Tuesday, December 9, 2008

What I Have Learned...

I will admit that on the first day of class I am very excited to be there, but at the same time I was anxious to see what was awaiting me. Never before had I been exposed to feminism. I come from a white middle-upper class suburb in Missouri, and feminism was just something that wasn't around...

For me, this class has provided an invaluable foundation. I feel as though I now have the tools I need to critically analyze my surroundings and draw meaningful conclusions. Prior to this class I think my identity was something I was comfortable with but probably not confident with. After covering all that we did in the class I do feel confident with myself and feel like I have so much more to contribute to other aspects of my life whether it be my personal, academic, private life, etc.

I now have an understanding of why things are the way they are in our society and why it is that things stay that way and how it is that things can come to change. I have come to appreciate how it is that we can take theory we learn from books, i.e. Butler's work on gender and apply it to a media form like drag show like Dykes Do Drag and make connections: PRAXIS. At first I struggled with grasping onto the idea of praxis and what it does, why it's important. However, now I feel comfortable with it and am discovering ways it comes into play everyday in my life.

I am also very appreciative of the media-heavy focus this class had. At first I thought having all of the media incorporated into the class was just a cool way that Rachel liked to teach, but of course now I understand how it is that media is everywhere, all the time, and is always working to promote some agenda. I truly believe everyone should be equipped with the skills I now have in order to receive, analyze, and make accurate interpretations of media. This is becasue media informs us as a society on so many levels - beauty ideals for women and men, the imbuing of capitalism/consumerism, etc.

I also discovered new outlets through which people can express themselves. I thought Maria Isa was very inspiring. She came in and told it like it is and showed us how it is that she does what she loves while also sticking to her beliefs and advocating for those things.

I was also blown away Rosa Clemente when she came and talked to us at the capitol when the RNC was going down. I just remember thinking to myself how off the charts she was, and how everything she had to say was way interesting and insightful. She really got me started off thinking about a lot of things that I would never have thought to check out. I think that is big part of this class too...being exposed to things that you don't know anything about, and maybe are even a little uncomfortable with and just diving in and going with the flow to see where it takes you. One of the things I wasn't sure about was the location exercise. That was something real and very personal that I did that I was nervous about but very glad that I decided to do afterwards.

I also feel like I have a much better grasp on the ideals behind social justice and social service. If you would have asked me a year ago about the topic I would have said, "Yeah, that's nice, umm cool, help somebody out." I don't know, I just never realized just what all goes into non-profits and 401(c)(3)'s and how they function.

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