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Collective Compositions: From Spaces of Silence to Empowerment

Garner, Ashley

Feminist studies have demonstrated that co-education can be disempowering for young women. From the onset of puberty, male voices gain ascendency in classrooms, clubs, and co-curricular activities (Bell and Golombisky, 2004). This paper explores the techniques of discursive empowerment created by Speak Out: Exploring Womanhood, a student organization at Rutgers University created to help university women develop voice and agency. The group meets weekly to discuss events that affect the lives of college-aged women. Each meeting features a writing workshop through which members individually and collectively create poetry and prose, fiction and nonfiction. Emphasizing cultural production as a means to engage male/body/race privileges, Speak Out publishes a newsletter both in print and online. By analyzing a selection of these texts, I will examine how writing contributes to an “empowered” or “vocal” self, one which addresses race and gender-based restrictions and injustices, while reimagining and articulating her rightful place in the world.

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Title
On Our Terms: The Undergraduate Journal of the Athena Center for Leadership Studies

More About This Work

Academic Units
Athena Center for Leadership Studies
Publisher
Center for Digital Research and Scholarship
Published Here
October 21, 2015
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