Blogging about a blog in a blog…

Blog. Blog. Blog.

Everyone has one anymore, and if you don’t, your college professors are sure to make you get one. Last semester, I was asked to make a blog on Google for a Rhetorical Criticism course. Embarrassingly, as a 21-year old student living in America and who has been privileged by technology my whole life, I still knew nothing about blogs.  I went through the whole semester writing full blown scholarly papers on my blog, because that’s what I knew how to do.  I had references sourced at the bottom and I re-read my posts many times before publishing them to fix my grammar and sentence structure. Then the semester ended and I haven’t logged into my blog since then.

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This year roles around, and again I am asked to use a blog, on a new website too. I literally felt the tension build in the back of my neck as I thought of having to do this all again. Learn how to navigate a new website and set up an account.  Get a theme picked and follow my classmates. Then time to write. When I began my blog, I carried over my style of last year. And then I got bored. I was bored by topics that felt inspiring to me, and that felt wrong.

So I stopped making 2 outlines before typing up a blog.  I started to just type.  I still went back to add ideas and revise my wording, but it was less of a hassle this way. I learned how to read something and how to use my words to write about it.  I was able to step back and add photos to my thoughts and to make it relatable to an everyday audience.  Outside of my campus, people do not force themselves to critically think every day… in fact some may argue that not all people on campus do that either. This blog gave me the opportunity to learn how to not simplify my thoughts, but make them presentable to the general public. Not that I am the next Sir. Isaac Newton or Einstein, but you get the point.

Besides learning how to use my voice through writing and connecting with audiences, I also learned how to appropriately be a feminist through this independent study.  Now I never was someone who assumed all feminist burn their bras and braid their leg hairs together, but I definitely had an skewed concept of what it meant to be a feminist. Thanks society.

I learned that being a feminist meant supporting equal rights for everyone. It means encouraging people to think about stereotypes and accusations that humans make without thinking twice.  Being a feminist means to accept people for who they are.  It made me have an analytical view over society. And it taught me how to be mad. Through my studies, I have become frustrated with society. I see the injustice that is subtle as well as obvious.  But I also have become helpful to society because I choose to shine light on the injustices and for the capabilities to do this I must thank my professor, Colleen Clemens, for giving me the space to learn.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Gathering of Thinkers ( LVAIC Conference )

April 9th, 2016- The day a snow storm was supposed to hit.

Yes, in April.

I had woken up early to prepare myself for the day.

I did some yoga and took a shower.

I ate a good breakfast and practiced my presentation.

There still was no snow.

But a 89% chance of snow accumulating to 3-5 inches.

It was also the day of a Women and Gender Studies Conference, hosted by LVAIC.

And I was presenting.

My performance was based on The Power of Female Voice and Storytelling.  I have been doing research on exactly this topic, since January.  I was excited to talk about specific examples of women using their voice to empower others and the harm that comes from putting each other down.  I was excited to tell a room full of eager listeners that it was ok for them to use their voice.

I get to the conference.  I am greeted by a table of volunteers, all able to answers my questions and to provide me with a name tag.

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As speakers began to present, I felt an instant excitement over the event.  We had gathered a group of scholars, parents, friends, and intellects to discuss global issues.  We spoke about how to get involved and how to be aware.  We discussed politics and vaginas and saw performances.  It was certainly a day to remember.

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The Keynote Speaker, Marlana Eck, was a delight to listen to. After a warm introduction by Colleen Clemens, the conference coordinator and a professor at Kutztown University, she was at ease with herself and the audience while presenting. She told us of difference programs to get involved with and that she was currently involved with. Hearing these outlets for personal desires to help the world around us was uplifting.  Not all of the speakers provided the resources for audience members to take part in changing society so hearing Marlana provide a few was great.  It really unified the group to be able to work on tangible goals and events.

At the end of the day, there was one performance that continuously ran through my mind.  This was the dance performance that was done before we ate.  This piece was choreographed by Julissa Dejesus and performed by William Brazdzionis.  The imagery within the dance was beautiful.  I felt as if the dancer was representing a person going through society trying to always hit the “moving target” ascribed to us.  He stripped down a layer of sweat pants and exposed a dress he was wearing.  His movements became more frantic at times and repetitive, becoming more frantic the second time through.  The dancer then removes the dress and is wearing shorts and a muscle tee.  The video on the screen behind him goes to a unique perspective.  It is a board with a spectrum drawn on it, but shot from the view point of the board.  There are two people discussing the scale and its portions while the dancer traces his hand along it walking back and fourth.  To me this showed him trying to place himself on the scale that society has given him in regards to gender.

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The LVAIC conference is one I plan on attending in the future, and would encourage others to attend as well.  The experience was enlightening, and honoring to be apart of.  I brought my boyfriend and parents with me, eager to expose them to conversations they do not hear everyday.  Unless you are a feminist, or a student concerned about gender-based issues  or an engaged member of society of women’s rights, you probably do not regularly have these conversations, and its important to begin to. The more we talk about these issues, the more we can eliminate the issues tied up within them. So to all, I encourage you to speak up.

And yes, it did snow.

 

 

Using our Voice

Too many women suppress their voice.  Too many women hold their true feelings inside.  Too many women are told to shut up and too many women listen. This is a dangerous spiral, as it leaves millions speechless.  There is a book called I Speak for Myself edited by Maria M.  Ebrahimji and Zahra T. Suratwala that is an outlet for American women who are Muslim to share their stories.  This book is educational as well as inspiring.  I would recommend it for everyone to read because it allows you to see the world through the eyes of another individual and through another culture’s perspective.

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More people around the world need spaces to talk. Imagine if each women who shared her story in this book, had the opportunity to sit down with each other.  They would have the potential to build a lasting friendship, also known as a place to talk.  These opportunities to let your voice and story be heard is what can begin to change the thought process of those around you.  Having support to build confidence in your decisions will allow for more opportunities to share your voice.

Just the other day, I was discussing a health issue with someone.  They began to share their story with me, and the overlaying messge the I took away was that humans need to share our experiences.  We need to share them for ourselves with people who have also experienced it and we need to share them for eachother for people who have not experienced them.  This raises awareness on ALL issues and creates a general discussion.  If we change the way we talk about things, we eventually change the way we do things and this can change the world.

All we need to do is keep the conversation going.