To start off I want to admit that I was beyond confident, almost to an arrogant degree, that I had a firm grasp of what it means to be a woman. I was certain that I knew everything (well mostly everything) about what being a woman entails. I felt that especially as a Black woman that my experiences with both race and gender were enough to make me knowledgeable about the world and how I and women like me move throughout it. Seeing that Angela Davis was one of the required readings also gave me enough confidence to know that in this class my experience would be considered and intertwined into the makings of the course and that I would feel included in the dialogue. Learning about the different waves of feminism, seemingly clued me into a new unfound world of liberal and progressive female movements that I didn’t even know existed. Thinking back over the course of the semester, what I didn’t realize is that in this class I would learn and discover that as a woman, regardless of how you identify, all of our experiences are unique as well as important. There is no single way to live as a woman nor is it possible to sum the female experience into one monolith dialogue.
First off, I have to admit that I really enjoyed writing my blog post. While writing my post I took a personal risk and stepped out of my comfort zone. Typically, I focus on writing things that I feel like that I can connect to on a personal level, and as someone that is CIS and straight, writing about LGBTQ+ representation in the media wasn’t something that I felt like I could do effectively. However, this changed after watching the YouTube video on trans representation. While watching the video, the issues and topics that they discussed resonated with me in a way that I couldn’t have imagined. Out of all the readings and videos (even from my Idol Angela Davis), I feel like I took the most from that video. Even as someone who isn’t trans, I can understand why trans people would want to see themselves represented in more progressive and healthier ways. As a small yet growing group in our society, trans people are often stigmatized in the same ways of other minority groups. It is easy for people to fear-monger or promote negative assumptions about a group they aren’t familiar with, and this often has detrimental effects on these groups. When thinking about LGBTQ+ representation (specifically trans representation) I am reminded of how important it is to have allies both in and outside of our social groups that can help uplift and promote healthy and productive discourse on new ways to engage with these types of issues. Being able to publish my post to the blog is a way of helping to facilitate this discussion and ensure that more people, regardless of if they’re LGBTQ+ or not, see and hear the issues that impact the community.
In addition to the blog post, I also had a huge takeaway from the group project. When researching and learning about reproductive justice and abortion, I was shocked to learn about some of the lesser-known issues that relate to abortion. When breaking down abortion by race, I was surprised to learn that abortion laws have a greater impact on women of color. Oftentimes, when abortion and abortion laws are mentioned on the news details like this are left out. Something that I found particularly troubling about this is that when people take a pro-life stance, they are severely undereducated about the details and circumstances that surround abortion, and this makes the discourse on abortion seem even more troubling. I’ve come to some personal conclusions on the matter and one of the more grating ones is that abortion is seen more as a political topic than it is a women’s health topic and ultimately this has a negative impact on all women in the present as well as the future. By adding my research to the group project, I supplemented my group’s overall take on the other social issues that impact abortion like racism and the need for abortion to be depicted in more accurate ways in the media. When the true stats behind abortion and restrictive abortion laws are so distressing and impactful, it is important for reproductive justice to be taken seriously and more fairly by the government.
Furthermore, I sincerely enjoyed the readings and other components of the class. Seeing the gender texts that other classmates brought in exposed me to new viewpoints and encouraged me to look up other content that surrounds feminists and gender discussions on the internet. I found myself engaging more with this type of content on the internet and learning from it. One of my favorite things about the class was that it was a safe space for us to share and learn new things from each other in combination with the coursework. Coming to class and being able to hear about how different students interpreted the readings and other media assigned was enlightening and I feel as though I learned valuable information that I will be able to utilize in the present as well as the future. This was my first time learning about trans experiences as well as learning further information about women’s movements and the deep history behind these things that isn’t known to most people. While we did learn a lot in this class over the course of the semester, most of it felt engaging to me on a personal note. Using the class site to submit work and view the work of my peers made me feel like I was a part of a community and not another student on a roster. Rarely can I say that a class invoked this kind of feeling in me and will cherish this learning experience in my future college endeavors.