Lacking any sort of creative introduction to make this preliminary post interesting, I’m just going to launch right into the bare facts about myself! My name is Lillian Yount and I am a history major in Liberal Arts Honors, currently in my sophomore year. I really have zero preference about what to be called, so long as it doesn’t start with a “c” or a “b.” So anything like Lily, Lily-bear, Lilz, Hey-You-With-The-Glasses, etc, will be acceptable and responded to. For the sake of drawing this out I might as well add that I’m part of the UT Fencing Club! We rock. I went to Nationals competition last semester with them. It was an experience.
To me, “feminism” is an extremely controversial topic, and a rather unpleasant word to say. I love the idea of feminism! Women should be strong and independent, confident in themselves and capable of taking care of themselves, but I recoil at the use of the word “feminism.” So many people nowadays use that word in such an unpleasant way, where proud and confident women are called “stuck up feminists” just because they wouldn’t hop into bed with someone on the first date, that the mental image I get of a “feminist” is one of an ultra-liberal, blindly ignorant, over-passionate woman who forsakes the company of men because she believes so strongly that she doesn’t need a man! Its quite ridiculous on my part, I know, because feminism is really the idea that women are equally as intelligent and capable as men can be, and should be treated in the same fashion. But on a lighter note, my awkward relationship with the word “feminism” does not extend to those of “science” and “literature.” When I think of science, I think of poetry in motion and Bill Nye. Science is the factor which drives the idea of progress and civilization, and if you’re a scientist then you are married to the most cold-heart…fish…that you could ever find; science. She’s completely empirical, forgives no mistakes, and always has a yes or no answer (if you’re able to comprehend it, that is). As for literature, she is the best of lovers. She’s always there for a cold, wintery day, and you can find her in all forms to suit whatever mood you’re in, rather you want to laugh or cry. Literature allows us to experience things that we’ve never been through before, and likely never will. Through a good author, we can almost feel the heat and flurry of battle, go through the anguish of lost love, or whatever mood takes us in choosing the novel which we might choose.
As a class, all in this together, each and every one of us have the choice every day to come to class and bring something to the table. Whether it be empathy, wit, shrewdess, paranoia, or wisdom, we all have something to contribute and it is up to each of us to decide if we’ll put that asset on the table. If we all speak courteously to each other and seek not to offend, but to build, then I think that most everyone will immediately be much more receptive to opening up. We can all always disagree and question each other, but its clear when a line is crossed into a personal attack and this line should never be crossed, if we want to be successful. This being said, participation is just coming in to class and being sure to throw in two cents once a day, while true engagement involves actually being interested and invested in the daily topic and what your peers have to say. Stir the pot! Don’t just throw in a carrot and be done. Being open to having your perspectives changed means that you don’t put a wall up in your brain to block new ideas. If someone disagrees with you on something, don’t immediately scoff and be too proud (or embarrassed) to even consider that you may not have the best opinion in this case. My Dad always said to me, “No egos in the cockpit!” while I was a kid, and I appreciate that he did that because I am much more receptive to new ideas now. Truly listen to someone if and when they disagree with you, don’t just stop up your ears and be stubborn. Then, if any one conversation leads you to reconsider your beliefs and opinions about the world, then I believe that you’ve officially had your horizons broadened. BAM, changed your life.