Founded in 1974, the Women’s Center was established to:
Dismantle, from a feminist perspective, all forms of oppression, including but not limited to those based on ability, age, class, ethnicity, gender, race, and sexual orientation.
Advocate for an equitable environment free from violence and harassment based on gender, race, and sexual orientation.
Create an anti-racist, non-sexist, queer-affirmative space where all people can feel valued and safe.
Facilitate and strengthen connections among people across lines of difference through programming and educational campaigns.
Integrate an appreciation of Women's Gender and Multicultural Studies across the disciplines.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Live Journal: Finding My Voice

Growing up, I heard the phrase, “women are meant to be seen and not heard.” And while this blatant objectification and disregard of women never sat well with me, my 12-year-old mind was nowhere near developed enough to discuss feminist ideals with the larger public, especially when society only seemed to reinforce the inferiority of women to men.

It was only after I began exploring parts of my identity and challenging gender norms that I began to take notice of the skewed representation of women, not only in the media, but in my life as well. And while I still couldn't quite understand it, I knew that women, much like those present in my life, were often stripped of any identity and of their humanity — robbed of their personal and intellectual abilities. I realized that women are often times disempowered and made to feel hopeless by a patriarchal society that merits them based solely on their sexualization and submissiveness. This came as no surprise to me, though, having witnessed it firsthand throughout my life.

No textbook definition of gender inequality and sexism could explain the concepts better than my own life experiences with them could.  

The only problem then was, how could I possibly put my thoughts into words? I was beginning to understand why the world needed feminists and advocates for social change, but how could I become a part of the growing movement when I didn't fully understand it? Every time I thought about these issues, a lump formed in my throat and a knot filled my stomach. My thoughts seemed to paralyze me. 

My apprehension for addressing these hush-hush topics, paired with frequent migraines, left me at a severe loss for words. No one ever gave me a cause, or a cure, for the constant headaches I endured during my adolescence, but it’s my personal theory that I used to think my way into exhaustion. Yes, think myself into exhaustion. I may never have expressed my early feminists thoughts verbally, but that didn’t stop me from overanalyzing everything in my head. 

Before college, my knowledge of women’s empowerment paralleled that of the media’s portrayal of the stereotypical man-hating radical feminists. I knew, however, that I wanted equal political, economic, and social rights for women… and wasn't that what feminism was all about?

Having had few female role models in my life and far fewer portrayed in the media, I decided that I needed to empower myself. Once I realized that being a white, heterosexual man was the criteria needed to live a well-off, privileged life, and that my identity as a queer woman of color could potentially inhibit any and all of my future success solely because I had two of the same kind of sex chromosomes that made me female, and therefore, inferior to my male counterparts, that’s when I really understood. 

I understood why feminists are always perceived as angry… because I was angry. 

I let myself be angry for some time, but I knew that I needed to channel my anger constructively into worthwhile pursuits. I began educating myself on some of history's most forward-thinking movements, and thus, becoming enlightened by some of the world's most progressive feminist thinkers. And just like that, as I began to formulate thoughts that differed from conventional norms, my feminist lens began to form — and I began to find my voice within the movement.

Until next time,


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