Beginning this course, my goals were to engage in some self-reflection while opening myself up in my writing. In the Mentor Educational Background Survey, I identified four goals for the course: Improving conclusions, challenging others’ ideas, opening up in discussions, and to do a bit of self-discovery. Looking back at the last ten weeks, I think I have continued to struggle to be open, but I do see some growth in this area. Throughout the term I worried that I had chosen an identity that was too emotional for me, but it helped me to be more honest in my writing. Also, the identity I chose is often misunderstood, so it forced me to find a way to talk about feminism when I often shirk away from the topic.
In general, I have always been a good communicator, but I would like to feel more free to be authentic without fear of judgment. Avoiding judgement over topics that are important to me, like Feminism, is something I would like to overcome. The work in this course has definitely aided me in doing that. Still having more work to do, I would like to continue to explore my various identities like I have this one.
A role I fell into during this course was advocate. So many fellow classmates made the comment that they did not understand feminism or didn’t think they would choose to identify as feminist. Not wanting to force anyone to say they follow a certain “ism,” I hope I was able to define and describe feminism in a way that did not turn off my classmates from feminism. Boiling it down to the basic principle of equality for the sexes hopefully stripped the topic of the baggage associated with it. Not wanting to appear like an angry, man-hating feminist, yet still wanting to highlight some inequalities between the sexes as portrayed in pop culture was tricky.
In the second and third weeks of the term, we had list our various identities, and the observation I made about my list was that they are all portrayed in a negative, mocking way in pop culture. The thing that connected them all was that each identity felt misunderstood. Reading through the comments of my fellow classmates, I saw that they, too, felt misunderstood.
Staying with the process of self-reflection, and being able to expand on what is found during self-reflection is a skill I’ve been developing during this course. Also, finding ways to connect with people who do not have obvious things in common with me is something we all practiced this term. This skill, connecting with all kinds of different people, is an important skill for about any career.
The first draft of my essay was reviewed by two classmates who both suggested that I add more of “myself” to the essay- how I felt about feminism, and what it meant for my life. Re-reading the first draft, I realized I had inadvertently left out the emotive side of my experience with my identity. Being able to be open and vulnerable is a valuable communication skill this class is helping me develop. I still need a lot of work in this area.