Last year, I launched an on-going guest post series written by my former high school students reflecting on the impact of learning feminism(s) in high school. To mark the beginning of the school year and to inspire teachers to bring a feminist vision to their curricula, I’m posting a piece written by my former student, Meiling Jabbaar, who took my course on feminism her senior year last fall. In this essay, Meiling teaches all of us that learning about feminism in high school made an impact on finding her voice. Meiling will be attending Brown University this fall.
Growing up as a young woman in today’s society, I have always been aware of issues that women, teenage girls, and even young girls face. When I learned about the feminism course offered by Ileana Jiménez, who teaches in the English department at my high school, I realized that I would have the chance to discuss topics to which I could relate. But little did I know how much of an impact the class would have on me.
My Fierce and Fabulous: Feminist Women Writers, Artists, and Activists class, which I took during the first trimester of my senior year, did much more than expose me to the world of feminism. In providing the space to talk about issues important to me, such as female stereotypes, issues of beauty, and how women are portrayed in the media, I learned ways in which I could solve these problems, while at the same time, I learned a lot about myself.
Before taking the class, the only thing that came to mind when I thought about feminism was women’s rights. I soon learned that feminism entails so much more. First, we focused on feminist theory. We read the works of various renowned feminist writers, including bell hooks, Audre Lorde, Cherríe Moraga, and Virginia Woolf. I was overwhelmed and moved by their powerful pieces that analyze the history and roots of the struggles that plague the lives of women. After reading these writers, my eyes were opened to what feminism truly represents. Continue reading