Was William Shakespeare a raging sexist? Or was he just a very progressive feminist of the Elizabethan era? Ok so you’re probably very confused right now. Welcome back to another one of my signature reflection posts. This unit we studied changes for women in the 20th century, and then connected that to Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew. Taming of the Shrew was not about a wildlife expert training the rodent-like mammal called a shrew like I thought, but instead about men “taming” women who behaved in “rebellious” ways. There are two different ways you can interpret Shakespeare’s writing of this play. Either he was a sexist, just like everyone else in Elizabethan times and wrote this play where the happy ending was a shrewish woman being tamed. Or on the contrary, he was a feminist and wrote this to make audience feel empathy for the “shrew” and was ahead of his time by writing a story like this. While our class had many discussions about which we thought he was, no one can ever know the truth so instead we had to use historical perspective. Besides reading and watching this play we also had many class discussions about music videos and whether they objectify or empower women. These discussions forced us to think about different levels of sexism and how if something happens in the past can the action be compared to standards today? You’re probably thinking that’s a lot of work right? Well guess what there’s more. We also read 6 feminist essays and 10 readings from a site called CommonLit. With all of these different texts to look at and study, our final project came together in the end when everyone in the class wrote individual opinionated essays on the continuity and change for women.

The first core competency I want to talk about is what I would debate is the most important thing to take away from this project. That is the continuity and change, specifically for women over the 20th and early 21st century. The milestone of mine that best shows this is my group’s women’s rights poster. Daniel, Luca, Jamie, and I were given the task of creating a poster and presentation about the continuity and change for women between not just one decade but three! I researched and presented information about the girl power movement of the 90s, Luca then introduced the Me Too movement and discussed the empowerment of women speaking up about sexual abuse. Jamie followed that by discussing women’s education and the wage gap that still exists today. Daniel then concluded it by asking difficult questions about whether the change and continuity we’d seen was positive or negative. Our group had a big conversation about the desensitization of sexualized women nowadays. On social media so many famous people get their clout from exposing their bodies, but if they chose to do that is it bad? It was these kinds of questions that really made me think deeply about how change and continuity is so much more meaningful if you can identify whether it was negative or positive. Unfortunately for us with this topic there’s no way of knowing if our society’s new ways are positive or negative until the future.


The next milestone was comprehending texts and lucky for me, we read a lot of texts so I have many things to choose from. I believe I showed this skill greatest in our essay comprehension. Apart from Cosmo Girls, I really enjoyed reading all the essays Willemse assigned to us. It really opened my eyes to what non 5 paragraph essays can look like. While I read these essays I would take notes about important things it brought up. I then used these to help myself answer the questions. Not only did I just read the essays and answer the questions but I also brought up these topics with my family and friends. One day when I was with my family I brought up My Body Is My Own Business and asked whether they thought covering yourself could be seen as empowering. While my mom and I disagreed initially, we both came to the conclusion at the end that being able to choose what to wear is the most empowering. These essays not only helped me find the style I wanted to write my final milestone as, but also pitched interesting perspectives that made me want to have discussions about this topic.


The third competency in this project was designing texts. My outline and final essay, focused on the unequal standards women are held to in politics, are the perfect proof of this competency. I gathered all my ideas around political females together and made a plan for how I wanted to layout my essay on my outline + thesis statement. By making a detailed plan it meant writing the actual essay was much easier and only really required providing evidence. Now when writing the essay the plan changed slightly because I wrote point by point instead of using halves, but the same ideas were used. With my essay I believe I made 5 or more drafts where I put all my ideas I’d been thinking through the whole project into an educated opinion. With lots of refinement and brainstorming I was able to create an essay with a strong message and good use of evidence to support my claims. I am proud of the final essay I wrote and also how much my writing grew. I started the project with a milestone where we had to write about the suffragettes affect on continuity and change and it took me a week of different drafts to get a sunshine. Whereas my final essay probably took less changes and resulted in a rainbow mark. It makes me happy to see my growth in this area as it’s something I can see myself focusing on in the future. CLICK HERE FOR THE ESSAY!


The final milestone I’ll be talking about is using resources and evidence. There is no better way it show this than my 11 page milestone two research document. Initially when making this I didn’t really know what it was so I just wrote down interesting quotes from Taming of the Shrew and thought I was good. Turns out I was not. This document had to include all our different thoughts and ideas we’d learned throughout the entire project with the correct sources. Luckily I remembered everything so I took notes on all the Commonlit readings, the essays, the music videos, the poster presentations, other research, and then at the end wrote concluding notes with themes. When I first handed it in I wasn’t at target so I added and emoji system that showed the perspective of the source to help keep myself unbiased on the topic. I went through many different styles of sources to come to a conclusion about everything we’d leaned.

As you can see this was a very big and complex project, but also a good one for me. In a way this project felt perfect for me. I love talking about both social justice and talking about issues in the world. Then throw in some entertaining Shakespeare, and a final project of writing. All of these different factors made me super excited to come to class and learn. I think because I was so motivated and inspired I was able to produce really strong work on every milestone and stepping stone. I will make sure to take the skills and knowledge I gained from this project into future classes. It also made me start to think about post secondary choices. It was so obvious to everyone around me that this is my passion. I want to learn about social injustices in my future and use the critical thinking techniques I learned in this grade 11 project. Who would’ve known how much a 5 week Shakespeare project would inspire me. Well that’s all for now, till next blog.