Yara Alhusari Women Gender Studies
Professor Hilarie Ashton Brooklyn College
I learned and obtained new knowledge and skills all due to taking this Women Gender Studies course. As a woman, I felt the need to not express my opinions, thoughts, or ideas out of fear of being shamed for having such ideas, but this class taught me that my emotions and opinions are valid and should be expressed without feeling like I am humiliating myself. This class taught me that gender is a social construct, The idea of being masculine or feminine is quite literally whatever you want it to be. You can express yourself and however, you feel and you don’t need to label yourself or feel the need to explain your sexuality to anybody. The biggest part of this class that stuck with me the most is how inclusive it was to all women, we focus a lot on the difference between white feminism and inclusive feminism and how it is so important to be inclusive. We learned about the history of black trans women and just women in general who made such a difference in our country. We were able to watch documentaries and hear the stories of women in our history who fought for our rights, and who fought to diminish these gender stereotypes that were bestowed upon us by men. I was also able to learn a lot from my peers who shared their own experiences and ideas about what we face in this world and they would mention things that honestly I would not even realize were happening. I found it so intriguing when my peers would share things about our society that I just let slip by as if it was not a big deal even though all these little things add up together and make misogyny and homophobia incredibly prevalent in our society.
My experience doing the public writing for the blog post portion of our class taught me a lot about what I am most passionate about. I mainly focused on what religion says about being gay. I always find myself so passionate about this topic because I have looked into religions and wanted to see if there is any that excepted the LGBTQ plus community. I also realized a lot of religions changed their books to fit more into western ideas and culture in a part of that is excepting the LGBTQ plus community. I learn I am passionate about how culture and religion play a role in a woman’s rights and sexuality because it seems to have a great impact on the way society treats women and people who are not straight. I came from a culture where being gay and being a woman means that you were less worthy. We were deemed as weak and vulnerable in my whole life this is something that bothered me so much. I hated the idea that all I was meant to do in my life what’s bear children and be a mother and a good submissive wife. Even though that’s all I’ve known it never felt right to me I felt like there was so much more to me than to depend on another person and basically be a servant to them. I felt as though in my blog posts paper I focused on history because history has a lot to do with how things are in the present day whether things have improved or have gotten worse. History has shaped our modern world and religion, as well as culture, has a huge impact on the way society treats or deems people part of the LGBTQ plus community as well as women in general. but also has bothered me was how a lot of people used religion to justify their homophobia as well as transphobia so that was one of the biggest drives I had into uncovering what different religions have to say about being gay. I think no matter what religion believe in you should have empathy and respect for other people. No merciful God would ever condone violence against any of his creations.
The group project was probably my favorite part of the entire semester. I was able to learn a lot from my peers and even learn a lot about myself. It is amazing to be able to feed off other people’s ideas and look at things from a different perspective because everyone feels comfortable enough to share their opinions and their thoughts on the topic. my group primarily focused on Reproductive Justice and that is so important to me especially in today’s society where we are letting history repeat itself and states like Texas are banning abortions. One thing I did not know about was the history of Reproductive Justice all I knew was that when abortion was illegal women used to die trying to abort the baby themselves. When I saw that abortion started back in the time of Ancient Egypt and Greece I was in such shock because everything in today’s society came from somewhere there was always a beginning to something. You can go in so many different directions when discussing Reproductive Justice and breaking it down to one Factor was incredibly difficult but I felt that my group did an amazing job at taking a portion and tackling it from every aspect in terms of the history of abortions, how abortions affect people of color, abortion social media, abortions in film, and have to access an abortion. I also loved listening to other people’s presentations in terms of gender stereotypes, queer parenting, and all the other amazing presentations I got to listen to I was able to relate to so many societal norms and gender stereotypes that are targeted at women that made me so much more intrigued in these presentations because we are all able to relate to at least one thing that is mentioned by a group. my group is so incredibly knowledgeable about abortions and having discussions with them was so eye-opening because I was able to learn so much from all of them. When everyone knows something and they come together to discuss it you got to learn from other people and spread that knowledge and it is important knowledge because this is something that should be discussed and made aware of because of how bad of a problem it has become that we are going backward. Finalizing my group presentation I honestly got a little bit scared because of how we are implementing religion into law which was the complete opposite of the basis that America was founded on. I am so glad I took this class because now I am the most vocal I’ve ever been tired in my life and I am so excited to share everything I learned with other people in hopes that they will also spread knowledge and make people aware of how important women gender studies are.
Thank you for these thoughts! Your point about the inclusiveness of the course for all women (and other minoritized genders) is exactly what I was going for. And although you don’t really toot your own horn here, your presence and thoughts in class discussion really contributed so much to that dynamic! (The kitten was a bonus 🙂
And I am so glad that doing your blog post taught you so much and made you think so deeply about power dynamics in culture. Your points about history are particularly salient — you are so right that it “has shaped our modern world and religion, as well as culture, has a huge impact on the way society treats or deems people part of the LGBTQ plus community as well as women in general.”
I am also so glad that the group project was so instructive and useful. (From the warm and thorough way your group presented, I was pretty sure you’d say that.) I particularly like this observation of yours: “my group is so incredibly knowledgeable about abortions and having discussions with them was so eye-opening because I was able to learn so much from all of them. When everyone knows something and they come together to discuss it you got to learn from other people.” That’s exactly what I hope for when I assign group work! And this last sentence made me tear up a bit: “I am so excited to share everything I learned with other people in hopes that they will also spread knowledge and make people aware of how important women gender studies are.” This is exactly what teachers hope students will do! I think you’re a great advocate for gender equity and the people who receive this knowledge from you will be lucky to learn!
Take good care, and keep in touch.