Fighting with the Sky

Archive for the ‘My Life’ Category

Ok, well, I think everyone should be feminists.  But this is more to comment on my surprise at the use of sexist language and practices within the social work school that I attend.

Most of my interactions occur with other students and I am often surprised at how often I hear sexist, victim-blaming, slut shaming, etc. language.  I thought going into social work I would encounter people who were social justice minded and working to fight oppression.  For the most part, that is what I have encountered.  But there are the occasional times when I hear homophobic language (usually “that’s gay”) or rape jokes.

It just amazes me that people who are social justice minded when it comes to race or class or other social identities cannot recognize sexism and homophobia.

We do talk a lot about LGBT issues in my classes because they present as a “vulnerable population.”  Gender is talked about occasionally by some professors, but not all.  A lot of people recognize that LGBT people are still discriminated against, but don’t recognize that there is still discrimination against women.

So what can we do?  What can I do as a social work student?  We can speak up when we hear oppressive language and sexist comments.  We can bring up the social justice issues surrounding women in classes.  We can fight to end sexism in the greater community.

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I know that I have been absent from the blogging world for a while now, but I feel like I have a good reason for it.  I have started grad school and am pursuing my Master’s degree in Social Work.  It has been a great semester with lots of trials and victories.  As I am nearing the end of my first semester of grad school, I thought it was appropriate to reflect on my journey so far.

I know that I don’t do well with change, so moving to a new city and starting grad school that would launch me in my future career was scary for me.  But once I got to know people here and start school, I easily fell into my new life here and came to embrace all of the opportunities that I have had available to me.

I started my internship at the sexual assault awareness center on at the university that I attend and fell in love with the work that I do there.  I am focusing on macro social work, so most of my work at my internship so far has been dealing with policies and research.  But I love this kind of stuff, so it was great for me.  And all of the people that work there, professional staff, interns, and student volunteers, are great feminists and advocates and I really enjoy spending time there.  I am even thinking of adding an interpersonal practice minor so that next semester I can interact with survivors directly.

My classes this semester have all been foundation courses, so they haven’t always been terribly exciting, but I do feel like I am learning a lot.  And next semester I am starting to take more advanced classes.

So, some things that I have learned about myself this semester:

  • I really want to work in the field of sexual assault and domestic violence.  This is the type of work that really calls to me and through my coursework and my internship, I have realized that I could spend the rest of my life doing this kind of work – with lots of self-care, of course.
  • I’m a football fan.  I have never really been that into sports.  But coming to a university that is known for its football (I’m not going to say where I’m attending, but some people might be able to guess), even if we aren’t doing that well this year, and going to games has made me invested in my team.  I don’t know if I would watch football if it wasn’t a game that involved my team, so I guess I shouldn’t really say that I’m a football fan, but rather a fan of my team.
  • Being around people with similar social justice mindsets again has really solidified my feminist beliefs.  There are some instances where I’m surprised how sexist or racist or prejudice someone in social work can be, but overall, I have found people who share my views on the world and are as passionate about them as I am.
  • I really can handle living on my own.  This is the first time in my life that I have been on my own.  During college, I lived in a dorm all four years and then I moved back home with my parents for a year before I started grad school.  One of the big things that I was worried about what being able to handle this.  I knew I could, but, as I said, I don’t like change.  But I have been able to handle living in my own apartment with a roommate, paying the bills on time (which reminds me…), and navigating a new city by myself.

So, now that I am nearing the end of my first semester, I think that I have a better handle on the work and schedule that grad schools requires and I am going to try to start blogging again.  I have really missed blogging and being a part of the online feminist community, so I am going to try re-entering while also giving adequate time to all of the other things going on in my life.

So hello again!