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Finding myself a home

Maya's picture

When I first stepped onto Bryn Mawr’s campus in August I knew that at that moment I stepped into a different world than the one I left behind ten hours ago in North Carolina. The conversations I participated in this class certainly demonstrated this fact. I considered myself a feminist in high school because I was one of the only ones to stand up to people who said sexist comments. But, in the discussions in this class I found myself woefully uneducated on feminism in general. I found that many of my classmates seemed to have more knowledge about this subject and I think that is why I stayed silent in the beginning. I did not know what to say to some of your questions because I had never encountered or had to ask myself those questions before. I think that I was able to answer some of your questions for you, and for myself, more fully on Serendip, which after we talked, became a way for me to figure out my thoughts that I had not been able to articulate in class. As the class continued, however, I think that I did talk in class more. I certainly was not one of the most talkative people in class, but I felt like I was able to contribute. I also thought that I was able to articulate myself better in small groups than in the big group. Because we sometimes just worked in small groups I think that my voice came out more and I was able to think through my thoughts more.

I turned in all of my assignments on time, until, of course I got my concussion, but I think that I would have a hard time with queering or cripping time. I am a very time-oriented person and I have a hard time with lateness. I am the kind of person who gets things done a week in advance because I hate doing assignments last minute. My concussion effected this class more than the others since it is a discussion-based class and I wish I could have participated in more of the discussions. However, I think that this concussion also helped me slow down and take a breath, which I was struggling to do and which this class was attempting to teach me to do. Even with this concussion I made myself a schedule that I attempted to stick to so that I would get assignments done “on time”. However, I think that cripping or queering time in general, not following the “typical’ path of life is something that I will do. So far I have not queered time. I have gone straight from high school to college, but I think that the rest of my life I will queer time because, first of all, I do not plan on getting married right after college. Also, because I have two moms I think that, maybe, I have already queered time.

I thought that one interesting reading that really stretched me and made me really question what I thought about gender was when we talked about women’s colleges and how right now we do not allow transwomen in as well as the implications of having a transman on campus. I had never thought about that before and I am glad that this class brought up that subject. I think that the New Gender Workbook was interesting as well since it was the first book we read, it certainly opened up my mind to transgendered identity. I thought it was a good book to start with because it began the conversation and was a good background for people who had never thought about transgendered identity before. I really connected to Eli Clare’s book Exile and Pride because he lost his home. He left his town and realized that his exile of losing the place he had actually called home, the trees, mountains and river was harder than losing his physical home. His knowledge that he had to leave because he would never be fully accepted there was hard on him and I connected with that because I had just left North Carolina, a place that I had just realized, does not accept my family. His old town, he described as having a don’t ask, don’t tell attitude which was very similar to my high school. However, his story helped me realize that it was okay to let go. The anti-self portrait project also helped me figure out where I stand as a person and where I stand with feminism. I loved it. I think through that project I realized that by figuring out where I stand with feminism will also help me figure out and become more confident with who I am as a person. It also made me look more at how I perform for others and how I am different in different settings. I became more aware of how I act around people. I also liked Rose Marie Garland-Thompson’s Re-shaping; Re-thinking; Redefining: Feminist Disability Studies because it helped me figure out the interesting relationship between feminism and ableism. I had never thought about the idea that disabled women are sometimes denied the opportunity of having kids whereas feminists are fighting against women only focusing on having kids because they do not want that to be seen as the only thing women are good for. There is also this idea that pro-choice, which is a major part of feminism means that some of the disabled women would have been terminated before they were born. How people deal with these conflicting ideas is fascinating to me.

One question I am still struggling with is ecofeminism. I attempted to understand more fully when Piper’s group presented on it and I began to understand it slightly more, but I think that I will have to considerate it more before I can figure out if I agree with it or not. This class taught me not just about feminism, but it also taught me to question a lot more and to become more confident in myself. Thank you for a wonderful first semester and for helping me understand the world and myself more.