As a stranger to the unfamiliar topic of women and gender studies, I found it quite refreshing to understand and relate to the readings that were posted this week. As soon as I started reading Feminism is for Everyone by Bell Hooks, I was instantly reminded of similar, almost word-for-word, ignorant remarks I have heard personally regarding feminism as a negative topic (Hooks, 2000, p.vii). On page vii, Hooks emphasized the word “they” in order to show the stereotypes that the masses tend to place feminists in. This emphasis made me realize how often I have heard the exact phrases: “’they’ want to go against nature—and God” and “’they’ hate men” (Hooks, 2000, p.vii). Unlike Hook, I never know how to respond to these types of remarks. I always have a gut feeling that the remarks are simply ignorant with no substance backing them up, but I never confront or correct the person making the remark, because (up until taking this course) I never really had any relevant information to back up my claim. I would have sounded just as ignorant as the people making the remarks, even though I knew deep down that the remarks were probably the result of unaware, ill-informed individuals. I am hoping that even just after reading the introduction and three chapters of Feminism is for Everyone, I will now be able to formulate educated, well-informed responses to similar situations that will surely appear in the foreseeable future.
I was also a bit surprised and happy to find myself understanding and keeping up with the fast-paced videos that were posted this week. In particular, the video, Why Am I a Feminist really caught my attention, as I found myself relating to a lot of Laci Green’s experiences and thoughts (Green, 2014). One specific reason as to why she is a feminist that I could relate to was when she said, “I was told the first time I had sex would be painful and bloody; I was terrified” (Green, 2014). I remember thinking as a preteen, “Why is sex supposed to hurt for girls and not for boys?” I now realize that I was totally misled and given false information as a preteen.
One common theme I am noticing in the field of women and gender studies (or at least the videos and readings provided for this class) is the strive for awareness. I love seeing people so passionate about getting the information out there. I know that other fields include awareness videos and informative speeches, but I am getting a different sense of urgency and determination to educate as many people as possible. The video, What Has Feminism Accomplished is a prime example of just one individual’s willpower to enlighten the misinformed public. Cristen Conger mentions a several facts and statistics in the video that I was previously unaware of: “In 2014, 37 percent of women were the breadwinners in their households,” many states have passed laws banning revenge porn, and Canada removed the federal tax on menstrual hygiene products (Conger, 2016).
Cargen, Cristen. “What Has Feminism Accomplished?” 2016. Web. 27 May 2016.
Green, Laci. “WHY I’M A…FEMINIST *gasp*.” YouTube. YouTube, 2014. Web. 27 May 2016.
Hooks, Bell. Feminism Is for Everybody: Passionate Politics. Cambridge, MA: South End, 2000. Print.