For the last five weeks, my Humanities class has been learning about the Women’s Rights movement. If you are not familiar with the term Humanities, think of it as a class partitioned into history and english. The main focus on the history side of class was Women’s Rights in the 20th century, although we did learn about the Suffragette Movement which started in the late 1800s. The main focus on the english side was the play “The Taming of the Shrew,” by William Shakespeare. Throughout this time I have completed four Weekly Reflection posts where I delve into my learning each week. Feel free to check these posts out:
Driving Question – Thesis
We were introduced to the project with a very elaborate Driving Question:
How can we use our study of “The Taming of the Shrew” to understand how much, yet how little, has changed for women?
The first part of this Driving Question connects the topic of “The Taming of the Shrew” to the latter Women’s rights, and although it is not written in this question, our research would be constricted to the 20th century. One of the challenges that I identified early on was connecting the play to the twentieth century. There was a large time gap between the two subjects that would be difficult to address under these restrictions.
In our final project, we were required to write a thesis guided by our inquiry question. I also found this to be very challenging and thought-provoking. I decided to narrow down the topic of Women’s Rights to a specific perspective, the working woman. Throughout the project, I learned about the intricacies of the Women’s Rights Movement and found that this topic was both eye-opening and inspiring. However, this was only the first part of the thesis generation. I also had to include “The Taming of the Shrew,” and how its messages were relevant within the domain of the Twentieth Century. I realized that my topic would need to include both women’s roles in the household and the workplace since they are intertwined. It became clear as I continued to research that society’s pressure for women to be submissive in the household, would eventually spill into the workplace, leading to mass inequalities. This is connected to “The Taming of the Shrew,” because of the submissive housewife stereotypes that the play exemplifies. I decided to incorporate this topic into my final argument in the form of a thesis:
Throughout history, women have been forced to play a submissive role in their households, and as Western society has evolved, this role has spilled into the workplace creating inequity beyond measure.
Similar to projects in the past, the “Shrew You” project consisted of four different curricular competencies. The competencies were put in place to guide my learning towards my learning goals. This project also consisted of six milestones or sub-projects. Each of these milestones was designed to include two to three of the competencies. Below I have listed the specific circular competencies and how I have addressed them.
Identify Continuity and Change:
How are lives and conditions alike over time and how have they changed?
I think the best example of how I addressed this competency was is my first milestone. In this milestone, I was tasked with writing a short essay on the inquiry question: “How can the Suffragette Movement demonstrate both how much and how little has changed for women?” I first interpreted this question to represent the Suffragette Movement as the period where we would start our research. This interpretation represented the Suffragette Movement as a turning point, not as the focus of the essay. After I submitted my final draft, I learned that I was wrong in my assumption. In reality, the Suffragette Movement was the topic of the essay and should directly affect continuity and change. This critique led me to write a different second essay addressing this competency. In hindsight, I have learned how to first focus on a specific event, then broaden my perspective to find changes and similarities in a specific period.
Have I applied a variety of strategies to comprehend texts and express an understanding of how texts use features?
I found this competency most relevant in my 3rd milestone, wherein groups were challenged to chose a decade in the 20th century and address the inquiry question: “How has the role of women in society both stayed alike and changed over time?” Our group chose the 70s, a decade that I knew very little about. After a lot of research, I finally found a topic, that both interested me and applied to the project. This topic was the anti-feminism movement, which in some ways was the devil’s advocate for our driving question. For this project, I was tasked with creating a short educational presentation that my group would present to our class. To complete this project I needed to both comprehend my topic, and eloquently explain it to my class. After the presentation, the class was very interested in the topic I had brought up, and asked many questions regarding the anti-feminism movement. Since I had successfully comprehended my text I was able to respond factually without looking at my notes.
Have I used writing and design processes to plan, develop, create, and refine engaging and meaningful texts considering purpose, audience, and message?
This competency is best represented by milestone 4 and 5. In these milestones, I was finally able to put the research my research to work on my final essay. Milestones 4 was focused on summarizing my research into a thesis statement, and organizing my essay. I found it quite challenging to organize this essay because there was no limit on body paragraphs. The essay style that we were required to use is what some people call a Natural Essay. A Natural Essay is a free-flowing essay that contains many small body paragraphs. This style is quite new to me and it took a while to get a hang of it. I have learned through this project the importance of delving into the specifics instead of widening the topic. This skill proved most helpful in addressing this competency and played a big part in the overall success of my final essay.
Use Evidence from Various Sources:
Have I found diverse sources and evaluated them for their relevance, accuracy, and reliability? How do we evaluate evidence to decide if is adequate to support a historical conclusion?
Using evidence to support my thesis argument was not the most challenging part of this project, but it played a big role in my learning. When I was finalizing my essay I revisited many of the techniques used to cite in MLA format. I think that citing your information is just as important as making the point itself. It has provided stature and confidence in my final essay that I wouldn’t be able to achieve otherwise. In many ways, citing an argument is a sub-project, and takes many hours to complete successfully. Another element of my writing that connects to this competency is transitioning. In the past, I have used evidence to start and finish paragraphs. I’m working on using my thought to transition between paragraphs and only using evidence when I don’t have the prestige to make a solid argument. These two skills helped me address this competency throughout my project, and will positively impact my learning for years to come.
Due to this project, I have learned that every text I interact with has been constructed by its period. To understand the twentieth century, as well as the period we live in, I needed to understand the perspectives that create or have created the narrative. I also recognize that when I study these texts, I can start to understand their influence on the development of the Women’s Rights movement. To answer our project’s driving question, I had to analyze the text, and recognize its significance in the generalized topic of Women’s Rights. Then by using my understanding of continuity and change, I could juxtapose specific historical texts and create an educated thesis based on my conclusion. By comprehending texts, I was also able to purvey my learning to my class and increased my understanding of our topic. When I used the designing text competency, I was able to skillfully create an outline of my essay and provide the correct support to my thesis. Finally, by using evidence I was able to support my thesis even further and cite my knowledge in the correct format.
Most importantly, I have learned that women have been forced into the submissive role for thousands of years, and only in the last century have women had the means to take action. The pernicious ideology of a man’s superiority over a woman has hindered the progression of equality in Western society. Although gender roles have evolved beyond that of the housewife, these beliefs continue to haunt women’s ability to find equity in the workplace.I realize now the relevance and importance of the Women’s Rights Movement, and how this topic has influenced my worldview and my perception of gender inequality.