At age six, I broke into tears when I heard about a man who nearly beat his wife to death with her heels and a pair of scissors. At age eight, I was offended to find out that Kellogg’s wasn’t a Colombian-owned company and that my home country was called the “third world.” At age twelve, I was enraged that my best friend - also twelve – had to walk across the US-Mexican border illegally three times while taking care of her younger siblings. When I came to Duke, I knew I would pursue Women’s Studies because I was much too familiar with injustice.
I found my major to be a profoundly personal challenge and a great source of empowerment. It was through Women’s Studies that I gained a language to speak about my frustrations and name my experiences; I could now translate my sadness and anger to concepts of oppression, patriarchy, colonialism, and privilege, among others. This field has pushed me to think differently. Gender in Popular Culture and Race, Gender, and Sexuality helped me examine my assumptions and encouraged me to step outside of my comfort zone. I learned about paradox within feminism, not to take information at face value, and to question everything. I am grateful that I found Women’s Studies because it has nourished my intellect. I appreciate how much diversity there is in the classes I have taken and topics I have discussed. I’ve not only learned about women, but also about the environment, technol- ogy, world poverty, a variety of art forms, from zine-making to Botticelli’s Birth of Venus, and so much more.
Today, I am still fascinated by the topic of gender, our countless cultural investments to make it seem normal to be a man or a woman, and by how uncomfortable people become when those differences are not clearly defined. I want to attend graduate school and get a PhD in Women’s Studies. Eventually, I hope to share my knowledge so that young people can encounter discussions about gender and feminism earlierin life. Through a career in Women’s Studies I hope to contribute to the lives of others and produce valuable writing in the field. Above all, I will be fair to the women and men that came before me, whether they fought for my rights or not, and honor the feminist spirit I inherited from my mother and the women in my family.