I’m not sure if it’s due to the current sociopolitical climate or if the stars have just aligned a certain way for me, but the major focus in most of my classes this semester is hope. As a disclaimer, I’d like to state that I am a Forensic Psychology major and a Gender Studies minor. We talk a lot about the future and what needs to change in both fields. We’re thinkers and we’re talkers in every sense of the word. However, talk is talk. This semester there has been a bit of a shift. We’re not just talking about what needs to change and giving ourselves a pat on the back anymore. We’re putting eggs in a basket, setting up walkouts and rally’s, and feeling hopeful. Or at least, that’s what I think my professors want me to feel, especially else feels so hopeless. I think they, the professors, hope we, the students, are angry enough to do something. I think we are. We’re a good bunch of activists and protesters.
I’m getting asked the question, “are you hopeful” a lot, regarding a wide variety of things. Mainly though, its asked about things related to feminism. Am I hopeful? Do I think that things are going to change?
To answer the question: Yes but no.
Things have to change for better or for worse. We are not a stagnant society. We literally have to change. Even the avoidance of change causes change. I don’t believe our efforts will be in vain. All the protesting, all the anger, it’s going to pay off one day, it has to. We are not erasable. Even if in a hundred years, all that lingers of these days are the whispers of the beginning of a great uprising, that’s still going to do something.
I just don’t think its going to do something now. I am hopeful. I’m full of hope. Just not for us. I believe we are setting the stones for the people after us to build.
I said this in class a few weeks ago and my professor laughed saying, “It’s funny, I think the same thing, but for you. You’re the builder.”
I disagree. I think my generation is very much a transitional generation. We don’t finish the race, we just pass the baton.
Here’s why: My mom is super homophobic, so was my grandma, and probably my great grandma too. However, my mom is trying to not be stuck in that way. Her effort has caused me to grow up with some very liberal ideas. That shift in mentality took one generation. It took my mom living her life and giving birth to a gay daughter to make that change. My mom is in her 40s. That’s not very long.
I think it’s unfair for me to expect myself to build a whole new system of open thinking when people my mom’s age are very much still alive and in positions of power. Although I know my mom loves me, I also know her love for me isn’t enough to stop her from making a face at a gay couple. If I assume everyone in my mom’s generation has had the same breakthrough she did, I’d have to also assume that it wasn’t enough to change the nation.
But its okay, because the generation after us are going to vote people like me into power, and that’s when I believe we’re really going to see a change. We can already see the seeds of it being planted in people like Greta Thunberg or Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. So, not to be morbid, but its all a matter of waiting for the homophobes and anti-feminists to die, basically.
It’s a really tricky thing to be hopeful. Especially because I don’t like to feel disappointed, so if I can foresee it, I try to avoid it. Which is why I’m trying not to feel anything too strong about anything sociopolitical at this current moment in our history.
I have a bit of an attitude when it comes to these things though. I think everyone should have an opinion, no matter what the opinion is. And of course, I feel like we should feel hopeful, no matter how little it is. How can you have an opinion not backed by hope? Every so often I do encounter people who flat out do not care for themselves or for others. In my head it’s like, “asdfghjkl how dare you not care?!” What kind of world do you live in where you get to not care? As if it won’t affect you, or your kids, or me, or my kids. How dare you have such little empathy for the lives around you?
But at the same time, I kind of get the selfishness behind it. We’re fighting for a change that will not be ours. It’s hard to keep going when we don’t get to live in the paradise we help build.
What’s interesting about this thought though is that, I called my friend while writing this. She’s a bit older than me. She said that she sees the change that she wanted to see happen when she was a kid in my generation. I just don’t see it because I’m a little too close to it.
It really got me thinking, maybe setting up sociopolitical bricks is a form of building? Maybe we’ve been doing it all along…
Also, Happy Spooky Season. May the Spook be with you.