Senior Seminar Summary Synthesis… Try Saying That 5 Times Fast!

This is it. This is for all of the marbles. The last post. The “what did you accomplish after all this time”? So here we go!

I entered this major about 5 months ago. I know you think I am crazy, and you are right, because this was a lot of work for one semester. Both the intro class and the seminar class together is a lot to handle. But because of the support of my classmates and fellow IDSers I got it done!

Building my program backwards was a lot easier than I thought it

would be. I had a large interest in health (hence the prior health education major) and I had taken many of the classes in the Women’s Studies minor. So basically I just put the two together. That was the only easy part. I still had to get approved and figure out which classes I was going to include into my contract.

The Feisty Feminist Herself

I settled on a program of Women’s Health. With my general focus being on feminism and childbirth. I am and always have been very interested in the birthing experience.

Senior Seminar was unlike any other class I have ever taken. So much of my education was up to me. I had choice and that was amazing. When learning about the Applied Project I had so many ideas. I settled on a feminist movement project. I tweeted every day in the month of March interviewing a different person on feminism and their views of it.  I interviewed all sorts of people. I interviewed my family, peers, professors, coworkers, even strangers! Anyone I met I wanted to know what they thought about feminism. This was a truly interdisciplinary project in general. I used technology (twitter), communication skills (interviewing), women’s studies (feminism) just to name a few different disciples. This contributed to me as a student and as a feminist. I figured out what I truly believed in and that is not something I can really say about the pre calculus class that I took.

My Research Article I was not as passionate about as my Applied Project. It’s not that I wasn’t excited about childbirth as much as I once was, it was that I am not a “research writer”.

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It is just a skill that I was never really good with. Anyways, I researched the different kinds of childbirths. Where can you have a baby? Who can be there? What kind of professional can I have there? Are epidurals dangerous? What is the right choice? And the answer is that there is no wrong or right way someone chooses to have their baby. I did and still do want to be a doula or midwife one day and that’s why I wanted to know all of these answers. Because no two births are the same, being able to hear and read different women’s stories really taught me a lot and solidified this life choice.

Happy Ayla!!!

The things that I have learned in the last 5 months are unlike anything else. IDS came to me during a really tough time in my life. I was going to counseling on a triweekly basis, I wasn’t eating or sleeping, I really hated myself and that is really hard to admit. I hated where my life was and what I was doing. Then I found my hope. I wanted to feel like my education and time here was worth it all. I wanted to walk across that stage and feel like this wasn’t a

waste of my time or life. And I can say that this is true. I will be graduating on Saturday and I am proud. I am proud of myself and that is all I need. So to say that this class and these two assignments contributed to my growth and education would be an understatement.

 

“I don’t know nothin’ ’bout birthin’ babies”

Childbirth. We are all here because of it. Mothers describe it as the most painful and amazing days of their lives. Yes, that is correct, I said days. My mother was in labor for two whole days. I feel like childbirth is not something that our society talks about regularly. We have made it

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become such a clinical thing. We almost treat pregnancy as something that needs to be treated, all of the doctors, medications, and hand sanitizer to make this process as efficient and painless. You have 36 hours to have this “magical” experience. The welcoming white walls and cold air greet you at the door.

Since we are diving into the logistics of childbirth here are some key terms to know. First thing you need is a Mommy and a Daddy… alright that’s not where this is going, but yes in order to have a baby those are some instrumental players. So there is a couple different types of births and people that deliver those babies.

At home birth, water births, birthing centers and hospitals!

At home births are just that, at home. This, if planned, is in an approved and comfortable space for the family and the deliver. This can happen on a couch, bed, floor, pretty much any place that the mother is comfortable and safe. There is the occasional situation when a baby is born at home on accident because there wasn’t enough time to get to the desired location. But planned at home births are just as safe as anywhere else. The deliver will have all of the things they would need for a safe and according to plan birth. If an emergency were to arise or complication were to happen the mother would be brought to a hospital. Also the mother must clear certain criteria before an at home birth can happen. If a mother has a history of health issues or is older in age it is usually not recommended to have a child at home.

Next leads us into water births. And again it is just that, a birth in water. This happens a number of different ways. It could be in a bathtub or sometimes a birthing pool. The birthing pool is ideal because it can be relocated and the deliver can walk around the entire area. My cousin Marina actually had all three of her children this way. What is really cool is that the baby gets clean at the same time. It’s like skipping a step! Birthing centers also usually have this option.

A birthing center is a place where you can have your baby that isn’t a hospital or your house. Again, like with at home births or water births, the mother must be healthy enough to have a child outside of a hospital to utilize this option. They are usually very peaceful places with comfortable furniture and a nice waiting room. It is much more personalized and private for the families using them.

The most common location to have a baby is in a hospital. We should all know what a hospital is, but if you haven’t ever been to the nursery wing it is still pretty great! There are friendly nurses faces and knowledgeable staff at had. Each mother usually (at least in the United States) will get her own room, but it is much less personalized because once that mother leaves the next one comes in.

Now time for the delivers!

We have the OBGYN. This is the doctor who’s degree is in birthing babies. OBGYN stands for Obstetrics and Gynecology. So much easier than that mouthful to say. It is commonly known as an OB as well, because why not abbreviate and aberration?! Women will go see an OB for yearly check ups, pap smears and regular lady health needs. To become an OB it takes quite a few years of schooling because they are medical doctors.

Midwives and Doulas are also trained professionals in childbirth. Midwives are of a more natural and holistic approach to the birthing process. Their schooling is not as formal, in the sense that they do not need to have their doctorates. There is an apprenticeship process as well as schooling and a certificate that must be completed before one can become a licensed midwife. The same can be said about a doula, except a doula is more of the support system to a mother before, during and after her birthing experience. A doula does not do the actual delivering part, that is the difference between the two.

And lastly the different types of births. We covered that there are different locations to have a baby, but not what choices to not choices one has when giving birth. The thing I have heard the most is “did you have drugs?”. This means was an epidural. This is a pain suppressant that is given into the spine of the mother. If someone says that they had a natural birth means that they did not have an epidural.

There are some thoughts that epidurals can cause some negative side effects for newborns, but according to many studies it is currently not proven. Epidurals are a safe pain reducer in childbirth.

There are also some things that can’t be planned or in some cases planned. This is a caesarean section birth, commonly known as a C-Section. In instances of preeclampsia or other health concerns for the mother or baby a C-Section will be scheduled. But they are at times used when there is an unforeseen complication or birthing difficulties. This is referred to as an emergency C-Section.

They say it takes a village to raise a child. Well it also takes a village to bring a child into this world. And in that village we have experts of all sorts. So many different things have to play out to have a safe childbirth. So many things are happening to the mother before, during and after the birth, hormonally and mentally (health, biology, psychology). There are the medical professionals that help bring that baby into this world safely and keep them healthy after (medical). And we have the educators that not only educate the parents on what the experiences will be like, but then the children after the 6 weeks of maternity leave when they enter into the child care area. All of these experts of different disciplines come together to see the miracle of life play out.

When I told my mother about this paper she was more than excited to know more about it. And that got me thinking, why not just interview some mothers out there about their birthing experiences? I called her back the following night and asked her if she was interested.

The story of how my sister and I were born was nothing new for me. Like me, my sister is kinda obsessed with childbirth, and we would ask my mom often to tell us the stories of when we were born. My mom doesn’t even hesitate by setting the seen of the cold February day when her and my dad went to the hospital. But I treated this like I had never heard the stories before and was interested in hearing what she had to say this time around.

Name:

  • Katherine Steere
Katherine with her daughters Erin (L) and Ayla (R) 2016

How old were you when you had your first child?

  • I was 35 when I had my first child, Ayla. I was a “late bloomer” if you will.

How old were you when you had your second child?

  • With Erin I was 40. Also a little later than planned, but I was older and had learned so much that it was almost easier.

Did you have your children in a hospital setting?

  • Because of my age I had to have the girls in a hospital, but I didn’t necessarily want it that way.

What was your prenatal experience?

  • Both times my prenatal care was amazing. My OB had midwives under them in their practice. So I met monthly with my midwife and she used so many of the holistic practices that I was looking for. Everything there was very Zen. When I was pregnant with Erin, Ayla was allowed in the room with me and we were able to share a lot of really special moments together.

Did you go to the hospital for your monthly checkups?

Ayla, Katherine and Baby Erin 2000
  • I went to my OBGY’s for my monthly checkups, but saw a midwife

Did you have an OBGYN and a nurse or a midwife?

  • An OB is who was there for the birthing part along with nurses. My second birth was an emergency c section so there was a whole team of people taking care of me. I had a midwife up until the birth, because I was older they were worried that something would go wrong, so they wanted me in a hospital just in case.

What was your experience like during the birthing process?

Loud, peaceful, exciting, long…ect

  • Ayla took days. I decided to have a natural birthing experience with no drugs and the bird chirping music, but 36 hours of that was pretty much hell. When it came to the birth part there was a lot of yelling from the nurses and a lot going on which wasn’t my favorite. With Erin she was a week late and didn’t want to come out, so I had an emergency c section to get her out. What was nice about that was I just had to lay there and the days that followed I had a lot of help from the nurses.

Do you wish that the experience was different? If so, why?

  • Both were amazing in their own way, but I do wish that I could have done a natural birth with Erin
    Ayla (L) and Erin (R) Christmas 2001

    and have it be safe. I do also wish I could have had the girls delivered by a midwife, but again because of my age we didn’t want to take any chances.

Who was with you while you were giving birth?

  • My husband

What type of support did you receive during the birthing process?

  • My parents were in the waiting room most of the days along with my sisters. The nurses were amazing and my OB was very patient.

Did you know about midwifery during your child birthing experiences?

  • Yes

What type of post birth care did you receive?

  • I returned to the clinic for my monthly checkups along with my girls for theirs. It was a mother and children’s center.

I also figured, why just have this one fabulous Momma tell her stories… make it two! So I got to talking one afternoon with a Plymouth State University employee in the Global Education Office. She was asking about senior year and through the panicked look in my eyes of not wanting to finish here, I told her about my capstone. She was really excited and without even asking if I could interview she was volunteering.

Your name:  Jane Barry

How old were you when you had your first child?

  • I was 27 when I had Tom.

How old were you when you had your second child?

Jane with her sons Tom (L) and Nate (R) 2016
  • And 32 for Nate.

Did you have your children in a hospital setting?

  • Yes

What was your prenatal experience?

  • Went to birthing class, along with OBGYN visits

Did you go to the hospital for your monthly checkups?

  • No, went to OBGYN

Did you have an OBGYN and a nurse or a midwife?

  • Just OBGYN

What was your experience like during the birthing process?

  • Loud, peaceful, exciting, long…ect First baby was 12-15 hrs (don’t really remember!), my water didn’t break so they had to in hospital.  It was fairly peaceful because I really tried to do meditative and deep breathing.  Second baby was exciting in that my water broke at 12:30am and he was born exactly at 2:00am.  We raced to the hospital, ran into the ward, ripped my clothes off, went to bathroom and Nate was born 5 minutes later.  OBGYN wasn’t even there yet; I still remember the nurse yelling at the top of her lungs for the other nurses to assist.  My husband had black and blue finger prints on his forearm from me squeezing him so tight I had NO DRUGS with either birth

Do you wish that the experience was different? If so, why?

  • No.  Both were different but wonderful.

Who was with you while you were giving birth?

  • Husband

What type of support did you receive during the birthing process?

  • Nurses, husband, OBGYN at first one coaching

Did you know about midwifery during your child birthing experiences?

  • Yes

What type of post birth care did you receive?

  • Just the typical follow up, nothing out of the ordinary.

Both women taught me so much about childbirth, more than I could have even asked for. This has just solidified what I plan on doing with my life and career in the future. No one way is the “best” way to have a child. Each birth is magical and special in its own way, and it is truly left up to the families on how they want their child to be welcomed into the world.

References:

Burtch, B. E. (1994). Trials of labour : The re-emergence of midwifery (Critical perspectives on public affairs; Critical perspectives on public affairs). Montreal Que.: McGill-Queen’s University Press. http://www.deslibris.ca/ID/400316

Magill-Cuerden, J. (2006). Nurturing and supporting mothers: A hidden skill in midwifery. (Cover story). British Journal Of Midwifery14(6), 374.

Moyer, M. W. (2012). Weighing the Risks. Scientific American306(5), 22.

Torpy, J. M., Lynm, C., & Glass, R. M. (2005). Childbirth. JAMA: Journal Of The American Medical Association293(17), 2180.

Walsh, D. (2009). Labour pain and epidurals: tampering with the pain–pleasure paradox. British Journal Of Midwifery17(8), 482.

Feminism Man

Hello All!

As you might have noticed, the month of March was very busy for me. I took my communication skills and upbeat attitude to the streets to talk about feminism. Throughout that month I interview a new person or persons every day on their thoughts regarding feminism. This was mainly to draw some attention or traction to the lovely rheum of twitter that

feminism is not dead, it affects people of all walks of life, and inequality if still prevalent.

My daily tweets opened the doors for conversation among my peers, co-workers, and professors. This project has really uncovered some truths for people, and for myself.

I have 31 tweets (add a few in for the longer tweets) and some blog posts about this experience. Being able to go out and talk to so may different walks of life about what I am truly passionate about was an experience I will never forget. This project did more than affect the community (I hope that happened) it really affected me.

Some of my highlights included, but are not limited to, 1) talking to strangers about feminism. When you are talking to someone you have never met before you never know what is going to happen. There is a 50/50 chance that they will not have the same views as you. 2) Starting new conversations with friends and families. This was interesting as well because you think that you know the people that surround you all of the time, but sometimes the answer isn’t always what you expect. 3) Learning about what my true beliefs are. I always considered myself a feminist, but this project really affirmed it.

Why did I do this project you ask? Well I wanted to highlight Women’s History Month in a trendy new way. Twitter seemed like a really cool way to convey this message. I wanted to be able to figure out where I stood on so many issues starting with this one. Also my program in Interdisciplinary Studies is Women’s Health, which this project tried to encompass these multiple disciplines.

So much of the time when I saw things about feminism it was very one sided. There is either a woman with a sign, burning her bra in front of a state house or a prim and proper woman saying that they are not oppressed. I wanted to promote the message that this is not always the case!

But, here are is my interview with fellow feminist, Cassidy Spencer.

And secondly is my personal reflection on the project and what it did for me.

I really hope that my peers learned from my tweet a days! This was really fun for me and I learned so much.

But Ayla, how am I supposed to find all of your tweet

interviews? Do I have to go through your twitter to find them all?

The answer is nope! All of my tweets have been put into a wonderful slideshow like model for your enjoyment and viewing purposes!

How IDS Has Changed My Life

Rounds Hall- Plymouth State University

I came to Plymouth to become a teacher and I stayed for the people. I tell this to my tours every time I have one. To describe just one experience that I have had that has changed the way I view the world is almost impossible. Every single day that I have been on this campus has contributed to make me the person I am today. Working at the SAGE Center my first year at college opened my eyes and heart so wide. Discovering the Counseling Center my sophomore year saved my life in more ways than one. Being Student Body President allowed me to meet so many amazing people and do things I would have never imagined doing by the time I was 22. Working in Admissions and traveling with counselors has opened so many doors for me. But there is one experience that has changed my life forever, and that is the Interdisciplinary Studies Program.

Like I said earlier, I came to PSU to be a Health Teacher. And that is just what I did for my first seven semesters of college, the only thing left between me and that certificate was my final semester and student teaching. The summer leading into my Senior year I realized that I no longer wanted to be a teacher for a number of reasons, but I was just going to continue in the program because I was almost done. About one month into the Fall semester of my senior year I knew I had to change something in my life, because I was no longer happy with what I was doing.

The Quest:

Fall Leaves and Ayla Feet

My soul search, as well as an actual search, to find my happiness began almost instantly. I was researching graduate programs, attempting new coping skills for my anxiety about teaching, and searching for a way out of student teaching. I was so scared and nervous to tell people, because I always like to seem like I have my life together. I remember the first person I told that I didn’t want to teach; Dr. Shedd stood up from her desk and walked over to the couch where I was in tears and gave me a hug. She told me how proud she was of me and how everything was going to be okay.

After that day the news just poured out of my mouth. I needed to find out if there was any way to graduate on time, with a degree, and without having the last seven semesters go to waste. My emailing was endless, my answers unclear, and my time was running out. By the end of the week I had a list of names, some meetings, and somewhat of a plan.

I’ll skip to the part where I get happy!!

The meetings all led me to Dr. Robin DeRosa, the Chair of the Interdisciplinary Studies Program (IDS). She informed me that it could work. Could being the key word here, because I would have to build a program that was brand new from the courses that I had already taken and sell it as something unlike anything else at PSU. I also would have to take the Intro and Capstone classes at the same time, which is basically crazy.

Photo By: Sara Noyes

Call me crazy!!! The next day I had an appointment with Dr. Shedd (my Women’s Studies Advisor) and Dr. Busanich. Both of these women have been such supporters of me over the past few years and both have expertise in the fields that I was wanting to combine, health and women’s  studies. This meeting went better than I ever could have imagined. We had workshop and picked every single class that I was going to include in my program.

Fast forward to Spring semester of my Senior year. I was in a new major, I had a new life plan, and I was finally happy. Being a part of such an amazing major such as IDS, even for the short amount of time I have been, has already changed my life so greatly. I have found my voice in academia. I am able to stand up for what I believe in inside and outside of the classroom for the first time in my life. I am in control of my education and how I spend my time, and oh do I wish I had found it sooner.

Plymouth State University Panther Statue

It truly took a village to get me where I am today. Without the support of all of the staff I interacted with through my college career and this journey in particular I wouldn’t be here. I have found my bliss at Plymouth, but I came here for an education and I stayed for the people.

 

 

**This was my Top 20 Essay, which I just recently found out I was selected for**

But Why am I a Feminist?

My mission of finding a new feminist every day and tweeting about them has come to a close. I have asked every person the same three questions:

1) Why are you a feminist?

2) What does feminism mean to you?

3) Why is feminism important?

These were the questions that people had to choose from. They were put on the spot most of the time and had to come up with an answer that was 140 characters or less. Many people responded so well to the project, wanting to know more, see what other people were saying and really asking themselves the questions for once. Many of my interviewees didn’t know why they were a feminist at first, some were opened to the world of feminism, but most of all education and awareness was spread.

At first this wasn’t going to be my capstone project. I was going to do something different that was all about periods and I was also going to do the tweet a day during Women’s History Month (March). That would have been a huge undertaking I think.

My quest to find feminists was one of the most exciting things I have done! When I went on vacation I had the opportunity to meet new people and pose them with a question that they have never faced before. I would have to say that my interviews with strangers were my favorite ones to conduct, because I had no backstory of them and didn’t know how they would react. Were these people conservatives? Didi they even believe in feminism? I mean it was the South….

But, if anything this project truly taught me why I am a feminist. I never thought about it much. I was interested in so many things surrounding women’s equality and representation in societies, but I developed a full blown passion for feminism during the month of March. And I’m cheating right now, because my interview with myself will not and cannot be limited to 140 characters. So sorry folks that I interviewed who had too.

  1. Why am I a feminist?
    • This is the winded question. The one many people answered, but also deterred so many others. The word feminist almost had this negative energy to it. People imagine aggressive, cut throat women who hate men and want a world without them. I am a feminist, that is not as scary as this seems (at least in my eyes. Let me know if I am.). I am a feminist for all those that cannot. I am the voice for the women who do not have the right to theirs. I am in charge of my own body and who I allow into my life. I am an advocate.
  2. What does feminism mean to me? How do I define it?
    • To me, feminism is the advocacy and belief that all humans are created equal and have the same rights no matter, gender, sexuality, race or religion. That
      just because you were born with certain genitals does not make you any less of a human. And that you are in charge of your own autonomy.
  3. Why is feminism important?
    • If I had to pick a question this one is my favorite. Feminism itself, as a movement was important, but also today serves a much greater purpose. The word feminist, despite the negative correlation, has become a household word. People have a general idea of what it is. This itself is educating the world! I have always thought that education is our path to success, in all forms. Feminism has allowed discussion. It has allowed debate. It has allowed for so much, because of it being in the public and the media. This is why I did this project.

So Ayla, why did you do this project?

Well I wanted to do just what question three was displaying. I wanted to bring light to the word feminism. I wanted to show that all walks of life are feminists. I had People of Color (POC), men, women, homosexuals, elderly, and young people all participate. I had people of all different career paths, political beliefs and religions, the only thing I didn’t have was a child (which I totally should have done). I wanted to almost redefine what the word feminist was. I want to get as far away from that scary idea that people have about what a feminist has to be. Because in the end there is no true definition to what feminism is to someone, or why they are one, or why they think it is important. Feminism is all about celebrating diversity and accepting of our differences. And to me that is truly beautiful.

Check out all of my tweet interviews on my twitter @aylavirginia for more!

 

The Future is Looking’ Bright

This is the “now what” of senior year. The dooming questions that we have been hearing for years. Most of the time when I tell people what my major is

My New Backyard!!!

they get that glazed over look. They ask what I’m even going to do with that and how I just “made up” a major. Little do they know that I developed my own criteria that is unique to me and my experience!?

Women’s Health is my program. Each class was hand selected to create a program that was perfect for what I wanted to do with my life. I’ve always had a fascination with childbirth and mothers and children. Am I going to be a midwife like I once thought… maybe! This is still something that I am so passionate about and would be so happy doing.

However, I have just went through the college selection yet again, but this time for graduate school. About 9 months ago I had a “ah ha” moment. This same moment I longed for for years before I found IDS. I have

Me at a College Fair for PSU

constantly been trying to fit into a box that I just don’t fit into. I had the first part of my “ah ha” moment working in the Admissions Office for the past three years. The actual moment didn’t happen until this past summer.

I have worked in the Admissions Office since Sophomore year. Meeting families, giving tours, and spending just about every single Saturday waking up at 7:30am to stand on stage and talk about Plymouth. But, honestly I wasn’t even sad about it. I loved waking up and feeling the crisp Fall air on my face in October on my walk to the Silver Center because I felt like I was making a difference. The people that I have met and the places I have been able to go with Admissions changed my life, literally. So I got to thinking. How could I combine my passions for admissions, the college journey and my love for working with families all into one? School Counseling is what I was left with. (Well it was a bit longer of a process than that..)

Once I figured this out all of the pieces started to come together. I would spend my late nights at the HUB Info Booth researching grad schools and programs. I became a master at excel comparison sheets and fluent in the admissions jargon. The GRE was the brunt of it. Basically the SAT for grad school, except worse. After I took that test I had narrowed the search to three schools, two states, and one economically struggling person (me).

I have been so fortunate to have been left with making a decision of where to go. I was really hoping that I would only get into one school or have the answer come to me in a dream or something, but that was not the case. The

Finally made it on top of Boyd

pro con sheets were endless, the emails from schools repetitive and still there was no clear choice for me. This was until I got a call from my boss in the Admissions Office. He asked me to come in because we needed to talk about something. Of course being the anxious person I am I thought he was mad at me for skipping my office hours that week. When I walked into the office everyone was minding their own business as I walked down the hall, as I turned the corner everyone shouted “congrats!!” and gave me a cupcake and some super sweet gifts for getting into Plymouth’s School Counseling Program.

So, I guess in the end the decision was made for me because that same day I went to Jim and Denis’ house for pizza and to do my laundry (these are the men who’s house I stay at all the time and watch their dogs). They had known that I was applying to Plymouth and were excited for me, but didn’t know that I had gotten in yet. They asked me over dinner if I was interested in moving into their guest house in May to watch the dogs for the summer while they traveled and said that I was welcome to stay for the next two years if I ended up attending PSU.

I am truly blessed with the amazing and kind people I have met here at Plymouth and I am so excited for what the next two years bring. But, there is always things to do. My next mission is to lock down a grad assistantship, and hopefully it could be something career services related. It sounds corny, but I love proof reading resumes, cover letters and relishing in the experience that others have when they get their first job, or into grad school!

The future is looking’ bright people, and I don’t even want any sunnies.

Cassidy: The Feisty Feminist in Us All

My friendship with Cassidy started during my first few weeks of college. We both had jobs at the SAGE Center (sexuality, anti-violence, gender, equality) and had many things in common. We soon became best friends and attached at the hip. I remember our first meeting like it was yesterday, we had a staff meeting and as I was walking up the sixteen steps to the SAGE

Cassidy and I this past December

Center I could here the cackling of a laugh. When I rounded the corner there was a young girl with a tight blonde bun on the top of her head. She was wearing light wash jeans with one hole in each knee and a pair of beat up Converse sneakers. I took the only open seat in the small living room like office, which happened to be right next to her. When I sat down she perked up and basically shout-talked to me. “Hi! I’m Cassidy!” And that’s all it took for me to make my best college friend.

Cassidy worked in the E part of the SAGE Center. All of her events and

Some of the SAGE Center crew

outreach consisted of bringing awareness to the Wage Gap or Reproductive Rights. She held many bake sales where men had to pay $1 for a cookie and women got it for 75 cents (for a bit easier change purpose). This might sound silly, but it was Cassidy’s passion to create equally opportunity and rights for women.

I called Cassidy Sunday night, mostly just to catch up and ask what time she was coming to pick me up next Sunday to hang out, but to ask her if she was interested in participating in an in-depth interview for my blog. She was really excited to help out, and I especially wanted to talk to her because she is the person that got you so involved in equal rights.

Cassidy grew up in a very small town in Northern Maine, where she admits she didn’t really experience sexism. In high school she was on the wrestling

Cassidy wrestling in 2012

team, where she does say that some boys did refuse to wrestle her because she was a girl. She tried not to have this keep her down since she was pretty badass at wrestling.

She says that she got really involved with her job at SAGE. This is where she, like me, really started to learn about all the things happening in the world and not just the gossip of a small town. She said that at first she became invested in feminism and equality because it was her job, but then she just wondered why she hadn’t always felt that these issues were important!

In our friend group Cassidy was always known as a die hard feminist. She would shut down hate like no ones business and would typically get into debates with other friends or complete strangers in the dining hall about oppression and sexism. This was just part of her charm and something that we all loved having her around for. She is the type of person that could just meet you and would stand up for you.

Today, Cassidy works as a Social Studies teacher in Southern New

Lavender Graduation 2016
Cassidy was awarded the Ally of the year

Hampshire. Her middle school classes are filled with young women that, I bet, look up to her so highly. She says that her reasons for being a feminist change at times.

“At first I was one for my job, then I was one for me, now I am one for all of those who cannot be.”

Her female students are one of the groups of women she is a feminist for. She tells me over the phone that the things that these girls can say about themselves and others are awful. “I want the girls in my class to realize that they have the potential to achieve the same things in life as the boys in my class do.”  She tries her best to make the history of Ancient Rome relatable to today by talking to her students and comparing history to modern day.

We went on to talk about her past and made some connects to feminism. “Mulan was always my favorite movie growing up. She is just such a badass that I always looked up to. And she saved all of China from the Huns as a woman! The men were only able to help when they dressed up like women.”

While we were on the phone Cassidy talked about the importance of Planned

Cassidy’s Tweet Interview

Parenthood and how making birth control safe, accessible and affordable is so important.

Cassidy recalls her time at Plymouth State and the Women’s Studies courses she took here. Here she took Women in World Politics, were she learned about other countries and the rights that women have there. “Some countries have had several women presidents, countries that American’s view has second class. Why is America so scared to have one?”

In this class Cassidy learned a lot about Intersectional Feminism. This is what Cassidy is fighting for now.

Keep killing’ it best friend!

Where I am Going from Here!

Natural or Epidural, what should I do?

Childbirth. We are all here because of it. Mothers describe it as the most painful and amazing days of their lives. Yes, that is correct, I said days. My mother was in labor for two whole days. I feel like childbirth is not something that our society talks about regularly. We have made it become such a clinical thing. We almost treat pregnancy as something that needs to be treated, all of the doctors, medications, and hand sanitizer to make this process as efficient and painless as possible. You have 36 hours to have this “magical” experience. The welcoming white walls and cold air greet you at the door.

This article will cover the comparisons and differences a birth in a hospital with an OBGYN verses a birth at a women’s center with a midwife. This will not tell women that they are bad people for making a choice of how to have their children, but rather show the positives and negatives of both types of births. I will admit that I have a slight bias because I am very pro natural birth, but I do understand the purpose of the more clinical side of childbirth. My hope is to interview several different mothers and be able to convey their stories of childbirth, especially touching on the reasons why they chose to have the births that they did. I will then relate this to scholarly articles on the social shift from natural births to the desire for c-sections and epidurals.

My goals and life have been all over the place in the last four years at school, but I have always come back to midwifery. I have a passion for women’s health and how to improve it and educate society. I plan to one day become a doula or possibly a midwife. This article will help me define what route I will want to take after graduation. Will I enter a masters program right away or will I start an apprenticeship process to become a doula?

 

Missions Date Started Date Completed Initials
Outline of Article 3/10
Resources Chosen 3/28
Draft One 4/3
Writing Center Visit #1 4/5
Revisions 4/10-4/20
Final Draft Published 4/25

 

 

Feminism, man.

Feminism, it’s a wavy subject. Literally. The waves of feminism have currently been hitting the world like a tsunami. It was once thought the the third wave of feminism was over, that women had become equal to men, that they had the same rights as men. As we know from the past events, including the Women’s March in January and the upcoming Day Without a Woman next week.

For this applied project I will take to the community, my community of strong amazing women and men. Feminism has such a negative connotation attached to it. There are flashbacks to bra burning, dyed armpit hair and god forbid women in the workforce. Society has evolved so much, but still has such a long way to go.

March is Women’s History Month according to the Google, and America. What I plan to do is a tweet a day with a photo and 140 character interview with women and even some men. I want to hone in on celebrating regular, everyday people. These interviews will then be compiled into a blog series view book. I want to bring awareness and break down the stigma of what constitutes a feminist. It is not gender, biological sex, sexual orientation or political officiation.

My eport will include all of the tweets in real time as well as an articulated and complete composition of the interviews with some extended interviews. I would like it to be a series of feminist women and men and why they believe in equal rights among the sexes. There will be photos, hotlinks, and videos of the interviewed persons and hopefully myself sitting down and meeting with them.

Since this is such a relevant and time oriented project I need to begin right away, as in tomorrow! Each week will feature one person who’s story really stood out to me. I will do a full blog post about that person as well as the 140 character tweet interview.

What I hope others gain from this is that feminism is not a bad word. So ask yourself this, are you a feminist?

 

Mission Start Date Date Completed Initials
Daily Tweet in March 3/1 3/31
Weekly Blog 3/5, 3/12, 3/19, 3/26 3/31
Reflection Blog Post 4/5
Completed Viewbook 4/25

Where Do I Go From Here?

So here I am, in my senior year of college. I’m awaiting my entry into the “real world” but first I have to get that $120,000 piece of paper and a handshake. Honestly, that’s not what I think my education is, I want to walk away with something that I am proud of, something that I have accomplished that I can bring to employers and be like “Hey! Look at this amazing thing that I did!”

Article Ideas:

  • I’m really interested in reproductive rights across the country.
    • Even though America is the same country, each state varies on their rights.
  • What I find very curious how childbirth and women’s health care has evolved over the years.
    • I would like to take a deeper look into what causes these trends in how women choose to have their babies; i.e. natural with, C-Section, induced ect.
  • Another topic of interest of mine is midwifery vs OBGYN.
    • These are both professionals that a pregnant woman can go to for pre and post natal care. I think that midwifery is making a comeback in today’s naturopathic world and the trends would be interesting to compare.
  • Young women’s health has also been a topic on intrigue of mine.
    • What is out there for resources for these young women? What information are they receiving in public schools? How do professionals reach them? These are all questions I would like to know the answer to.
  • Lastly, is self esteem and empowerment for young women.
    • I believe there is a true lack of education and empowerment for young ladies in today’s society. Why is this? How can we change it?

Applied Project Ideas:

  • I used to work for the SAGE Center on campus, but sadly that is no longer a resource for us. I am interested in bringing back a resource or something similar to this back to campus.
    • Two years ago we not only lost the Wellness Center but also the SAGE Center. These were both places where one could receive advice, have access to advocacy, and links to further resources for gender and women’s health needs.
  • I am very interested in women’s empowerment, especially for teens and younger women. I would like to volunteer or be a part of the Young Women Day that Plymouth hosts every year.
  • I have been in contact with the Pemi Youth Center and have shared with them that I am interested in writing a young women’s empowerment curriculum. Since I have already written curriculums and am passionate about the need for this type of education it seems like a good fit.
  • I think it would be interesting, and kinda weird/maybe gross (but it shouldn’t be because it’s a normal part of life!!!) to document different women’s experience with their menstrual cycles. Wether this be through stories, photos of feelings, or art. I think this will be an amazing way to celebrate the amazingness that is a woman.
  • I would love to coordinate and implement a Slut Walk in Plymouth. This is a national thing that happens every year and at a time like this in the world I think it is necessary to bring awareness and education to rape culture.