For my final project I want to reflect really on the class, and how we all ( as different as we were) interacted.

I want to start off saying, this class I took on a whim, WGS350; women and gender studies. I must admit I wasn’t even sure what that was, or what that meant, but I would soon find out.

The first day was intimidating, there were students who really had opinions and were really vocal about them, one student declared on the first day ” I love Queer studies”, and there I was not even being clear on what “queer studies” was ( I didn’t even know queer was a cool word to use, I was under the impression it was still a rude word). Questions about dropping the class raced through my mind, would I be able to keep up? Would my thoughts sound stupid compare to the wiser more experienced women and gender study’s students. Sure, it sounds rather silly now, but its true. I was in an unfamiliar place, with unfamiliar people of course I was out of my comfort zone.

To be completely honest I had never read books so explicit in language and in content than the books I had read for this class. At times, to be candid and completely honestly, I felt as if the explicit nature of some of the novels was unnecessary, even vulgar and at times made me really uncomfortable. But again, this was something I was looking to do- step out of my comfort zone, feel uncomfortable and open my mind to different things. And believe me in this class we talks about many different things.

We spoke and discussed topics from “what is dirty?”, “are people really straight or really gay, or are we all just liquid?”, one of the more heated debates came from the discussion of “what is love?”. And as I said before what made this class so great was the different opinions. Many of us believed that no person is gay or straight, we fall in love with people, not gender. Others spoke out to say of course there is straight, or gay there is no way they could love a gender that they weren’t attracted to. As for what we thought was dirty, almost every single one of us had different ideas, some of us thought dirty was tabu sex, others thought the idea of dirty demanded on what type of culture or society it was. We all did agree that different social groups and different societies had different ideas of sex, gender roles, and taboos. I thought a fair amount of the students in the class were from a similar social group, or that they could relate to each other. For me, I felt that my social group was completely different from most of the other’s groups. The people I know are defiantly not as open, or as liberal minded as my fellow students or their groups.

As for my social group, or social circle as sad as it is I feel as if the people in my social circle or in the group of people I know are pretty much similar. We all sort of like the same things, do the same things, speak the same way, and have pretty much the same thoughts. I know this sounds horrible, but it is true. Again to be painfully honest my friends would never take a class like this, I didn’t even discuss the contents of the class with any of them because I knew they wouldn’t understand. Sometimes I think groups of mold into clones of each other, in order to be friends we all want to be alike. I’m not sure we realize this, but thinking about in depth I must agreed it’s true. Personally, I wanted to branch out, I wanted to learn something different, I didn’t want to be a clone of my friends. I wanted to have my own thoughts, I want to be open minded, and most importantly maybe I didn’t want to be confined to a limited group of people.

By taking this class, being exposed to it’s content, and the other students in the class I feel refreshed. The classroom was truly a “safe place”, a safe room, we could say anything we wanted an we wouldn’t be judged, and we could say WHATEVER we wanted ( as long as it didn’t offend anyone) and feel safe about what we had said.

The theme of the class was indeed openness. I hope even after this class, I will remain open to other people’s ideas, beliefs, lifestyles that maybe I don’t take part in or that maybe I don’t agree with. I feel as though I have changed. From the beginning to the end of the class my voice and my opinions have become stronger, now I can speak my mind without the fear of being put down or disagreed with. I’ve learned its really okay to disagree with others as long as you respect each other’s opinions. This may seem cheesy, or very elementary, and well it is, but still we don’t really remember these simple guidelines.

While taking this class I have also noticed the level of homophobia among males especially. I never really noticed how politically incorrect and really offensive the guys I hang around with are. I’m not sure if I was immune to it before, or I just didn’t care. The way the males I interact with use queer terms to insult each other. An example is when a boy isn’t being manly enough he’s called a “fag”, or a “homo”. I am now more aware and more interested with the male’s preoccupation with masculinity and their fears of being deemed gay among their peers. Being enlighten to queer issues now, I’m not really sure how to react when this happens. Like should I correct them? Should I ignore them? Should I not be offended? I’m really not sure. I’m going to create a poll and insert it at the bottom of this post and see how you ( my readers) feel about homophobia, and what’s the proper way to react to it?

I want to conclude this post saying this class taught me a lot about queer life and the different terminology, and the liquid nature that the queer peoples can and do embrace. I also, actually, learned a lot about myself and how to disagree effectively. I am grateful ( as cheesy as this sounds) to the other students in the class, they, even more the the queer literature, taught me so much about queer studies.