This Declaration of Sentiments, modeled on the original, was written by the Humanities 7 class along with the middle school girls from Bancroft School, Center School, Eaglebrook School, Four Rivers Charter Public School, Hampshire Regional School, and Hilltop Montessori School who attended their Convention on Women's Rights on January 9, 2017.
by Gabrielle (Bri) Rooks '18
For as long as I can remember, image has been everything. What people think about us seems to be the main focus for many. We tend to put ourselves in categories. Sometimes we start to label people before we know them. Say you are walking down the street and you meet someone for the first time. The first thing you probably notice about them is what they look like and what their actions are implying. This automatically triggers us to put a label on them. It so common for us to look for differences that we tend to lose sight of what we have in common. When we see someone with a disability that keeps them in a wheelchair, we automatically start looking at them or treating them differently based on that one thing that “defines” them. The only thing that makes you different from that person is the way you are choosing to look at them. In a community, there are categories that people fall under based on the definitions we have created. For example, there is the higher class, the middle class and the lower class in a community. Looking at a specific community such as a school setting, you find categories for the jocks, the geeks, the popular and so on. Who decides these categories, these labels, these stereotypes? Who establishes the things that define each of us? Well the answer to all this is quite simple — WE DO! We put ourselves in these categories. We are the ones who give each other labels. We are the ones who stray away from what is not “the norm.”
The other day, I was walking through downtown Amherst and picked up a book of feminist writing I thought might be thought-provoking. I opened to a random page, and read about a steadily increasing gender wage gap. I opened to another random page, and read about those moments when women have had to deal with the assumption that they will have children and how this must inevitably affect their career. I opened to a third random page, and read an account about what it feels like to be sitting at a conference - yet again - listening to the people in a position of privilege and power talking about working for equity.