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2009 January 25
by Roisin Foley

Hi, everyone. My name is Roisin and I’m a Bryn Mawr freshman from Boston. Right now I’m not positive what I want to major in, but I’m leaning very strongly towards Cities. During my first semester at Bryn Mawr and in my first Cities class, I started thinking about gendered spaces and how they are constructed. I especially considered how planning has contributed to the the traditional ideas of gendered space, that is that men=public, and women=private. In many ways the advancement of technology during the last century has mirrored the mediation of these traditional ideas about space, and yet in many ways our physical environment is still designed to serve this model.

Beyond the physical, I’m interested in the ways that technology, especially the internet, has been recently utilized by women interested in thinking critically about gender and society. Through blogs like Jezebel, Feministe, Feministing etc., women exchange dialogue about their conception of gender and their experiences. I’m interested in how much impact this really has on the every day navigation of the world, on the political landscape, etc.

I don’t know when I first knew myself to be a gendered being. I never had some big giant realization, I have this feeling that it always just was. And as someone who has considered herself a feminist since the sixth grade, it’s hard to admit that in a lot of ways I’ve felt ashamed of the things that I was good at because they, mostly, conform to the norm. I’ve never been good at math, but I’ve always loved reading. Sometimes that makes me feel like a fraud, like some kind of nineteenth century throwback: how darling, she reads.

But just as I’ve always loved poetry, and fashion, I’ve also been passionate about social justice. Over the summer, I worked at two social justice non-profits at home in Boston, one which was primarily concerned with economic inequality and one that did anti-racism work. Through what I learned there I’ve become very interested in the gendered and racial wealth divides in the United States, and the world, and the how economies are structured to perpetuate these divides. Practically, how can technology be utilized to correct inequality?

Other than these interests I bring with me, I’m looking forward to developing new ones and learning a whole lot.

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