So yesterday at the queer sex talk we discussed a lot having to do with identity and labeling. And while we all came to some kind of agreement about how the word Queer is something people can identify with because it encompasses the fluidity of their sexual identity and doesn't confine them. And today I was reading for school about challenges facing students with diverse cultural background and ethnicity in the classroom. It brought up the point of students who are immigrants or associate with a non-dominant ethnicity, religion, or culture often have a fluid sense of identity. Often students attempt to conform to the dominant culture in school so they fit in and do not isolate themselves, while at home they associate with the traditions and practices of their families and sometimes cultural communities.
I thought about this a lot last semester while I worked on a paper about Muslim Americans in the public school system. These students have to define and then redefine their identity in every situation. And these decisions are often very visible, for example the simple matter of how to dress. There are intense pressures on students from both their families and their peers in school.
The decisions these students make which affect their identity include sexuality, but also include choices about the language they speak, their religious practices, their social habits, the food they eat, the list goes on and on.
I just think it's incredible how many of our personal choices can affect the way other people view us and what labels are assigned to us.
I also read about how teachers should respectfully talk about LGBT issues in the classroom to reduce homophobia in the classroom... but in South Carolina that is pretty much ILLEGAL to do.
And I would really like to redesign this blog to make it prettier but I should probably do my homework.
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Saturday, September 4, 2010
Back to school...after the long semester off organizing, volunteering, fundraising, grant writing, bike riding, and traveling, I am back at ol' CofC, finishing College. It's interesting how being back in a space of academically savvy women who are challenging gender norms just lights a fire under my ass. I am in my capstone WGST class (awesome) with Micah, for one, which is really exciting. I am also taking a class that I don't actually need to graduate, called Studio Art Approaches to Third Wave Feminism. When I first saw that class listed, I freaked out, I figured that CofC had sent some sleuth-like character to stalk me and figure out what would lure me back in to the higher education system. "Ha-Ha!" the genderless reporter reports, "ve shall offer a course on feminist art, and ze helpless child shall be helpless and helplessly fall into our vell-laid trrrap!" And this is exactly what happened, and now I am in this class, which is, according to my professor, the ONLY EXPLICITLY FEMINIST ART CLASS BEING TAUGHT IN THE UNITED STATES.
Huh? Really? Oh, I guess I'm not that surprised, just disappointed as usual.
But seriously, how awesome is that? I am in a class with a group of women, all honors students, who for some reason or another decided to take the class. I'm a little anxious. I mean, feminist art is pretty much all me and most of my friends do! But most of the girls I'm in class with have barely considered how the two might be related, and many aren't familiar with feminism at all. I think I talk too much in class, and I'm afraid that I intimidate them, because I seem to have a pre-existing opinion and experience with all of this stuff. I want so bad for them to all realize that I don't really know anything more than they do about making feminist art. All they have to do is get the least bit excited, shed that initial layer of self-consciousness, and grab a marker or a guitar, or a camera, or a paintbrush, or some crazy object unbeknownst to life as we know it, and start emoting, expressing, telling.
We'll see. I shall report. I hope that some of my friends who do feminist art can come into the class as visitors coughGracieLizSeanRachaelcough.