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Snow Globe

kjmason's picture
Because of this class, I have developed better writing skills and greater confidence in my writing and my ideas. Reading my first essay from this course, I criticise my own work as “safe” and “fluffy”. My first essay had a lot of descriptions and visuals and not much was said. I painted four blurry pictures of what womanhood was to me, but I’d say that was an honest depiction of “What they taught me”. Coming into this course I hadn’t developed any of my own ideas of womanhood, I had just stored away fuzzy memories of how I had observed it as a child. In writing my final papers I feel particularly free to explore form and enjoy myself.
Because of this class, I can’t stand going to parties at Haverford. There’s this overwhelming amount of anger that I’ve developed towards the way some men treat women, and despite any sort of “social aids” that may be present at the party, it has become increasingly difficult for me to avoid thinking of things in terms of performance of gender and sexuality. 
 Before this class, I came from a place where a woman isn’t shamed by rape unless she talks about it, abuse is a mark of a “strong husband” and any open gay could become another Matthew Shepard, except no one would ever hear about it. My prison. My home. I suppose I always knew it was messed up and I never wanted to assimilate into this culture. 
Because of this class, “not assimilating” doesn’t seem good enough. Just sitting there listening to the word “fag” and “gay” be thrown around as insult doesn’t work for me. I don’t feel like I’m okay not saying something when this happens. I feel so angry and devastated and filled with pity when this happens that I have to say something. Even though I know I’ll probably “suffer the wrath” of these giant homophobes, and I actively want to avoid conflict as part of the way I was raised, I can’t stop myself.
Because of this class, I cut my hair during this semester. I thought about it and I really don’t like having long hair. I just had it because “guys thought it was pretty”. Upon returning home on break, one of my friends looked at me and said, “You look like one of those gay people.” When I said, “So?” she got very uncomfortable and suddenly felt unwell and we weren’t going to see the movie we planned to anymore. I wish I cared more to be honest. I’m not cold or unfeeling, but I can’t want to be around people who can be so closed to the world.
Because of this class, I am very critical of the many things I see every day in myself and other people. I consciously find myself trying to avoid being too gender-normative in my dress and my body language and I take notice when someone seems to present herself as a gendered stereotype. I notice how women speak in class compared to the men in my classes. “Um well I think that this could possibly be the solution but…” vs. “X squared to the 21st power minus 10x cubed all over 433,000”. I realize I just generalized big time, but I honestly sit there in my calculus class wanting to grab these girls by the shoulders and shake them till they assert themselves with the confidence their intelligence merits regardless of gendered learning.  
Because of this class, I have a really strong hope for the world my children will grow up in. I pray that every school develops Gender and Sexuality studies by the secondary level and that gay couples can marry and adopt as easily as straight couples. I have so much energy jolting from my mind to my veins, muscles and tendons for making this world happen.
Because of this class I look at Crip Art regularly. I have a consciousness about my “stares” and “trying to make sense of broken bodies” when I see a person who is visibly disabled. Furthermore, I have particular sensitivity to people with invisible disability. I had missed some class due to my concussion, so when we visited disability in class, though everyone else had heard Kristin tell about her struggle with her health, but I hadn’t. So when she mentioned it in class I felt like a truck hit me. Wait, my professor has a type of disability and I had no clue? The idea that I couldn’t see the disability was striking and has really stuck with me and taught me a lot about how we all “see” the world but rarely go deeper with things.

In summary, this course has made me a confident writer, a frustrated, antisocial, feminist woman, a gender-queer, aware of the invisibility of diversity in all forms. I’m certainly not nearly as content with the world as I used to be. Going anywhere social is frustrating anymore, going home to my suffocation chamber is torture and I don’t always believe only what I can see anymore. I don’t know how, with all this sounding a bit negative, but I’m happier. I guess it’s knowing there are people who think like me and want what I want for the world. There is something refreshing about taking all that you knew, putting it in a snow-globe with Kristin, Anne and a classroom of brilliant young minds and shaking the hell out of it.