Wrapping up my first semester in grad school.

Grad school has been exhilarating and stressful. It has taught me a lot, and has served as an avenue to express what I already know. Today was the last day of my feminist theories class, and all of my classmates presented their research and work from the past four months.

Every project was fascinating, and it is both overwhelming and inspiring to think about how many stories there are in the world left to be studied and told. Some of the highlights from this class include:

D’s autoethnography which discussed issues of race and class. One point that struck me was the concept of “horizontal hostility” – ‘rednecks’ pridefully viewing themselves as ‘original settlers,’ which distances them as a group from exploited social groups, while being exploited within larger social systems. It is interesting to think about how race can render economic exploitation invisible.

N’s project on discourses surrounding FGM versus western cosmetic surgeries discussed how immigrant bodies are viewed as having been “mutilated.” This made me wonder whether transwomen’s bodies, those that have surgically transitioned, are also seen as “mutilated” bodies, and what the consequences of such a label would be.

M’s project about femme invisibility in lesbian imagery raised important questions regarding “genuine lesbianism,” which is seen as the “butch dyke,” often deemed to be of working or lower-class. This made me think about notions of citizenship, and how citizenship and “genuine lesbianism” are conflicting ideology when you look at it from a critical class perspective.

I’m happy to say that both my courses and my classmates have challenged me to think critically about feminist topics and social issues, and I’m already looking forward to next semester!

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