Coming into this class, I really didn’t know what to expect. I was curious and excited about the texts we would be reading – it was the first English course I would take whose canon didn’t exclusively feature the Brontë sisters or Jane Austen. It was also the first class in my career as a student that actually advertised that it focused largely on feminism and feminist issues. I went to a fairly conservative all-girls Catholic high school so bringing up the fact that you were a feminist was sure to get you either dismissal or disapproval from the teachers and even some of the other students. So when our discussions started and I found we could actually discuss feminism without flinching and hissing, I was chomping at the bit to get into the conversation.
These discussions not only helped me to better understand the material along with certain feminist ideologies that might’ve been unclear or confusing but also helped me to realize that I wasn’t the smartest person in the room. Which sounds like a shitty narcissistic thing to say. But it’s a misconception I often fall under especially when it comes to topics that are really important to me like feminism, rape culture, systematic oppression, etc. I tend to get tangled up in this righteous passion which really isn’t useful in discussions, academic or otherwise. My experience in this class has been invaluable and has solidified a lot of my current beliefs and strengthened my arguments while introducing me to new ones which are similarly useful. It helped me to really, really appreciate my classmates and all that their individual perspectives had to teach me. I think above all this class has helped me to be more open and to address my own biases. I used to believe that men couldn’t really contribute to conversations about feminism seeing as they benefited so nicely from the existing oppressive patriarchal systems. I often discounted or rebuked their opinions because I felt they couldn’t fully understand or relate to the reality that women face. Which is also a shitty thing to say. But I’m grateful that I had the chance to participate in a course that has enabled me to recognize and work through those biases towards achieving an open mind that welcomes and better appreciates different perspectives.