Personal Reflection – Shannon Dyett
First and foremost, I’d like to thank Ms. Ashton for being an amazing and understanding teacher throughout the semester. Your kindness to me was really great and you’re the main reason I didn’t mind having a Thursday class from 5:05 p.m. to 7:50 p.m. I’d be lying if I mentioned that I wasn’t skeptical at first when I started taking this class mainly because discovering that this class supported the LGBTQA+ community and the students either supported or took part in that community as well made me feel a certain way. Growing up, I always had two parents that weren’t homophobic but didn’t want their two only daughters being lesbians, since my dad had a slight problem with gays and my mom had a slight problem with lesbians. The thing was that my dad, since he had two daughters and not two sons, didn’t care if we liked women or not, he just wanted us to explore our options with men before trying to be with a woman. So, to be apart of a class that had no problems with gays, lesbians or any other type of sexuality made me feel awkward and slightly uncomfortable because in my mind it’s either being straight or nothing, knowing that I myself was and still is Bisexual.
This class taught me a tremendous amount, especially when it came to the gay community because before I knew only about a couple sexualities such as gay, lesbian, trans, bisexual and recently I learned about queer. But, learning about all the other sexualities especially after doing my project made my mind open up to a million things and to learn all this information was phenomenal. When I first started the class I was a bit lost with what the class was supposed to be about so when we started with the two books in the beginning of the semester I felt overwhelmed. Overtime though I got the hang of school in general and when I started to learn what the class meant I got a excited knowing that it’ll be fun to voice our opinions and speak our minds about topics that someone like myself can’t speak on everyday such as why I call myself a bisexual person and the type of people I like. I loved that the blog post we had to do for class could have contained any topic of our choice. It just had to be about what the class stood for, that’s why I chose women getting abused by their husbands. Since the class name is Women’s Studies it felt right just writing about how women with abusive relationships or marriages get treated and just saying what their partners do and say when they first start off the abuse to what happens later down the line was amusing for me considering my passion for writing in general.
Writing my blog post made me feel a thrill of wonder, especially when my fellow classmates read it and they were able to tell me parts that I wrote that they loved so much. What made me feel even better is that those same parts were parts that I shocked myself by writing. One part in particular that most loved including myself was the part when I said “that will turn the husband’s verbal abuse into physical abuse to the point where it will no longer be a marriage for the both of them where they love each other dearly till death do them part, it will end up being miss treatment for her till death do her part.” Writing my blog post “The Role(s) of Marriage” felt incredible, I remember not even knowing where to start but the minute I started to write I just couldn’t stop. Writing on the regular for me is fun and easy that’s why I appreciated Ms. Ashton saying we can write about whatever just keep the topic about women. What I learned from my blog post was nothing new but it just made me more aware of what I can expect from a man and it taught me to know that not all men are as sweet and kind as I’d expect them to be.
Doing my queer parenting project with the help of Laneice was so fascinating mainly because it felt so good to do a project for once where I learn so much information I didn’t know before. To learn all about sexualities that I never knew about before was super informative specifically because I’ve heard of a couple of them but never knew what they meant or the difference between them. For instances, when Laneice and I wrote that bisexual and pansexual aren’t the same and that asexual and aromantic aren’t the same either I was confused especially with bisexual and pansexual. What confused me was the fact that both sexualities involves you liking both sex but apparently pansexual means you don’t just like both sex you like all sexualities as well so trans, men and women. Two of the genders I did a slide on that I didn’t know existed were agender and aromantic, mainly aromantic. Agender and intersex I knew of I just didn’t know the correct term for the people born with both male and female parts and people who prefer to be called they/them. Also being polyamorous, I didn’t know that it was a sexuality, I just thought it was a preference or something people were into since one person wasn’t good enough for them that they needed two or more to be satisfied.
Overall, I didn’t just learn what the teacher briefly taught, I learned from my other classmates’ projects as well. Such as the group that did high heels, I didn’t know that high heels originated from men, I always thought it was a woman thing. The gender stereotype project was one project that I was happy to hear because I do think in life, especially women, they are the ones that people believe are always a certain way. People have certain stereotypes about women that aren’t true, they believe women are meant to do certain things such as work only around the house and take care of the children while men are the breadwinners of the household that work and get all the money and that’s how it’s meant to stay. That’s why in my blog post I was eager to voice my thoughts about how society sees women and that the reason most men think it’s okay to treat their ladies a certain way is because they are the dominant ones in the house and if they’re making the money then the women need to cook, clean and take care of the children since that’s all we’re good for apparently. I just love how this class was based mainly on how women are great at being women and doing way more than anyone would expect.
I loved this class, my teacher, and my classmates. It was fun being in a class with diversity and not just black and spanish students like normal. Learning that my classmates were from different countries such as Russia made me feel inspired knowing that other students attend Brooklyn College, not just students I figured would since we live in Brooklyn. It would be amazing to have another class such as this one with a teacher like Ms. Ashton, again her patience and understanding is what I think makes a teacher a great teacher and I wouldn’t change a thing about this particular class (maybe an earlier time though lol).
I so deeply appreciate your thoughtful and deep candor here. You really took this reflection seriously, which doesn’t surprise me at all, but I want to name it because that’s hard to do at this time in the semester. Your thoughts about homophobia with respect to the course content in your own identity are not always easy for people to put into words, and I really appreciate that you did that. I’m also thinking about things you said in your presentation, and to me that shows a really important arc from what you describe in this first paragraph to where you are now.
And I’m so heartened to have been part of the process of you being able to engage with different ways of being queer. I’m also so glad that the class was a space for you to speak on things that you can’t speak on every day. When I read what you wrote about writing your blog post and how it made you feel “a thrill of wonder,” I teared up a little bit. That’s so beautiful, and as a person who designs assignments and who understands that they aren’t always fun for students to complete when balancing lots of other stuff, that’s so exciting to see!
You and Laneice did such a great job of sharing so much information with us in your presentation, but also making your learning really visible to us, and you do that again here in a really useful way. I’m so impressed with what you two produced (especially with so many fewer people than other groups had).
Take good care and keep in touch,