How the “F” Courses Saved Me

Gloria Steinem 1977

{Gloria Steinem 1977. Image Courtesy of Postcard Gallery}

One thing I’ve always been interested in is how we, as women, shape and are shaped by society. The feminist courses I studied in university really woke me up to women’s rights and I’ve never been the same since. I loved what I learned then (my then boyfriend not so much–but as my mother always says, “Better you cry now, than me cry later,” so I ditched him and happily moved on).

What I learned that really stood out for me:

-Women in other countries (so called developing countries) share in the division of labor more equally.

-The concept of hunter-gatherer is different than what I had been previously taught. While there are the hunters who are male and the gatherers who are female, the male’s hunting consists of only 20% of their diet, whereas the female’s job of gathering vegetables, herbs, etc., consists of 80% of their diet. Not such an unimportant job as we have been led to believe.

-Marriage benefits men a lot more than it does women so the concept of “ball and chain,” is insulting and inaccurate.

-The second shift of working at home is largely done by women and they, unfortunately, excuse this repeatedly for the sake of keeping the peace in the family home.

These may not seem like a really big deal, but knowing these things really made me start to look at things differently, albeit it was taught in the context of a few courses so I had a lot of time to read and digest the information.

What this type of knowledge did for me was it taught me that things didn’t have to be the way people around me insisted they had to be. I looked at thing differently and said, “no,” including learning how to stand up for myself.

-Bad boyfriend, gone

-Bad grades, gone

-Low self esteem, gone

-Keeping silent, gone

Speaking out and speaking up for myself without apologies was a huge step and it’s something that is really important to me to this day, but it comes with a price. It sometimes make me very unpopular.

But isn’t standing up for yourself always risky?

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