Meet Olivia

Art print with the text: "So good, it could have been made by a man."
Photo taken by the author at the Seattle Art Museum in 2016

By Olivia Comstock

I am White. I am cisgender. I am middle class. I am from a wealthy area with good schools. I am in college. I have always done well in school. I have always been successful and probably will continue to be successful throughout my life. This is because everything on paper lines up for me. I was set up from birth institutionally to be well off in every way and for this I am infinitely grateful, even though I did nothing to deserve it. Despite all of this, I am still a woman. I still face adversity; a future where I face a lower-paying job, the expectation that I will be a caretaker either for a child, partner, or aging relative, lack of equity in romantic relationships, and the daily danger of walking around as a woman. As a writer for this blog, I want to be able to acknowledge and explore the underlying structures that create a world where this is possible, and examine the implications of this world. I hope to share and grow my passion and knowledge forn women’s and gender issues through this opportunity for research and writing.

I spend my time reading philosophy, scanning scholarly articles about love, knitting never-ending blankets, cooking delicious soups, devouring podcasts, and listening to obscure art-rap music. I also really enjoy backpacking, rock climbing, swimming, skiing, bicycling, and in general getting dirty in the sun! Through my engagement in all of these activities, I try to represent my position as a woman and defend women’s ability to be involved, as many of these interests lie in male-dominated areas.

I have considered myself a feminist ever since I learned what that word meant in 2010 on the infamous Tumblr.com blogging platform. From that moment on, I have read everything I can find on feminism, women’s, and gender issues. I have become more feminist, more radical, and more subversive with each passing year and with every addition of feminist theory knowledge. I am continuing to explore through my education here at University of Idaho.

I am majoring in Philosophy and minoring in German, taking classes in history, philosophy, theory, and art history. However, my long-term goal is to pursue a program in Art History. I am deeply interested in the connection and context that forms between history, people’s personal lives, art, politics, and philosophy. I devour any book on philosophy, theory, art, environmentalism, politics, communism, and revolutions. I especially enjoy those that intersect with feminist and gender theory. Women and gender issues are at the forefront of these disciplines today. The way we look at, write about, teach, and structure both Philosophy and Art History is being rewired. What used to be a white, male, heterosexually-dominated world is increasingly focusing on diversity and multiplicity. What were once considered narrow, “subjective” viewpoints are now front and center. I hope to share some of these exciting currents. Some areas I am interested in exploring are women in art, gender theories, continental philosophy, ideas on love, and other concepts not often read about in mass-media women’s topics.

 

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