RIISE Spotlight: Elon Collins 7th grade @RCS – Commentary on Gender

RIISE is proud to have Elon Constance Collins deliver the first blog of Women’s History Month. The middle school years, they say, are the toughest. It is a time of huge discovery and understanding of one’s identity in relationship to self and to others. One of the many benefits of an independent school education is finding that authentic voice and risking convention through critical thinking.  Many indy schools invest to expose students to thought leaders whose topics or research can instill self reflection, inquiry and development. We thank Elon for sharing what she learned from Jackson Katz and for giving us the feminine voice of a student of color attending an independent school. You make mom proud.

by Elon Collins

by Elon Collins

In February, I was fortunate enough to attend a program called Gender on the Agenda, presented by Jackson Katz. I believe that a few of my most important takeaways have to be, one, that gender has changed tremendously over the years. As humans that are constantly evolving, we are always changing our views and standpoints, and that is simply unavoidable. For instance, in the 1600s, men wore heels as a claim to fame. Meaning that it was only white men with significant titles that wore them. But since change comes with time, the heel quickly became a thing of the poor, then ladies fashion as it is today. However, platform shoes are still worn by some men. My second takeaway is the difference between sex and gender. There is a prominent difference between the two. Sex is equivalent to male or female. It refers to our genetailia. Gender on the other hand, is how we personally classify ourselves: boy, girl, transgender, martian, omnivore etc. It has nothing to do with our genitals. This made me review all of the surveys I’ve ever taken where they ask me my gender. There are almost always only two boxes to check: boy or girl. For the longest, I had assumed that gender was the same as sex. But now, I realize we are not bound to “the box”. We can step outside of it, afterall, how many times have you heard the phrase, “think outside the box”? My third and final major takeaway is how we are all slaves to our biology. Your life is what you make of it, and in society today, our sex directs 95% of the things we do and choices we make in life. I believe sex should be the least important thing when it comes to talking about a person. This is difficult though, because the first thing we classify people as when we first see them is male or female. It will be a long process, but I believe that our society will further evolve and 500 years from now, we’ll probably get to choose what gender we want to be. For now, we can only work on ourselves and really think about how we define “me”, because I know for a fact, it isn’t just male or female.

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  1. Elizabeth Azerad
    Posted March 8, 2014 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for this thought-provoking piece. I hope our society can achieve your vision of the future soon.

  2. Keisha Rollins
    Posted March 13, 2014 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

    Elon, that was soooo eloquently put . I love your art work as well.Keep up the great work!

  3. Karen Kolasinski
    Posted March 14, 2014 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

    What a mature piece. I have had many of the same thoughts. Your intellectual growth is evident. Excellent thinking!
    Mrs. K

  4. Elon Collins
    Posted March 21, 2014 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

    Thank you all so much for not only reading my piece, but sharing your thoughts on it as well. As a young writer it really helps my growth when I get to read reactions. This means so much to me, so thank you again!


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