June 4th, 2015
The prompt I am utilizing, in terms of the overall theme of this essay, is in regards to my acquisition of a new understanding of myself as a student. As each new school quarter dawns, I find myself in a state of anxiety and preemptive exhaustion as I approach each new line of hoops to jump in order to make it towards my end goal, and this class was no exception. Although I have grown rather weary throughout the years since starting the pursuit towards the benefits of a college education, I, once again, have overcome the obstacles that have been set before me.
With the course beginning with a series of rules, expectations, technical details and posts regarding the coursework I was to undertake for this class, I found that one of the things I had to do was join a digital group and talk about myself. Although digital interaction makes it rather easy to divulge intimate details about one’s self, I still found it rather intimidating to list the things that deeply matter to me as I am in this present point in time; the subject matter affiliated with many of my identifiers often ignites debate, prejudice, and overall frustration. However, I couldn’t help but notice that several other members of my group also felt a connection with some of my personal identifiers. This gave me the courage to go on and lay my guts on the table, so to speak. The overall reception of my post was a rather positive one that made for some constructive and gratifying dialogue. Perhaps the niceness I experienced from my other group members was the result of my admission of nervousness preempting the bulk of my post:
“This assignment makes me nervous. Many of the things I identify as are perpetually criticized and marginalized due to, mainly, misinformation or cultural misrepresentation. However, it appears as though I am not the only one with these identifiers within our group, so that makes me feel a little better.”
Of course, part of my fears were manifested in that, eventually, one of my identities did incite a comment which expressed a disinclination towards my viewpoint. This comment was met by a caffine-fueled, impulsive, 1,674-word counter argument. Thankfully, this did not damage my overall experience with the commenter in my group; he remained positive and gave me very encouraging feedback regarding my other posts.
However, all this interaction and positive exchange didn’t change the fact that I entirely loathe the idea of assignments or projects that have to do with introspection, which was to be the main goal of our mirror blog posts. When presenting my proposal for my Mirror Blog project, I requested that, rather than focus on myself and how I personally feel I am represented in media, I attempted to change the course and do mine on a subject matter that is rather important to me–Feminism. After a bit of exchange between me and the instructor, she approved of my desire to deviate from the intended goal of the Mirror Blog. However, I ultimately decided that I was being selfish and depriving myself of a challenge and went on to do an introspective piece which also happened to align with my views on feminism.
Although I decided to do what was originally asked of me regarding the execution of the Mirror Blog assignment, it was no light undertaking for me. I was met with many challenges regarding exactly what angle I wanted to do my research from. At first, I was flirting with the idea of doing my Blog on the societally imposed gender binaries with which men are taught to behave, dress, and think, but the research was conjuring a frustration in me that made it entirely too difficult for me to continue down that path. Another direction I had considered was going entirely personal and autobiographical and try to explain why men like me who freely walk outside our gender binaries are discriminated against and are mistaken as gay. However, all the examples I had to draw from were extreme examples that merited further cultural elaboration that I just didn’t feel was in the correct spirit of the Mirror Blog theme. Eventually, I decided to scale it back a bit and keep the subject matter simple enough to limit my findings to a 2,500 word maximum; simply how male feminists, like myself, are portrayed in the media. I also found a way to elaborate upon my own views of what feminism means to me, but I don’t feel as though I did so in excess; I merely dedicated a paragraph to provide a piece of context:
“For those of you who are not familiar with feminism, it is a rather complex movement that, for some, takes several full college courses to fully comprehend and explore. As a result of feminism’s complexity, for the sake of keeping things simple, I’ll just break the term down to it’s basic definition; feminism is the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men. For many feminists, one of the steps towards gender equality is challenging and tearing down societally imposed gender norms and gender roles that shepherd people into assimilating a conditioned identity that is ultimately fiat, imaginary, and false as it pertains to the actual capabilities of either gender.”
I suppose, ultimately, the thing that I’ve come to understand about myself as a student is that I have the ability accommodate and compromise outside of my general comfort zone without experiencing any detrimental setbacks as a result thereof. Although group work was not exactly something that I was enthused about and although I didn’t entirely go the initial direction that I wanted to regarding my Mirror Blog assignment, I was still able to complete my goals by motivating myself and rallying an enthusiasm towards the transcendence of a new series of academic obstacles.