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Silence, Protests, and Roles

Uninhibited's picture

Girl covering her mouth with her hands

I've been thinking a lot about the connection of silence with oppression, either as an enabler of oppression or a form of protest. The most obvious examples are those of marginalized groups in the US and abroad who have either been oppressed by silence or used it as a method of ending that oppression. I've been relating silence to my own life, however, when thinking about my role within my family. In my family, silence is used as a way to maintain the power dynamics of the "adults" and/or the men. I always say that my experiences at Bryn Mawr are very different than those at home because at Bryn Mawr I have a voice and know that others are interested in what I say. In my own family however, I don't feel as though it is ok for me to contradict a comment my father makes, or to showcase what I've learned because I am a woman and a daughter. I have learned to not only follow the rules of silence within my family because they are our tradition, but as a way to keep the peace, even if it keeps important parts of me hidden from those I care about the most. I very rarely question or disagree with my family members, even now as a college student, mostly because silence to us is synonymous with respect.