Happy International Women’s Day! Ironically, I spent a good two hours last night studying feminist theory in international relations. Maybe my teacher picked today to have our exam as a hint to what our essay is on. Here’s hoping!
When we studied feminism in class here at John Cabot University, I was blown away by the discourse that permeated our lecture. I’m finding that the small classes I’m taking in Rome, compared to my big lectures at Rutgers University, create an incredibly different learning environment for me personally. While I always thought I was an “absorb-my-professors-every-word-while-I-furiously-take-notes-and-keep-my-mouth-shut” type of learner, but I’m beginning to think otherwise.
This is due to the Italian girls in my class. I am beyond impressed with these females; they are intelligent, articulate, passionate, and daring. They know all about the world and how to take these abstract and outdated theories of world politics and apply them to present day topics with such fluidity. I hate to admit that maybe I had some preconceived notions about my Italian contemporaries. However these girls shine in class with a confidence that I aspire to emulate, and have began to adopt myself.
Gender discussions in the classroom ruffle peoples feathers without fail. The male student sitting next to me made a point, that its hard for women to get into politics because people are always going to judge her looks first and deem her intelligent or not based on these looks. I know when I think about famous women, or listen to women on the news, I am consciously and subconsciously evaluating her appearance. When I think about famous and influential men, I rarely mentally attach my thoughts on his appearance. This is a sad and unfortunately valid point that highlights societies flawed construction of gender and sexuality. We have made incredible strides as ladies, but I believe real progress will come with recreating what its means to be male or female in today’s world.
I think international women’s day is important beyond the fact that it observes the most kickass gender. The fact that its international women’s day makes me think about the billions of women all over the globe who probably don’t know that they’re being celebrated today. In honor of these women I will (try) and spend my waking hours thinking about the 3.5 billion women around the globe, who are doing the best they can to be a girl in a mans world. Instead of complaining about writing a paper or taking an exam, I will be grateful that I am in the % of girls who gets to receive a higher education. Instead of considering every female stranger as my competition, I will consider her my friend. J When I think about gender in countries like China and India that have attached a stigma to the 50% chance you have of having XX chromosomes, I realize how lucky I am.
Hope everyone has a fantastic women’s day, spend it with the ladies you love! Also, everyone should read this amazing poem today.
“I, with a deeper instinct, choose a man who compels my strength, who makes enormous demands on me, who does not doubt my courage or my toughness, who does not believe me naïve or innocent, who has the courage to treat me like a woman.”
― Anaïs Nin