Almost four years ago I made the decision that all high school seniors had to make. The decision of weather or not I wanted to go to college, and if I did, what school was the one for me.In the end I decided to go to an all girls private catholic school. I use all girls as a somewhat light term, yes all of our dorms are female and our campus is advertised as an all female school. However, we take classes on, eat with, work, and combine activities with the all boys school down the road. In the end we are still considered to be an all girls institution, one that prides itself in empowering women, living in an open and loving community, and allowing for everyone to express their own religion and beliefs.
There are moments in my everyday life that i truly recognize these aspects of the place I call home. As there are only two weeks left of my Junior year my time at the place I’ve called home is almost coming to an end, I’ve been reminiscing about my time here and reflecting on the ideas that my school prides itself on. In some instances I’ve found that there is no hesitation in agreeing with my school. We are an open, welcoming, and loving community that thrives on supporting each student in their lives. However, I’ve also found that in some casing we are missing the target completely. There are still times where our community splits into smaller communities, where some people are left out, and in some cases we are restricted from opportunities to speak our mind on specific topics. Don’t get me wrong, I love my school and everything it does and stands for, but there are some things that need work.
For instance, a few weeks ago I joined my roommate at an open discussion with a student run group on campus called the Institution of Woman’s Leadership. The discussion was titled “Body Politics.” While there we had an open group discussion about woman’s issues. Some of these issues included what our definitions of body politics was, discussing pro life and pro choice- and there actual definitions. Even with women of different ages, sexual identity, race, and ideas we were able to have an open and free discussion on changes that could happen on our campus to improve and promote conversations like this one.
The only thing that really bugged me about this discussion was when our Leader told us how she wanted to have an open discussion on Pro-life and Pro-choice. However, the school told her she wasn’t allowed to because it would give the group and the school a bad image. Living and going to a school on a campus that supports open opinions and discussions about all topics and religions made this hard to comprehend. Yes, I got to a catholic school. Yes, a lot of Catholics don’t agree with abortion. But why are they stopping us from having an open discussion on the true definitions of pro-life and pro-choice? To have a mature conversation and understanding of others view points and openly discuss our concerns. None of it really made sense to me. But, what truly bugged me, what I really got pissed about was this idea combined with another speech I went to.
This speech was also held on our campus, however, it was not student led, and instead was a speech given by a women the school payed for. This speech was called “Can you be Pro-life and feminist?” Thinking this would be an interesting, open, and mature conversation my friends Joe, Cody, and I went. But we were so wrong. This was speech was not interesting and it definitely wasn’t open and mature.
Thinking we were going to a speech that would discuss how you believe you/someone else can be pro-life and feminism, where the movement has gone, how it started, etc. Instead it turned into an event that belittled anyone who was pro-choice. Those who were pro-choice were told they were wrong, that they basically supported rapists because those are the only people who benefit from abortion. Facts were given with no evidence except for a personal belief to the fact. Disgusted looks and eye rolls were given when those who were pro-choice didn’t raise there hand when asked who was pro-life.
I could go on an rant about how disgusted I was about this speech for pages, but I’m guessing none of you want to read about that. In the end Joe, Cody, and I got up and left half way through the speech. We couldn’t sit and listen to this speech any longer.
Although I wasn’t happy with the outcome and discussion of this ‘feminism’ speech I think I was most disappointed with my school. Hadn’t I just been told a week earlier that we weren’t allowed to have these conversations on our campus? Wasn’t this marketed as an open and free discussion? How could our school hold something that caused students to feel attacked and leave? Especially when they stated that they never wanted an event to do that, that they don’t allow events on campus that would do that.
In the end, no one probably wants to read this, or cares as this is very much a rant. However, I felt the need to get my thoughts down on paper and try and comprehend how this was possible. How do people think this is right?