Monday, November 4, 2013

This is why.

I teach a gender studies unit with my sophomores. Maybe some people in the world might object to this, but I try to introduce them to the concept of feminism and gender equality, and there is some media literacy and literature. We start out the year by critiquing Disney fairy tales and the messages they send about femininity, and then we move on to Killing Us Softly 4 and discussion of contemporary feminist issues such as body image/fat-shaming, slut-shaming/oversexualization of women, and the glamourization of violence in the media. We are wrapping up this second part of it with a big project/presentation that is due this week. (And just in case you're curious, we're just starting Cyrano de Bergerac now, and we've been having discussions about society's standards for male beauty.)

Today, before class, one of my students approached me at my desk.

"You really inspire me," she said, all of a sudden.

"... Thank you?" I said, not sure where this came from or where it was going. This is not a student who normally talks to me, unless it's to ask about assignments.

"Seriously, I'm really inspired. All of this stuff that you've been teaching us... like, it's changing my life. I have BDD," she said, her eyes tearing up a bit, "and all this stuff you've been talking about, and like, looking up stuff about it [for the project] and everything - it's really helped me get through it. You seriously inspire me. Thank you so much."

Tearing up a bit myself, I thanked her and told her that if she ever needed someone to talk to, she could come to me, and we hugged before she went back to her seat as the bell rang.

This is why, you guys.

This is why I'm a teacher, and this is why I'm a feminist.

Keep fighting the good fight, my friends.