Recording Our History So ALL Can Benefit

If all that is recorded are male triumphs, how will both genders have a better understanding of women’s potential? Such was the question posed and struggled with today in class. Some responses were hopeful and some were disheartening. Still, all needed to be heard. 

One of the early criticisms of the women's studies class was that it favored women over men.  I had to encourage people to look at textbooks and note how women were either referenced in a line or two or noted in a sidebar.  In other words, there was nothing that showed the contributions of women were in fact significant.  Why?

Is it as easy to explain as we were too busy doing everything else to find the time to write? Or is it that women were afraid to appear too boastful or conceited?  No matter what the line of thinking is, I believe it needs to be shifted.  As the mother of a daughter and a son, I believe my husband and I have a responsibility to share our story, including our triumphs and challenges.  While it may never make its way into the history books studied in the world of academia, it is still history - our history.  As an educator, and member of society, I believe everyone has a responsibility to record their experiences, regardless of gender.  For what if, in the midst of the recording, something powerful is learned or insight gained?

As women such as DeeDee Myers, Susan Faludi, Gloria Steinem and Gail Collins put fingers to keyboards to draw attention to the challenges women have faced, they support the idea that we do have value, that we do have a voice and that yes, women have had a profound impact on society and the world, far beyond the hearth and home.  And so, I thank all women who take the time to record their personal history for giving everyone a voice, and showing that every life has value and every life has the potential to contribute a story from which we can learn and grow. While some of the young women in class today felt that things would not change in their lifetime, I have to believe otherwise.  For when this class started three years ago with 23 students, I had no idea that we would have a current enrollment of 120.  I BELIEVE in my students. I BELIEVE they have a place in history. I BELIEVE that they will live in a time when one's gender does not lead them to be automatically elevated in a society or automatically denegrated in a society. I BELIEVE so much I am willing to put my fingers to the keyboard and record it.

 

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