As I grow closer to the end of my time here in Waterloo, I find myself incredibly sentimental about the time I have spent here and all the different ways I have grown. I came here four years ago in love, happy and overall naive about where these years would take me. I’ve loved, lost and felt everything else in between during my years here but I am happy to say that I wouldn’t have had it any other way. I do believe that you cannot truly appreciate happiness until you’ve experienced the bittersweet pain of loss. Losing someone means that you have to start again, create a whole new identity and I have been incredibly fortunate to have such amazing friends around me that helped me through this process, during what feels like so many years ago. I was young- I am young still of course but when you’re experiencing a new city, new friends and a loss of identity, everything can be a little scary. Four years ago I decided that I wanted to become someone new, someone would would appreciate the little things, go for walks on my own, enjoy life as it comes and not worry so much about whether or not I was supposed to be with someone or be somewhere else entirely. I found a new found sense of independence- and I haven’t been able to get enough of it! I’ve spent the last four years spoiling myself in Waterloo, living with some of my best friends in the world and experiencing the “university life”. University has taught me a lot of things- how to deconstruct an extensive passage from Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales, how to properly cite multiple works in MLA, APA or Chicago formatting, how to cram twelve weeks of readings into just five or six handwritten notes and even how to function on little to zero sleep. But what I appreciate most in these four years is the lesson that life taught me- to try to find myself amongst so many other lost souls.. I am independent, which doesn’t mean that I don’t appreciate being taken care of but what it does mean is that I don’t need someone to take care of me all the time. I think sometimes we settle for something or someone because we believe it’s necessary to be loved all the time but a large part of me believes that it’s difficult to be loved, if you don’t love yourself and who you are when you’re alone. These last four years have brought a lot of changes into my life, some for the better and some for the worse but everything that has happened has lead to me being where I am and for that I am eternally grateful.
I wouldn’t in any way classify myself as a “feminist” per say, as there are many ideas about what a feminist might be.. Throughout the transition from First Wave, to Second Wave onto Third Wave Feminism, women are constantly plagued by the “F Word”. We cannot say or disagree with a movement or idea in the media because we will be charged with “man-hating” or “excessive emotions”. What I find interesting is that the women who oppose feminism or the female action don’t necessary dislike the platforms from which these women propose to make changes from, but rather dispute the affiliation from which these concepts stem. I agree with some of the aspects these women argue for: equality in pay, equality in the workplace and that many of our media forms replicate these assumptions about women and how we look or act. But what I find critical is the way in which women are pursuing to change the outlook of women in the media.. I am not sure that opposing these forms with “Slut Walk” is an appropriate response, even though we would like to reconstruct the terminology of “slut” or “bitch” these terms are used commonly by women and men alike. Redirecting the meaning of these terms is a admirable cause, but not one I think is going to be easily done. I sympathize with this ploy, however I think that we might gain more ground by closing the gap between men and women, educating both in the name of equality. This type of education needs to start early on in ages, as many children and youths are plagued by the constant representations of men and women in the media, video games as well as in literature. We need to stop fighting what “has been done” and approach what “can be done” in the future because it is our children and our youth that will determine how men and women are represented. We need to leave First, Second and Third Wave Feminism alone, these movements are so defined in our history that they do not have an approachable platform for the future. We need to create a new future, one that we can determine the direction of, instead of allowing our ideas of equality for men and women to be determined by the past.