Gendering begins at birth. Infant girls go home in pink blankets, and boys go home in blue blankets. In a recent study, researchers found that people responded to the cries of babies differently based on the pitch. Those who participated in the study believed higher pitched cries to be the girls and the lower pitched cries to be the boys. Although the pitch of a child’s voice does not begin to change until puberty. No participant could correctly guess the gender of the children based on the pitch of their cries.
It is Friday at noon, and I am sitting in the lounge of the Women’s Center munching on cheese and crackers and trying my best to paint something Frida Khalo like onto a small canvas. It is Latinx Heritage Month, and the table is covered with books featuring the art of Khalo. I look around at the people also painting, looking through books of art, laughing about classes and talking about their plans for the weekend. The room is filled with people of all kinds: students, staff, gender non-conforming, various queer identities, straight males and females, a pregnant staff member joking that she is just going to eat all the snacks and not even paint. A student speaks of her immigrant parents, “My parents wanted to name me something that sounded white, so they watched a lot of movies from the US when my mom was pregnant.” We all laugh. My kids are in school, but if they weren’t they would be welcome as well to come and participate or to pull out the toys and coloring books from the Women’s Center library. It’s just another Friday Crafternoon at the Women’s Center, but it’s really more than that. It’s a reminder that despite your sexual orientation, your gender identification, the country you or your parents come from, your place on campus or in society, tucked in Memorial Gym there is a safe and welcoming space for you. Continue reading “Why I Love The Women’s Center”→
On Wednesday, Oct. 11, also known as the International Day of the Girl Child day, the Boy Scouts of America announced that they were breaking tradition and for the first time in the organization’s history, they would allow girls into the program.
The Boy Scouts national board chairman, Randall Stephenson said, “I’ve seen nothing that develops leadership skills and discipline like this organization. It is time to make these outstanding leadership development programs available to girls.”
Friday morning begins with a cup of coffee for each student sitting around a table in commons building of the university. Anne Helen Petersen arrives and sits in the seat next to me. Anne Helen Petersen is a senior Buzzfeed writer, originally from Lewiston, Idaho. English majors, such as myself, had the opportunity to speak with Anne about her career and life in the world of media. The first question Anne is asked is regarding her journey to Buzzfeed. Anne received her undergraduate degree at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington. She wanted to move as far away from Idaho as possible, but Whitman felt like home. After graduation, she moved to Seattle with her college best friends and went on to get her Masters at University of Oregon. Anne completed her education with a PhD in Texas. Later, Anne was offered a job back at Whitman to teach film studies. She was originally unaware that it was a “visiting” position, a temporary position offered as the college tests out a new program. The permanent job was offered to another candidate that had global experience in film studies.
Growing up, many of us have some kind of fantasy/concerns about what kind of student we want to be in college. Whether you are a man or a woman, that transition from high school to college can be challenging, especially because of all the expectations from parents, family, and society in general. Presently for a girl born in 21st century, the scenario is even more complicated. Because the way women are seen or expected to be seen is changing. But whatever the case is, no matter the time, there has always been a pressure for girls. A Pressure for Perfection.
Men have a lot of pressure to deal with as well. I am not saying they are free of responsibilities, but I would argue that men are comparatively more privileged than most of the females out there. This can affect the learning environment for women in college campuses. From the pressure of having the best grades to rocking the perfect outfit, most of us girls have some common insecurities. But should I call it our insecurity? Or maybe, it an attempt to gain some kind of validation from men or even other women in general! Continue reading “The Pressure of Perfection”→
The oh-too-familiar phrase I hear at events such as family gatherings, Christmas parties, coffee dates with friends, and (my personal favorite) college graduations. Somehow no matter where I go or what I do, my accomplishments are tainted by my sexuality. I can’t just be an educated young woman. I have to be an educated young woman, BUT a lesbian. A loving and thoughtful friend, BUT a lesbian. A shopper at a grocery store, BUT a lesbian.
Even though I’m attached to and love that label dearly for all it has represented in my life, it’s demeaning when I hear friends, family, and strangers use it as an exception to who I am as a human being.
I am so excited to be editing the Women’s Center blog this semester. I have a lot of other things going on, as we all do, but creating a safe space to explore our ever-evolving thoughts about feminism is important work, and I’m excited to fit it into my busy schedule. After just two meetings, our group of writers has concluded that we have plenty to talk about!
I am currently a second year MFA candidate in the Creative Writing Program where I am focusing on poetry. Being part of this program has been a dream for years, and I feel grateful daily to be a part of it. I am also a jewelry artist and have a small business that keeps me busy being creative in a different way. Currently, I sell my jewelry wholesale to around ten stores in five states. Hammering metal is sometimes just the break I need from writing. I am also the mother of three children, two boys and a girl. I enjoy reading, writing, spending time with my family and friends in this amazing community, and participating in various outdoor and fitness activities.
I think a lot about what it means to be a woman. I think and write about the women I came from and the young woman I’m raising. I am grateful to those who worked hard for the rights we have today, and I hope in some way that I can do the same for others.