Gender Week: LWHS Community Voices

Gender is complex. Whether it’s the clothes we wear, the way we walk down the hall, or the books we read, ideas about gender affect all of us. Ideas about gender can explain the wage gap between men and women, the debate over contraception, and even beliefs about who would make the most viable presidential candidate. Just like other identifiers, gender is also intersectional; being a queer, black woman exposes a person to different lived experiences and  forms of structural violence than being a white woman from the rural south.

In the Center, we strive to not only  expose these gender norms, biases, and expectations, but to truly question the categories themselves. Recently we worked with LWHS Facilities to create clear signage around campus for the school’s very first all-gender bathroom. Acts like this support an understanding that gender is not a binary, not an inborn trait, or a fixed identity. This sort of fluid, non-binary thinking is not natural for everyone. Gender is something we are taught from a very young age and socialized to believe. Undoing this work is difficult bot doable. It starts with having hard conversations, questioning our beliefs, and intentionally building not simply tolerant spaces and communities, but actively pursuing social justice for marginalized identities.

––Marley Pierce, Student Life Program Assistant / Web Editor

 

I have always been a “little girl.”

I’m four-foot eleven and have long hair.  My hands and feet are tiny.  Over the years people I meet have called me “fairy princess” and “doll,” and even told me, “you’re literally Snow White.”  I ask others to fetch things for me when they’re on high shelves, prefer literature and the arts to STEM fields, and don’t play sports.

Do these truths make me weak?  Do they place me squarely in the stereotypical “girly-girl” pit that so many women (including me) believe is too narrow and unhealthy for young girls and old women alike?

I certainly hope not.  But the truth is, I’m not sure.

Lately, women’s rights has been all about acceptance for those who are tall and strong, those who want to work in STEM, and those who used to be men.  I support all of these efforts, but am left wondering if by being myself I’m somehow detrimental to the women’s rights movement.

––Rachael Cornejo ’16

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About Zoe Harris

Zoe Harris, a senior, is celebrating her third year as co-managing editor of the Hyphen and as a reporter for the Paper Tiger. She is a leader of the literary magazine club, Lit Mag, and has written far too many weird poems. Zoe loves writing by Junot Díaz, David Sedaris, Mary Oliver, and Richard Siken, and the Harry Potter character she most closely identifies with is Luna Lovegood. She loves the Hyphen dearly and hopes readers do, too.

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