My Feminist Moment of Enlightenment
by Chelsea ConawayFeminist Wednesday University Ambassador
Growing up in a traditional Mexican family in the rural south, “feminist” was always a dirty word. South Texas is still plagued with a severely patriarchal “culture of honor” which compels males to be strong, respected individuals, while females get be the housewife standing behind them. As if that wasn’t bad enough, traditional Mexican culture dictates that women should be subservient to their husbands and their only goal in life is to be good wives and mothers. This is the culture I grew up in. This culture taught me that feminists are man-hating extremists who seek to force women away from their duties as wives and mothers.
I began my higher education at a small university near my hometown, which promoted many of the same anti-feminist beliefs. As a result of my ambition and determination, I earned excellent grades and was finally able to move away from my rural hometown to the very metropolitan Houston, Texas. I transferred to the University of Houston to finish out the rest of my undergraduate education. It was here that I began taking classes with one bad ass feminist, Dr. Kristin Anderson, Ph. D.
Dr. Anderson is a very outspoken and charismatic professor who has an unparalleled passion for feminism. Over the course of her Social Psychology class, she forced us out of our comfort zones and challenged us to look at the world around us with a new perspective. It was in this class that I had my feminist moment of enlightenment.
Through Dr. Anderson I learned to be observant and critical about the way women are treated in our society. Her style of teaching was just the push I needed to realize that what I had been taught all my life was wrong. I realized that by holding on to these antiquated beliefs, I was allowing myself to be put down and disrespected. I was allowing my talents and potential to be squandered.
Although I believe there is nothing wrong with having motherhood and marriage as life goals, I decided that those were no longer my primary life ambitions. I can now proudly say that I am a college junior and an honors student majoring in psychology and philosophy with minors in professional writing and ethnic studies. Feminism has lit a fire under me that made me believe that I can achieve more than I ever thought possible. I am now pursuing a Ph. D in Clinical Psychology, and have high hopes for the future. [divider type="thin"]