In the longest five weeks of my life – our class went on an enlightening journey across the 20th century and into elizabethan times to discover: how much, yet how little, has changed for women?
The defining moment, and one of our first topics in class, for women’s rights in the 20th century was the suffragette movement. The movement gave a voice to the silent, and moulded the conditions of women for the century. As you might expect voting was a highly contentious topic, and many were adamantly against it – forming an anti-suffragette coalition. Men of the time were anxious of losing the gender dynamic and seemed to be haunted by the notion “that the advancement of women will sometime, someway, someplace, interfere with some man’s comfort” as perfectly said by Nelly McClung.
To side step, in the course of 5 weeks, I wrote 4 different posts on points of interest during given times. In one case, I talked about the anti-suffragettes, and why they were so imposed by women voting.
As I learned about the trails and tribulation of the suffragettes, what became painfully clear was that rights don’t always mean equality. In this instants, we know in spite of women winning the write to vote, and supposedly being made “equal” in the name of the law – they were still far from equal, as women today are still protesting in the streets for rights. This idea of continuity and change in respects to the suffragette movement, is made whole in my first writing assignment the Academic Conclusion, my first stab at designing text. In my mind this was a great learning experience and helped build a strong foundation of understanding, of what good text looks like. The main take away being “go deeper, not bigger”. Meaning, it is considerably more powerful to go in to detail about a specific idea, then to go into a lot of broad ideas. A point of learning I carried with me throughout the rest of the unit. On top of this learning, my last draft, was a great example of my understanding of continuity and change. In this write up, I came up to a conclusion that despite winning the right to vote, we have fallen disturbingly short from equality. I supported these statements with stats and references, from modern day to the early 20th century.
The year is 1950, and you are a young women who’s aspirations go as far as tonights dinner and dry cleaning your husbands suit. In my mind the 50s represent the idea of “good american values”, being a great time for capitalism and a bad time for women. For this course we were tasked to present in groups a particular decade of women’s rights, mine being the 50s. Admittedly, I was set on the 2000s – turns out it was a blessing I researched the 50s since I used it as reference, time and time again for the following projects. For this presentation my group, Emily, Adlih, Alex, and I, collaborated to create an awesome project. Regardless, there were definitely points of turbulence, one being my presentation skills. My cheeks went red, palms sweaty, and got all nervous, spiralling into a pretty poor presentation. Fortunately, I came out feeling like a winner as I took substantial notes on each groups decade, which included a majority of the 20th century. In addition, I did extensive research and I believe that shined through. This extensive research was difficult because I had to differentiate between, helpful and unhelpful sources. This took a certain level on comprehension to the text. I was careful when using certain resources, and when I did, I highlighted who created the text and for what purpose.
Shakespeare was by no means a feminist, and neither were his plays. Despite this, they are a great representation of the change and continuity of women’s rights and equality, in contrast to today. For that reason, Shakespeare’s “The Taming Of The Shrew” became the cornerstone of our references and understanding. In all honesty, I am far from a Shakespeare junky – but found this play engaging. It had strong and interesting ties to women’s rights, and also had humour. Although it was engaging, it was by no means easy to follow (but when has shakespeare ever been). This was a struggle, and probably not my strongest example of my ability to comprehend text.
Writing is a process, and thats exactly what I learned. Across the timeline, I created multiple outlines, thesis’s, and drafts. In reality, what prepared me most for the essay was the extensive notes, common-lit readings, essay analysis’s, videos, and “The Taming Of The Shrew” readings. These ideas were the foundation of my essay. Without the resources, it is no more than a high-school kids opinion. One example of how genuinely connected all my learning was, was how the research from my group project drove and inspired my thesis. My thesis being: “Women of the 20th century acted as primary care givers and homemakers in their role in support of their husbands, while women today must both provide for the family through increase participation in the workforce and act as primary homemaker, a situation as challenging as it is unfair.”
As I was writing, designing text was fundamental, and the root of most of my revisions. I have always struggled with my writing demons. These demons, always lead me down the path of writing dry, and monotone. From the first draft to the last, I worked extensively on incorporating my voice. Even now, I wish I took more creative risk.
From my Academic conclusion where I told Ms. Willemse: “I don’t think I can write much better than that” to my last essay were I eventually wrote “much better than that”, I have progressed on many levels in the past 5 weeks. Its bigger than a simple essay, I learned that I really enjoy writing, and I also much more academically confident. I am hoping to do some more writing in-between our PLP break, and I might very well turn into a semi-capable writer.