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Gabrielle Cilibrasi12/9/17Prof. GilbrethFinal paper     I’m just an average person who experiences a lot living in a big city. Manhattan is so large and diverse that you sometimes forget that there are people who look down on women as just sexual objects. While I’m still a teenager, I have experienced sexual comments and people on the subway trying to grab my ass. If only they knew that I was a minor 90% of the time that this was happening, maybe it would change. But, I know that it usually doesn’t change the fact. Throughout this course, we see that women and gender studies contribute to people’s understanding of social and cultural issues. This class has taught me that we all need to be aware of the effect that society has on women and people alike.This course on women and gender studies, as would all courses, have produced awareness by clearly explaining situations that women are facing throughout the world today. People may not understand some of the issues until they learn and hear about experiences. Once you finally learn about these issues, if you see it in public or even in your own home, you can have a better understanding of how to act. Many women and men have taken the opportunity to attend classes on women’s and gender studies and have since then made strides to make a difference in the unjust society that must be faced. Many women in any professional place of work, or even at home have experienced women being degraded, either by their appearance or their intelligence. I know that I had this issue when I would go to family events and I would try to get into some topics about the presidential elections/politics or even just about women’s rights in general and male adult family members would throw out undermining comments saying I couldn’t get a grasp on this topic because it’s too difficult for women to handle or that I was too young to understand the ways of the world. While don’t get me wrong, I may be young, but I have a vast understanding of the realities that people face in the world. I want to share my voice and my intelligence. Yet, when people encourage me to be better and speak out about issues, they constantly knock me down, taking something away from me that is important. MY VOICE. There was a quote from Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit which really explains ” men explain things to me, and to other women, whether or not they know they know what they’re talking about” (5). Which is understandable for most women in today’s society.People who have their voice taken away are women (and men) who are stuck in the vicious cycle of Domestic Violence, you see that they feel that people in the world don’t understand the issues that they are going through. While people don’t generally like to get themselves into other people’s problems or because they feel that either spouse who is abusive will have some retaliation towards them if they try to interfere.In our group project that we had for our class, we looked at the intersectionality of the topic of domestic violence and looked at people and organizations that help people around the world. My person was Salma Hayek, who is a native of Mexico and is an actor, producer, and director. Something that I have learned over the past couple of years is that people don’t understand that actors have jobs outside of their careers on the big screen. For example, Hayek has worked with many different foundations and has created the Salma Hayek Foundation, which supports organizations which give aid to and raising awareness for battered women while also Co-Founded Chime for Change which helps promote education, health, and social justice for women and girls around the globe. Which has raised over $7.3 million for the campaign? Holistically, our project was showing how these amazing women speak out against this issue and try to help women, men, and children out of these situations.Another story I want to share is my family member. My younger sister to be in fact. She is 14 years old and of course looks older than I do while still being 4 years younger than I am. But one day my family was walking down the street. My mom and I are used to harassing comments that people shout at us walking down the sidewalk. But my sister isn’t. She was walking, maybe 5 feet in front of use and this man comes up next to her and starts telling her that she looks beautiful and how she should smile more. My mom and I almost walked up to him to confront this man and say hey she’s only 14. Yet my sister looked at him and said “Thanks, I know I’m beautiful. I don’t need someone who’s my dad’s age making remarks about my looks”. We were both stunned by her remarks and didn’t expect her to speak up for herself because both my mother and I were about to throw down with this old guy trying to comment on my sister at random. It showed me that we need to speak up for ourselves more. While there could’ve been a better way to respond to that harassment, I think the fact she stood up for herself really shows me that I can speak my mind and stick up for myselfWomen’s studies help people explore the cultural representation of women in society and challenge those taking a class like this to evaluate the relationship between race, class, gender, and sexuality. Throughout history, women’s voices have been underrepresented due to the patriarchal society and the dominant culture in the united states and throughout the world. While the world in some parts is making progress with having women in politics, gaining rights in countries like in Saudi Arabia, where women can drive, gaining higher education, and writing about their experiences like Solnit, Roxane Gay (bad feminist), and Emi Koyama who wrote Transfeminist Manifesto. Koyama says something which is important to grasp when looking at feminism and courses like women’s studies. She says “In this worldview, issues such as racism and classism can be addressed only when they further battle against the patriarchy” and goes on explaining how we can change our views so we can see the bigger picture.

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