Thursday, January 15, 2015

What is feminism and why should we care?

I'm a nerd and words are really important to me. Also, I'm a feminist. The words "feminist" and "feminism" have been really misunderstood, and because I am who I am, I feel that it is partly my responsibility to explain what they mean to me. I also think I should explain why it matters to me that other people understand these terms. This is more than a grammatical issue; it has to do with how we think about people and the labels that we use. So often I hear or read "feminist" as an insult lately. It gets used as a label for people, usually women, who are perceived as somehow going too far in their search for women's rights. Unfortunately, this is an incredibly narrow definition, and both men and women mistakenly use it to label those women whom they perceive as radically beyond acceptable bounds. This is not how I use the term feminist, and I am doing my best to share the broader, more accurate definition.
In the most basic terms, a feminist is a person (male or female) who believes that women are people. Merriam-Webster defines feminism this way:

noun \ˈfe-mə-ˌni-zəm\

: the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities
: organized activity in support of women's rights and interests

Sunday, January 4, 2015

2015: New things

So it's been a while since I wrote my last post, and many things have happened. For one, I met this guy, and we're getting married in April. Thankfully, most of the wedding plans are set, so I won't have to stress out about that during this semester. Christmas was good, I finished my own classes, turned in the grades for the class I teach, and got my new teaching assignment. Which is the same as my last teaching assignment. I'm teaching at 8 in the morning, Monday through Friday, once again. And my other classes are at 11and 4-6 MWF, and 1-1:20 TTh. I'm sure worse schedules exist, but I can't think of many. The main good thing about this schedule is that I'll have plenty of time on campus to study and write my thesis. I'm trying to focus on that... because I need to get lots of work done this semester. I have an Independent Study course to finish up on top of the other three and writing my thesis. Hopefully that will pay off and my thesis will be mostly written before the wedding on April 23. I am really excite about my thesis, because I love my topic and I want to share my ideas with ... well, all the people who are likely to read it. Which isn't many, but I'll rework it for publication later, so it'll be useful.
I do love studying... That's why I got myself into this program and why I applied to eight PhD programs for next fall. Yes. EIGHT. Here's crossing my fingers that I'll get into at least one of them, because I don't know what I'll do if not. I love reading and writing and sharing ideas. It's what I do. So I'm excited for the opportunity to do lots more of it. At the same time, it's fairly overwhelming. But I know I can do it with support from friends and family and God. Without that support, there'd be no way. I just can't imagine doing anything else with my life, because this is what I want to do. I'm committed to this path, and I'm really grateful for a fiance who's willing to come along for the ride while pursuing his own goals.
Every year, sometimes every day, brings new challenges. And there's really nothing to be done but keep moving forward. Happy New Year!