Breaking the Surface of Feminism

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Walking into Sandra McEvoy’s Introduction to Feminist Theories the first day of class, I was confident in my knowledge of the feminist movement. I was well versed in the different type of feminists and knew exactly where I fit in on the spectrum of feminism.  I believed that much of women’s oppression could be owed to capitalism, and the huge profits inextricably tied to keeping women in their place.  I knew the origins of the patriarchy, and had my ideas on how I thought it could be dismantled.  But even with all of my prior understanding, I was hardly even breaking the surface of feminism. This class has flipped all of my notions of feminism upside down.  It has challenged me, educated me, and certainly changed me for the better. I am still a feminist, but now I have a much greater understanding of the weight that word carries, and the women and men who strived to rocket the word into popular vernacular. I know the responsibility I carry by declaring myself a feminist and the promise I make to all oppressed people through this declaration. Calling myself a feminist is a call to action, not simply a way for me to define myself at a party.

This class has also helped me realize how the specific location I hold in society as a lower middle-class, straight, cisgender, American, English-speaking, white woman impacts the way I interpret the world and my viewpoints as a feminist. It is has taught me that before I speak, I must take these different identities into consideration, and that I must give thought to the identities being expressed and the identities being silenced in the media and in American policy. Feminist Theories has completely transformed my understanding of the world around me, has made me rethink such important institutions as motherhood and marriage. It has made me aware of the privileges I hold within the feminist movement, and the oppression that still causes me to apologize incessantly. This class gives me pride as a woman, and I feel grateful to be able to call my feminist and really mean it.

 

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Emily Hart is a double majoring in American Studies and Political Science and Global Studies. She is from  Gainesville, FL.