Reaction Paper #1
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Reaction Paper #1

Course: BUAD 305, Spring 2007

School: USC

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Sarah Levy 1/20/04 SWMS 301m Reaction Paper #1 I didn't expect to be emotionally moved after the first day of class. I thought that the semester as a whole would have an impact on me--it's why I took the class to begin with. But something happened the Wednesday after class, January 14, 2004. I don't really know what it was, but I'm going to call it a Liberation. I was at my apartment, lying on my bed, reading bell...

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Levy Sarah 1/20/04 SWMS 301m Reaction Paper #1 I didn't expect to be emotionally moved after the first day of class. I thought that the semester as a whole would have an impact on me--it's why I took the class to begin with. But something happened the Wednesday after class, January 14, 2004. I don't really know what it was, but I'm going to call it a Liberation. I was at my apartment, lying on my bed, reading bell hooks. Much of it was having an impact on me; I was struggling to keep my emotions in check. Over the past couple of days, I had been dealing with questions about my rights as a person: not as a woman, but as a person. Do I have the right to feel like I am a person? Do I have the right to tell people what's on my mind, even if they get offended? Finally, what is the role of sensations--sight, smell, touch, taste, sound--in my rights as a person? Then, I came to the passage: Today's fashion magazines may carry an article about the dangers of anorexia while bombarding its readers with images of emaciated young bodies representing the height of beauty and desirability. The confusing message is most damaging to those females who have never claimed a feminist politics. (Hooks 34-35) My throat closed up and tears pulsed behind my eyes. I shook my head; this was so bizarre. So yeah, I had a couple eating disorders as a kid. Big fucking deal. I'm over it now, right? I've moved on. I've stopped weighing myself incessantly. I've renewed my love for cheesecake. I'm better, right? Obviously not. The tears came, and I turned my head onto my pillow, sobbing, heaving, choking on my feelings. I felt so angry. All this time, I had been told I wasn't good enough, that I wasn't pretty enough or skinny enough or my breasts weren't big enough for me to be attractive to anyone. Men were better than me, women were better than me, and cute probably puppies had the edge, too. No one could ever love me...people were just pretending. I thought I knew what feminism was. I never read those magazines like Seventeen, I never wear skirts, I detest Britney Spears, and I only dated boys a couple of times because I didn't know it was possible to date women. But now...what was this? I discovered I am a person. The feminism I knew was a school of thought still rooted in patriarchic ideals. Women could be strong, as long as they wear makeup. Women can have jobs, as long as they can be controlled by men. Women can play sports, as long as they sell beer commercials. Women can exist, as long as they don't assert their existence. Bell hooks taught me that asserting existence is existence. My life isn't about selling Coronas to spectators; it's about being the main event. Why wasn't I taught this over the past 19 years? I write this with tears still on my face, and my throat choked up. It sounds so silly to say "I have discovered I am a person", but I have. I am not a non-person, I am not a thing that's less than a person...I am a person, equal to all other people. Not only am I a person, but I am a woman. It is no longer women...it is Us. We. Women. People. For the first time in my adult life, I do not feel alone. To be honest, I don't think this was all caused by a 2 hour class and bell hooks. This revelation was a long-time coming. For years, I have walked around, feeling like I'm a step slower, or behind, than everyone else. Now I know. It's not that I felt a step slower, but I felt a step lower. I have told myself this day would come, the day when I caught up to everyone else. Has it? Am I truly Liberated? I don't know. But today, I underwent a mental paradigm shift. I am a different person than I was four hours ago. Maybe it's because finally, I am a person.

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