When I heard this question, I thought it would be much better to ask it to the powerful women in my life. Their thoughts below reflect my thoughts exactly.
I’ve seen this question come up before when I took a class on Global LGBTQI+. For me, the idea that ‘personal experiences of women are rooted in their political situation and gender inequality’ makes sense. Your personal life is affected by your demographic’s status in society. That’s why I usually push back on people when they argue that they are ‘apolitical’ or don’t like to be involved in politics. Politics is much more than arguing with your uncles and aunts about who the next president should be. And I think a lot of my political beliefs are rooted in the experiences I’ve had as a woman or the experiences that I can imagine other women having. For example, I am pro-choice because of the fact that I can imagine how it would feel to want to terminate a pregnancy for any reason but not have the right to do so. I don’t necessarily think that men would think this way when contemplating the issue right off the bat. I don’t, however, think that this idea of women inherently having certain political beliefs based on experiences they’ve had related to gender inequality can be a blanket statement for all women. For example, saying that all women would or should feel the same way about feminism, abortion, or their political situation. Many feminists often forget the idea of intersectionality, meaning that I, as a white middle class woman, will experience gender inequality in a much different way than a poor black woman. And this affects my beliefs.
FROM A WOMAN IN HER 20s
I definitely agree that my personal experience (as well as the general experience that comes with being a woman in a society primarily run by white male politicians and leaders) plays a factor in my political beliefs and actions. I would argue that same principle applies to men, which explains why we see so many of our current leaders and their supporters worried about losing that control as our government becomes more reflective of the breakdown of gender and minority populations in the US. I am hopeful that our society will soon find a balance with gender/race in our political representation and be able to move past the conflicts we are currently facing on this front as a result.
From a woman in her 30s
1. The first incident that came to mind was the time, maybe four years ago, that a male student skipped my class one day. The class went to lunch mid-block, and he never made it back. He hid/spent the rest of the block with his football coach (another student told me that he had declared at lunch that he wouldn’t be coming to class, and that he would instead hang with his coach). I followed up with the coach. He told me that this student had told him that I was a “feminist b****”. But, the way he relayed this stunner is what sticks with me: he said it with a shrug, conveying an air of “What are you gonna do?”. I was floored. I asked the coach if the student had given concrete evidence of my “feminist” offenses so that I could address them and consider them; the student had not. The coach didn’t ask. Nor did the coach say anything about reprimanding the student for speaking that way about a colleague. I gave a curt “Thanks for all your help” and haven’t really spoken to that person since. When I followed up with the student, he said it was “clear” from the way I spoke to and encouraged my female students that I was a feminist. I basically told him that was his problem, and not mine. I wrote him up and our interactions gradually warmed a bit, but I have never forgotten that. I think, what really happened, is that my personality was too strong for him, and that when he would make disparaging comments towards others I was all over it. I wasn’t letting him “take it easy” in an Honors class; I was holding him accountable. I was challenging him. I don’t think he was used to that. And so, I became a “feminist b****” in his eyes. 2. My department is largely female; we have two male colleagues. Our team leader is female. For some reason, “we” revere and defer to one of the two males. It’s mostly my team leader and a couple of other department members who do this. The majority of us– 9 out of 11 members– have been on board with ideas and actions. Then, the revered male will speak out against it, and that’s it. We are stopped dead in our tracks. My team leader immediately takes his viewpoint and it allows it to dictate our actions moving forward. 3. When I was a teenager, I worked at Market Basket at the front. I noticed that only boys were being sent out to do the carriage collection, so I asked my bosses why. I don’t remember the answer that I got, but I do remember nagging them to at least let me try it. They did, and I collected carriages for a few days. It was HARD, but I enjoyed doing it. Sadly, the opportunity never really presented itself after that. Every time I go to a grocery store, I do notice that girls are never collecting carriages. It may be that they don’t WANT to, but I also wonder if it’s even offered.
From a woman in her 30s
So, it wasn’t too long ago that I heard this expression. It came up in the yoga teacher training course that I’m taking — It’s that yoga is personal and personal is political. I haven’t thought too much about it, but here’s what comes to mind: I’m a public school teacher, so I try to inform to inform rather than have a slant … although maybe it’s more obvious than I think.
FROM a woman in her 40s
I absolutely believe that the personal is political – and the personal has really evolved for me as I have gotten older. I’ve always known I was liberal, always been a Democrat. When I was young I was a staunch pro-choice. “Nobody gets to tell me what I can do or any woman can do with her body” voter. Now, I still believe that but it’s also mixed in with new personal worries and beliefs – like gun control. I am fearful of being killed or my girls being killed in a school shooting. Now, I’m also seeing how conservative economic policy can really mess up the working class… so that will most likely be my new crusade. I also want to add that if more people subscribed to the notion and thought about how making political decisions on honest personal beliefs… we’d all be in a better situation!
Throughout my experience with UNE, I have found that this school is pretty in tune with Women’s and Gender Studies. First of all, they have an entire minor dedicated to this subject and offered to students. One of the best parts of this minor is that some of the classes students take are already embedded with material from the WGST world. For example, when I decided to pick up the minor, I realized that several of the classes I had already taken count for this minor because of their wide topics around gender, feminism, and women. Some of these classes include Women in the Modern World (HIS 278) and Women’s YA Dystopian Fiction (ENG 235). This means that not only is the minor accessible, but it is also extremely relevant to my courses. Additionally, it is extremely relevant to our current historical moment. I love the courses that are able to connect to what is happening in our world right now, and this entire minor does just that.
Additionally, I know a little about the WGST Club at UNE. I am familiar with the project they worked on recently with providing free feminine products on campus to students. This kind of awareness is not regularly seen on other campuses. I love the content of their Instagram page as well:
Additionally, I have found it to be quite nice and empowering to have a campus made up of roughly 74% women and 26% men. Being part of a student body almost entirely made up of women is so powerful to me.
All of these things have, in my opinion, made UNE very aware and conscious of Women’s and Gender Studies. I have been able to gear my studies toward this topic, which is such a valuable tool for my future as an English teacher.
WHEN THINKING ABOUT READING LITERATURE ABOUT MADNESS…
Before this course, I was pretty unfamiliar with how madness is usually represented in literature and how prevalent it actually is in pieces of literature that I’ve read. For example, I never viewed “The Tell-Tale Heart” in the specific lens of analyzing mental illness. When I read this short story in 7th grade ELA class, that was not the emphasis of discussion. I can see now how important and relevant this conversation is, though. Narrative and creative expression in literature offer a whole new lens into the world of mental illness that might not be able to be seen through a different perspective. In other words, narrative and creative expression are more intimate and raw, allowing readers to literally place themselves in the minds of these people. Clinical observation, psychological study, and medical diagnosis just cannot achieve that same outcome.
When thinking about COPYRIGHT…
Since I am an English major and have been taking English courses at UNE for 3 years now, I am mostly familiar with the concept of copyright. I am usually fairly informed about what should be cited and how it should be cited, but I did learn a little about this process in my ADE project. I learned about “image credits” and how difficult it is to find good images available for use in the public domain! I have not been asked to credit the source of my images since English 110 when I started with ePortfolio. Professor Tuttle gave me a refresher on how to do this, and I learned a lot through this process. Everything in my ADE that was taken from other sources is cited, so my project is public and available to all.
When thinking about EPORTFOLIO AND WORDPRESS…
I think this project just makes the most sense to be done through ePortfolio and WordPress. I believe that if we had typed the pieces of this project and handed in a stapled copy of them, it would not achieve the same effect. The ability to navigate through this program and showcase our learning creates a more professional and advanced effect that I do not think could be achieved from a hard copy version. Similarly, as we advance further into the digital age, it is important to use and learn these skills (it’s another entire aspect of curriculum to learn)! Using ePortfolio for this project allowed for better organization and easier navigation as every single item was laid out specifically for the reader, and the site was created to guide them in the intended direction; I do not think this guidance could be accomplished through paper. I do feel slightly more confident in my WordPress skills, but I was confident before this project even came about. I consider myself an experienced user, but I was able to enhance my skills through the conversations with Professor Gennaco and other peers. I was also able to create an entirely new ePortfolio site for this project and start from scratch, which I can see myself utilizing in other classes or even in my future teaching career (possibly as a class website).
When briefly looking over what will be included in my reflection for my Annotated Digital Edition, I have some things to say. When I decided I wanted to focus on the setting of “The Yellow Wallpaper,” I determined the specific parts of the text I wanted to comment on and allowed those to frame my digital edition. For my thesis, I will need to make sure that my annotations and the claims within them align well with what I discuss in this argumentative sentence. I need to make sure that as I continue to write my annotations, I take time to revert back to the ideas found within my thesis and tie it all together. My thesis, and the critical introduction that the thesis lives in, will both address my readers needs. Since I have already started to draft it, I have included important contextual information from a secondary source that reveals something about the time period in which it was written. I also begin by discussing the plot. Both of these elements should help to meet my readers needs. I think the biggest thing I am struggling with while drafting my critical introduction is anticipating those questions of the reader. But, I am confident that once I meet with my peer group and/or Professor Tuttle to review my drafts, I will be able to hear what the reader needs more of. I also feel that my critical introduction may be lacking biographical information on the author, but I don’t want this to take away from the subject of “The Yellow Wallpaper” itself (I know some of Gilman’s bio directly relates to this story, but I don’t know how to talk about it without sounding like I’m going off on a tangent). Overall, I do feel like I will have a lot to reflect on by the end of this process.
Since my last post on this topic, I have written a close reading annotation for my digital edition assignment. I received great feedback from my peer group and Professor Tuttle. I think I have truly identified how exactly to dive deeper into a text and work with the specific language and authorial moves within a small piece of text. I chose to frame my annotations this way because I found that this is what makes an annotation the most helpful. I realized this when completing our first assignment of looking through an example digital edition. I also wrote my thesis statement and will begin to draft my critical introduction soon. I will definitely need more guidance on what exactly should be included in this introduction, but I know that that information can be found on the course site. I am wondering how much of the introduction should be summary versus analysis.
WHEN REFLECTING ON THE COURSE AND EPORTFOLIO…
In terms of ePortfolio, I have gone through Professor Gennaco to create a separate site for my digital edition to live. I have started to customize and edit this site to make it more suitable for what I would like for my project. I am definitely still figuring out the organization, and I think I will know more on this when I start to complete some of the parts of the project. In terms of this course, I am fascinated by the content recently, mostly when we discussed systemic racism. I am currently taking a trauma class, and it is evident that systemic racism is a cause for trauma and can have a significant impact on your brain, sometimes affecting your mental health. This is a lens that people sometimes don’t see or choose not to see.
After browsing the learning outcomes defined for this course, I have found myself to be engaging with the following outcome the most: discern a text’s literal content, identify and analyze its rhetorical strategies, and extrapolate its historical and cultural implications. I think this outcome has been the basis of what we have done in class through our class discussions. I have found myself working with and proving that I am perform this outcome the most. For every text we have read so far, we devote class time to getting to the bottom of what the text is about, what it is arguing about the historical and cultural implications of the time, and the rhetorical strategies the author uses to frame his/her argument. This skill is something that I have used throughout all my courses at UNE, and even in high school. I am able to better understand a text if I know what it is literally talking about, and then I can begin to analyze it for its cultural or historical importance. Acquiring this skill has definitely made me a more critical reader and writer. Personally, I love the feeling and satisfaction of when I am able to figure out the meaning of a text and start to analyze its importance… it’s similar to the feeling of piecing all the puzzle pieces together. Once I have done this, I am able to dig deeper and get to the not-so-obvious meaning (which is the fun part)!
Since my last reflection blog, I was able to write both a close reading annotation, and a secondary annotation, and I feel a lot more confident in my abilities to judge these types of writing. After doing both of these assignments, I have been able to determine (for myself) what parts of a text stand out to me and make me want to talk more about. I love to annotate based on the grammatical or structural choices an author makes within their piece. I think it is super interesting to take one of those choices and expand it further to determine its relevance in the text as a whole. In my close reading annotation, I touched on the use of an em dash, and in my secondary annotation, I looked at the use of an oxymoron. Both of these details allowed me to highlight the author’s purpose, but also the content of their text. I think this is what annotations should be about. And, I find these types of annotations to be more helpful to me, as a reader, because I am able to see a physical piece of the text discussed in a more metaphorical meaning. As for critical introductions, I haven’t been able to explore many of those or write one myself yet, other than the one I reviewed a few weeks ago. Additionally, I liked how in my secondary annotation, I was able to draw on another credible and relevant source to enhance and support my thinking. This was very beneficial to me, as the critical reader and commenter, to digest the text.
When reflecting on the course and ePortfolio…
I do not have any struggles or difficulties with ePortfolio as of right now. I am sure that as I start to develop my digital edition on this platform, questions will most likely arise. I also read Professor Tuttle’s feedback on my entry a few weeks ago, and I am now comfortable/confident in my set up of these reflection blogs. I am curious to see if any of my other courses this semester will bring in elements of ePortfolio (maybe even ENG 200 like you said, Prof. Tuttle).
After reviewing a sample digital edition this week, I was able to recognize what it is that editors choose to annotate on their sites. It seems that editors choose a specific word, phrase, theme, and/or grammatical choice to focus on and dive deeper into. This choice might come from what catches their eye as they analyze the work they are drawing from. Additionally, it seems that editors choose not to annotate pieces of the text that are very plain and self-explanatory. The annotations that are most helpful are those that can cite actual textual evidence from either the work they are discussing, or outside sources that can back up their claims. Throughout my work with this one digital edition this week, the annotations that were able to point to specific parts of the text to strengthen the claims were the most powerful and believable. The purpose of a critical introduction, in my opinion, is to hear the editor’s opinion of what the text reveals to them. The process of reading the introduction (to hear the editor’s voice about the text), and then reading the primary source itself, is very interesting. You can almost read the primary source with the lens of the editor in mind. It allows me to form my own opinions about the primary source, but also have another voice in my head as well. While the editor of the digital edition I viewed did not explicitly bring in many secondary sources through his/her annotations, I did notice other sources referenced throughout the site. For example, there were links to a TED Talk from the author of the primary source, an interview with the author, and a recipe from one of the meals discussed within the primary source poem. I did not feel that these sources helped with the editor’s argument, because they were just placed on the site for viewers to look at, but I could see the potential they would have for discussion, if the editor brought them into his/her annotations or introduction more. Looking at this edition, I felt that the sources that lend credibility to the edition itself were the examples taken from the poem, the TED Talk, and the interview with the author of the primary source. All three of these examples allow viewers to learn more about the subject of this digital edition. The recipe included at the end of the site was not as helpful (and somewhat detracted from the site) because it did not add anything to my knowledge of the topic. However, I do feel it was a nice, creative touch.
When reflecting on the course and ePortfolio…
I feel that my skills are pretty sufficient when it comes to WordPress and ePortfolio. The only thing I seem to be struggling with is how to place a post under a page, without adding it to the menu of the site. As you can see for this post, it is included on the menu of my site as “Reflection Blog #1,” but I’m wondering how I can have it exist as a post, but not be placed on the menu (and instead, be placed under the “Reflection Blog” tab). I have used this platform for many other courses, both my English and Education courses; but, I could also see myself presenting this site to a future employer (since it encompasses so much of my work during these past few years). In terms of the course, we haven’t fully been able to dive into these big, overarching topics just yet. But, I do feel that I have already learned that the topic of “mental illness” is presented in many forms, both through behavior and terminology. There are several behaviors (some that I would never consider to be classified in this way) that would condemn someone as “mentally ill” during this time period. Additionally, there are many words and phrases that can define mental illness.
Looking at the CLASS DATA, what conclusions can you draw about the nutritional value of the meals/snack this group of students is consuming?
When reviewing the graphs from my class, I noticed a few observations about the diet of my classmates. Generally, most students were under their recommended calorie amount. Similarly, most students were under the recommended water amount. Also, most found that their amount carbohydrate intake was under recommended amount. Additionally, as expected, most students got more protein than recommended. For fat intake, the graphs showed about an equal amount of students that had under the recommended amount and over the recommended amount. Looking at all the graphs generally, most students were under more of the categories than over/just right. This means that most of my classmates could use more nutrients depending on the category. For some, they should cut down the amount of nutrients depending on the category.
Assuming the majority of the food consumed is from the Commons Dining Hall and/or other venues on campus, what suggestions do you have for the food service managers?
Considering the majority of food here is consumed from the dining services offered by our campus, I suggest there should be a variety of both healthy and not-so-healthy options. I believe there should be a balance between super healthy options and moderately healthy options so that all students feel that they have an option at the dining hall. I’ve found that some times when I went to the dining hall, there are little to no healthy options for me and I am forced to eat a certain way. I think it is important for students to have a variety of food so that they can make an informed decision to eat healthy.
What spices do you wish were available in the dining hall? Are there nutrients in spices?
Because there are nutrients in spices, I wish there were more spices available in the dining hall. I would like to see spices like black pepper, garlic, parsley, basil, oregano, and dill.