As the school year draws to a close and graduation looms, like many of my peers I have reflected about my time at the University of Idaho and about what I’ll take with me when I leave Moscow.
Being a feminist is an important part of who I am and how I identify myself, and many of the lessons I’ve learned revolve around this topic. Here are 20 important lessons or realizations I’ve experienced during my time in college:
- Women are valued less than men in the workplace, in society, and more.
- Though we’re valued less, change is possible. We create this change not by telling others about our worth, but by proving our worth in the workplace (or at home, if that’s what we choose).
- As Mur Lafferty writes, “You show them by being more than your looks, even if that’s all people comment on. You show them by your independence. You show them by being more than they expect to see. You show them by not taking their shit.”
- Knowing that we’re valued less is not valid reasoning not to work hard or challenge the status quo.
- Strong, positive, independent and hardworking female role models and mentors are a must, on a personal and professional level. Continue reading
College is stressful.
Between classes, jobs, extracurricular activities, living group responsibilities, internships, TA periods and more, it is unsurprising that many college students turn to unhealthy means to cope with pressures.
Perhaps just as unsurprising is the fact that women are more susceptible to these pressures. According to the American Psychology Association:
“Women are more likely than men (28 percent vs. 20 percent) to report having a great deal of stress (8, 9 or 10 on a 10-point scale).”
Too often young women will cope with this stress by turning to dangerous activities to deal with the pressure. From binge drinking to drug use, campus can foster an atmosphere that favors easy, fun distractions instead of focusing on the real problem.
So between classes and activities, how do students make the time to deal with stress and take care of themselves? Fitting a big block of time to cope into any student’s schedule isn’t realistic, but what is feasible is taking small steps every day (or at least a few times a week,) to make sure your stress is manageable.
The University of Idaho campus offers a myriad of resources to help young women maintain and improve physical health.
The University of Idaho’s Gay Straight Alliance’s “The Prom You Never Had”, or also commonly referred to as “Queer Prom”, was in full swing April 16th. UI’s GSA teamed up this year with Washington State University’s GSA to host prom. The James Bond themed extravaganza filled WSU’s Ensminger Pavillion with music, dancing, refreshments, and, of course, some lovely drag performers. Those in attendance not only included LGBT youth and allies but also some supportive moms dancing the night away with their Vandals.
Cody Wilmore, a first year student at UI, had this to say about his experiences at prom this year:
It was a “queer” gathering, a location where no judging was seen. It was a place where people could be free to dance the way they wanted and be who they wanted to be. It also felt much [like] my prom back in high school, by the way people danced and [the] music choice. I felt that overall it was something enjoyable. I wished I could have stayed the whole time but ended [up] leaving to go hang out with my older brother.
A similar sentiment was also expressed by Amber Morales, another first year student at the University of Idaho:
GSA Prom had a fantastic diversity of students this year, and having it combined between the two universities made it even better than past proms. They did a great job working together to make it happen.
While themes may change, the accepting and fun-loving atmosphere that has become the signature of “The Prom You Never Had” makes an appearance every year.
A couple of week ago, Erin Fenner and I went around the UI campus to find out what students think about feminism. We talked to a variety of students and faculty members, and this is what they had to say:
Music courtesy of I Am Not Lefthanded at jamendo.com