Why You Should Take a Women's Studies Class
This semester is possibly my busiest one yet.
During this semester I'm simultaneously taking one of the hardest classes I've ever taken and one of the best classes I've ever taken. They aren't the same class. And the hard one is at 8 a.m.
On top of that, I joined the honors communication program, which basically means I have to take these special classes and write a long thesis paper during my senior year.
I'm also doing a paid internship now, and a different, unpaid internship in the summer. (Yay for free labor!) And I'm working on a whole leasing process for a place to live next year.
I'm also working on something very exciting for Mulattea that will be coming to you soon.
On a final note, I'm also trying to join a women's studies honor society thing at UMD.
Needless to say, I'm skressed. Not stressed. SKRESSED.
It was while I wrote my application to Triota (the women's studies thing) that I knew what to write about for this Mulattea Monday.
But first, I should tell you guys about my journey through the women's studies department.
When I was a wee little second semester freshman, I was looking for a class to satisfy my humanities gen ed. As I scrolled through the courses, I decided to take a peek at the women's studies classes. I saw one, WMST250-Women's Art, Culture, and Literature, that sounded interesting. I registered immediately.
I really enjoyed the class, and it was an interesting type of work. Women's studies is interdisciplinary. It relies on research, qualitative and quantitative, history, innovation, communication— you name it, women's studies uses it. And I really liked that. It was so different from the other classes I was taking.
It was in that classroom that I saw a pamphlet on the ground that advertised the women's studies majors and minors. My eyes honed in on the black women's studies minor, and I picked it up that semester.
This year, about 3/5ths of the way through my minor, I was talking to a few friends that are women's studies majors. One of them mentioned that they're in Triota, an honor society for women's studies. I sent my application in that night.
My journey through the women's studies department has been completely impulse driven. I see it, I do it. And that feeling when I click register, schedule that advising appointment, submit that application— it's always the same.
Long deserved selfishness.
My high school's history classes were very male centered. History with an emphasis on "his." The only exception was when we learned about feminism in my world views class, and in that case it was all white women.
Growing up, I genuinely didn't identify with any of American history because I didn't feel involved. It seemed like black women were slaves and then they were house servants and somehow we got to the present. There were tons of unexplained gaps in the history of black women, and I didn't know where they came from or what they accomplished. Names like Audre Lorde and bell hooks simply didn't exist for me, and feminism only sought to support one type of woman.
Until it didn't.
Until I went to my SUPER liberal, satan worshipping college. (JK)
So when I see these classes, this whole department, this knowledge that was previously inaccessible to me, I feel selfish. Not in a bad way, like self centeredness that doesn't seek to serve others. I feel a collective selfishness for black women and other women of color that have been erased throughout history.
Like, finally. Finally.
With this feeling of selfishness, I am able to gain back a piece of my identity. That might sound super pretentious and dramatic, but it's true! Do you know how it feels to assume that your history is filled with no accomplishments? That people like you have never brought anything to the table and merely existed for all of these years?
To finally gain an understanding of your history is to gain a piece of your identity.
It's liberating. It's inspiring, and it's about time.