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.
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.
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.
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.