Wednesday, March 24, 2010

I am a feminist.

The correspondence course I took this semester was Canadian Studies 3301: Canadian Women: Critical Perspectives. This course was one of the best and most memorable courses I've ever taken.

This course was a real eye opener to me. Prior to taking this course, I, along with many other women my age, shrugged my shoulders at the thought of "feminism". I figured it was a term that was slowly diminishing and a term that didn't hold, at all, as much significance as it did in the past. I was basically already convinced that we had "won the war".
Reading the course text, Open Boundaries, was self-revolutionary as it made me see my life and the world around me from a completely different perspective. It made me realize how much of a feminist I really am and how proud of myself I am now that I finally realized it. Hearing the perspectives of the women authors made me respect the issues that women have had to deal with in the past. It made me appreciate the little things that I take for granted.

I'd never really taken an interest in provincial or government elections before. I've been able to vote legally now for five years, yet I've never ever participated in the act of voting. I rationalized this decision with the fact that I know very little about this topic and I didn't feel comfortable voting when I'm not fully educated on the subject; However, I hadn't taken into consideration until now the fact that, once upon a time, it was only men that held the power to vote. The choice to vote is something I should appreciate and take advantage of. Now, I want to take interest in elections, educate myself, and voice my own opinion.

There were many thoughts that ran through my head the past few months while reading the chapters in Open Boundaries. I'm very much a romantic person, very in love with love. Yet, I'm completely independent. I'm a regular girl with the dream to fall in love, get married, and have a family; however, this dream won't interfere with my dream of being an independent traveling artist. I was thinking a lot about marriage and the act of women changing their surnames to match their husband's. I remember, when I was younger, being completely appalled when I recognized that a woman didn't take her husband's last name. I remember being confused and not able to understand why a woman would keep her own last name. This course made me reflect back on these thoughts and see the situation from a new perspective. I asked my partner if he'd be offended if, when married, I decided to keep my maiden name as my surname. He said he hadn't thought about it but he concluded he wouldn't be happy about the idea. Why are women just assumed to adopt her husband's last name? Why aren't the roles reversed? Why should names by changed at all? Why is the traditional act of "the name change" so vital to marriage? Why would my partner be bothered if I chose to keep my own surname when the most important thing about marriage is celebrating the love between two people?

There are a lot of questions this course made me ask myself. Some questions have been answered easily and some answers I will have to come to understand and learn in time. I'm glad I've come to understand the importance of feminism in the past, and the importance and need of feminism presently and in the future. I recognize now that the gender gap still exists and women are still striving to achieve gender equality. Society, the world, and everyone in it will continue to evolve; therefore, new barriers will be formed. Challenges will continue to be faced as new ones reborn according to the dictates of the changing society. Gender equality is an ongoing struggle that will continue to be brought to justice. It's a long and tedious process but persistence will pay off in the end. Just look at how far we've evolved from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

I'm happy to title myself a feminist and I appreciate the battle that women have had to fight in the past to allow me to have the privileges I do now. I, too, will strive to make gender equality an attainable goal.

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