A personal reflection of long-term intern, Megan Leatherman
My foray into feminism happened serendipitously. In my sophomore year of college, I desperately needed five more general education units, so I signed up for an obscure course called “Introduction to Women’s Studies.” I’m mortified to admit that I assumed it would be like one of those home-economics courses that American high schools still offer. As a naive 19 year-old at a conservative Christian university, I was shocked to find out that my religious, social, and cultural histories were ridden with the hatred of women; even more so, I was shocked to learn that patriarchy may not be the ‘natural’ or ‘ideal’ state of human affairs. As the scales fell from my eyes, I became increasingly enraged by all of the bullshit that I saw around me and overwhelmed by the seemingly ubiquitous web of sexism, racism, heteronormativism, and the rest of those “isms” that divide people. Feminists describe a set of very real emotions that they go through once their consciousness is raised, and I’m happy to report that I’ve made it out of the “angry” and “overwhelmed” phases. The tenets of feminism have become internalized within my worldview, and challenge me to: a) continue examining the ways in which I contribute to the discrimination of others, and b) remain persistent in the work to dismantle gender inequity in the global community of which I am a part. It’s not as though I adhere to these values all of the time – among other vices, I listen to sexist music and can’t be bothered to protest more than once in a blue moon. So perhaps I’m not getting the “Feminist of the Year” award anytime soon, but I think the real test is not in how radical I am, but in my faithfulness to the struggle.