Challenge Journal #6: Women in “society”

This one carries a little bit of a heavier weight.

This struggle reflects one that I am having as I create a project for another class in which I am currently enrolled. Is that against the rules? Can “prior” assignment be one from last month? Can’t I just vent for a second? Is this going to affect my Comm grade?

In my Upper-Level Writing course for my fabulous major, I’m producing a work about gender barriers broken in the sports world. As I write about the way that the media has covered Becky Hammon—the first female assistant coach to be hired by the NBA—since her hiring in August of 2014, I try to find the best way to talk about her gender as a lens to explain how her hiring has been received and discussed.


For example:

While the fact that Hammon was hired at all suggests progress in closing the gender gap in a powerful role in this extremely masculine institution, unsettling responses to her hiring suggest that perhaps we are living in a world where much of the population is not yet ready to see a woman leading what has historically been a man’s game.


In both of these projects—one where the feminist implications are more explicit that the other—I’m having a hard time establishing my authority in contributing to the conversation. At what point am I overstating what these practices and reactions mean for women in society? Is the fact that I am using the word “society” at all a red flag?

4 thoughts to “Challenge Journal #6: Women in “society””

  1. Ally,

    Hm. The world “society” always leaves me with extremely mixed feelings. A couple years back, I found myself using society in a lot of my work. Then I finally realized, what am I referencing? Can I really reference all of society when there are so many different people that encompass society? I think if you are going to use the word society, it might be useful to take Ray’s advice and define what you mean in the beginning. You can even make a disclaimer that it is not all encompassing and you are not trying to essentialize all women into one category. With women especially, it is tricky to use society. There are so many different women with different experiences (e.g. women of color, poor women, working class). A definition in the beginning will definitely set the reader up to better understand what sector of society you are talking about.


  2. Ally,

    You raise an interesting point in your research. I myself often struggle to discuss whether or not the role of women in a “man’s world” has made any progress in recent years. The mere idea that we have dig deep to research this possibility, most likely means that women have not even begun to make a dent. But that’s not necessarily our fault. The larger point is that the world in which we have been raised has forever been built by men. And in order to upset this idea, or introduce women as equals in any sense, that fundamental fact needs to be disrupted in some way. Perhaps an entire generation needs to die off before progress can be made? The reality of this is largely unknown.

    I think my point is as follows: that as long as the conservation revolves around whether or not the world is ready for women to become more of a presence, the world will not be ready. When the mere concept of “women’s studies” becomes as redundant and unnecessary as “men’s studies” then we will have made it.

    I can only hope that we will be alive for that period of time.

  3. Hi Ally,

    As you know, I too am discussing feminism throughout my capstone. I definitely know what you mean when you describe the struggle of establishing authority over the topic. Feminism is such a largely written about and discussed topic, which made it hard for me to feel like a my ideas would be credible or unique. To help overcome this, I really thought about my place in feminism in a personal, rather than scholarly, sense. Looking at how equality and feminism directly impact my life, I was able to garner the confidence I needed to present my ideas without feeling fraudulent. Perhaps considering the way you personally have been impacted by feminism (or anti feminist practices) would help you feel more authoritative!

  4. Hi Ally,
    I completely agree with Caroline here. Feminism shouldn’t be something that we’re “scared” or feel uncomfortable to write about. In a way, I actually think that the word feminism itself has become so overused and misrepresented that I think we need to start looking at it in terms of “equality” as opposed to “feminism.” I think that sometimes people think about feminism solely in terms of promoting the interests of women, instead of promoting equality between men and women.
    Growing up as women in this day and age, of course we have a solid leg to stand on when discussing whether or not we are treated the same as men and, if we aren’t, how/why that is not the case.
    So, like Caroline was saying, thinking of feminism as a personal, rather than scholarly, issue really helps me feel more comfortable discussing it. How has gender equality affected me personally? Of course my answer to that is going to be valid because it’s honest and sincere and personal.
    I always love a good vent session!

Leave a Reply