This week I am launching an ongoing series of guest posts from former students reflecting on their experience of learning feminism(s) in high school. The inspiration for this series came from my students, who each day teach me that they too want to be a part of feminism as activists, artists, and academics.
When I founded this blog at the close of 2009, I wanted to begin a conversation with feminist educators in K-12 schools about the work they do in their classrooms as feminists. Within a month of starting the blog, I posted a letter that a student of mine had written to President Obama calling for implementing a feminist curriculum in our K-12 classrooms.
My student’s letter created a response from a variety of bloggers, including a post at Feministing by Courtney Martin and one from Anna North at Jezebel. Needless to say, I was honored by this affirmation of my student’s call to action and my work as a feminist educator.
But even with that wonderful response, I still wondered: Am I making a difference in my students’ lives? Is learning feminism in high school making an impact? And if so, would the voices of my students inspire other educators to make change in their classroom and in their schools?
To find these answers, I asked a few students to write their own stories about how taking my feminism course or LGBT literature course or even my memoir writing class influenced their thinking on issues related to race, class, gender, and sexuality and on political advocacy such as women’s and queer rights, etc. I also asked them to consider whether other courses they took at their progressive high school may have also had an impact on their thinking and on the way they see themselves as young change-makers.
What you will see in the next few days are these stories. You will read young women blogging about how feminism changed the course of their lives, from how they chose their college to the kinds of courses and activities they now take part in on their college campuses. In the future, I hope to garner even more stories, including those from the young men who have taken courses with me.
I encourage you to be a part of the conversation too. Our young women and men need us to model how we walk the world using our own particular brand of feminism as a guide for social justice. But we also need them to guide us on how they are changing themselves and their communities and, indeed, how they are changing feminism for the better.
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