STORY BY SEAN CALHOUN
It seems to me that feminism has almost become a dirty word in some areas of our modern culture. Inherent biases against activism and societal change and modern society’s lingering sexism, lead to a marginalization of the movement, its proponents and its core tenets. I often disparaged feminism as well, before I learned what it truly meant. Through my first-year seminar, “Social Justice: Confronting Culture, Creating Change,” I learned what feminism really is and how it benefits everyone in society.
Before taking this course, I was under the impression that feminism was something reserved for women. Public discourse about feminism is dominated by discussions of women’s rights and women’s equality in society. I assumed that, as a male, feminism carried no weight for me. Through my FYS, however, I learned that feminism is so much more than that. Feminism is predicated upon securing equal rights and opportunities for all sorts of marginalized groups, whether it be women, people of color, disabled individuals, the LGBTQ community or anyone else facing oppression in society. As such, feminism becomes everyone’s issue. It is in our best interests to support feminism and its impact upon society. Men can also contribute to feminism by acting as allies and actively reinforcing the ideas of others.
This was not the only bias I took into my FYS course. Before taking the seminar, I viewed feminism specifically, and social justice generally, as largely an act of wishful thinking. I thought that “social justice warriors” would not be able to accomplish anything in the real world, and that it was a useless exercise. However, I now see social justice as a legitimate engine for change and societal good. The force of social justice can create positive change in institutions and societies, and the college generation can be a driving force to make this happen.
Before I began this semester, I could not have possibly predicted all of the ways my first-year seminar would impact my life and thinking. It has changed the way I think and act, and has made me a more active proponent of justice and equality. The issues I have learned about are issues that impact us all, and they cannot be taken lightly.
Remember: societal issues are our issues, and we have the power to change them.