The Freelancer

How my senior project turned me into a feminist

Lily Amador, Contributor

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This year La Serna seniors were given leeway to choose whatever they wanted to write about for the senior project. At first I had no idea what I could write that would interest me. I thought veganism would be a really great topic but I was still unsure.

During the senior project proposals I attended a speech at Whittier College. The woman speaking was Professor AlAnoud Alsharekh from Kuwait. I learned so much from that speech, and my whole perspective changed. The professor explained a concept to me that I had never bothered to learn: honor based violence.

My first question that came to mind was what in the world is honor based violence? Let me break it down for you. To understand the whole concept you need to know the basics to honor. The idea for honor is that a family should be generous in cultural hospitality, community and relational loyalty. Honor means everything for families or communities who believe in “traditional” and old fashioned ways of conflict and confrontation.

So why would honor be involved with violence? Well, because in old fashioned communities sexism still occurs. I´ll give you an example of a simple case of honor based violence. Samia Shahid was a therapist from Britain, an everyday gal. She was violently raped and murdered by her ex-husband and accused father. Her family was extremely angry because she had decided to end her marriage with her first husband and become married to another. She had violated the family’s concept of honor by making her own choice about what  was best for her as an individual. It is choices like these that cause women like Samia to be murdered brutally.

After reading numerous stories just like Samia’s I started to notice a trend. Women are being put down and facing discrimination. After doing so much research on my senior project I had a self- realization about gender discrimination and how it could affect me when I go off to college. As a Mexican woman I recognized the opportunity to become more active in politics and seize more opportunities that I am given because our ancestors were not given that same opportunity. Female empowerment needs to be fought for because if we don’t fight then we give in to suppression and discrimination. Women like Samia need to be heard and a discussion needs to begin on honour based violence because through conversations change occurs. Women need to be given the same opportunities as men when it is involved in careers, lifestyle, and society.

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How my senior project turned me into a feminist