to Women’s and Gender Studies, I was unsure of what I thought about gender studies in general. As a female, I value the everyday rights I enjoy that I would not have been able to enjoy in the past. However, I never thought about this in the context of feminism. Here are a few ideas that I appreciate and accept after just one week of learning about feminism and gender studies.
First, after reading a few chapters from Feminism is For Everybody by Bell Hooks, I was completely sold on what the title of the book portrays. An overarching theme was Hooks’ idea that feminism is not about women trying to take power away from men and becoming the dominant gender, it is about creating equality. While some people may see feminism as an effort to tip the scale and create inequality between genders, it really is a way to create equality in everyday life. This theme stuck with me, and I saw it come up in other materials from this unit such as Cristen Conger’s video titled “What has Feminism Accomplished?”. In this video, Cristen Conger argued that feminism efforts are not just about creating better opportunities for females, and men can benefit from more time at home with kids and more choice in how their everyday life plays out in terms of both work and home life. If you asked me before this week if men are important to the study of feminism, I would have said no. However, this week taught me that men are absolutely important to feminism and gender studies.
Second, the materials from the theme “Where is feminism today?” changed my perspective on the current status of feminism and gender studies. Before beginning this course, the earliest fights for women’s rights are what stuck out to me as feminism movements. However, reading through tweets hashtagged #INedFeminism and #IdontNeedFeminism showed me that feminism is still an every day fight today. I think the works of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Margaret Sanger first came to my mind when I thought of feminism movements because those were the movements I learned about in school. However, I now know there is so much power and consistency revolving around feminism movements today. My favorite tweet was posted by Layla Roxford, who said “#INeedFeminism because men think we are just bricks. If we work together we can show men we are the foundation!!!”. I like this tweet because she put exactly what I had learned about men’s role in feminism into a simple, witty thought. I’d love to keep up with these hashtags and other blogs to further understand that feminist movements don’t have to be huge, life changing moments, but can rather be an accumulation of small, present day fights that go on every day.
Although I only listed two main ideas, I could ramble on about what I have learned this week. The fact that just one week in this course changed my perspectives on feminism shows how strongly sound the ideas are. I look forward to challenging my previous ideas and impressions and opening my eyes to the topic of women and gender studies.
Check out these twitter hashtags to follow up on these everyday movements! #AddWomen #everydaysexism #effyourbeautystandards
Conger, Cristen. 2016. “What Has Feminism Accomplished?” Everyday Feminism. (http://everydayfeminism.com/2016/01/what-has-feminism-accomplished/).
hooks, bell. 2000. Feminism is for Everybody. Cambridge: South End Press. (Selections)