"Exhibiting You" - Story

Oakland School for the Arts

By: Honors Senior English, Oakland School for the Arts
Submitted: 12/29/2008

The International Museum of Women really opened my eyes to the power of women. It introduced me to the creative ways in which women all over the world make an impact. I.M.O.W. has had a big impact on my life and how I view current events. The exhibit, Women, Power, and Politics (WPP) and the stories of the women featured, helped open my eyes to women’s power all over the world. I.M.O.W. connects people across the world and brings awareness to amazing women.

This organization is so inspirational and I really feel connected and empowered learning about women's struggles and triumphs around the world. After reading the different articles I feel like I have a wealth of knowledge about feminist movements and feel encouraged to take the necessary steps to ensure freedom and equal rights for everyone.

While reading stories about women and their political and moral struggles, I was very influenced and inspired by their dedication to effect change in their own communities and countries. The stories that struck me the most were those about the “unseen” women in the world who are making the biggest changes. The reason why I think the I.M.O.W. website is such a great tool is because it has stories from women who come from a wide range of cultures and countries. It not only brings women’s stories together, which are often not heard, but also, more generally, people from a very diverse spectrum. I think that the museum without “walls” is a great idea as it connects women and is easily accessible, broadening my awareness of my history as a woman.

It's been amazing to not only read about women’s struggles but to then be able to discuss them with our class, and work out our questions about issues we come across. I've never heard so many of my fellow classmates really talk about democracy, oppression, gender roles, etc, until we started exploring all the articles on WPP. I also love how I can go to an "exhibition" while still sitting in our classroom. Having the museum online makes it a lot more accessible to me, especially since I don't have to pay an entrance fee, can stay as long as I want and visit whenever I want.

Using the International Museum of Women’s website was a great teaching tool and I enjoyed the stories I read and learned about very much. A story that was very significant to me was the story of Benazir Bhutto and her assassination. It was amazing to me how even though the first woman president in Pakistan was not in office for long, the change she made was extraordinary. This story is truly inspiring because it shows how even in a place where your opinions are not accepted, it is vital that you make your point.

Reading the stories from the International Museum of Women have really opened my eyes to the different causes that women are coming together for worldwide. After reading these stories I know about several events that I did not even know existed. An interesting story was “Delta On Fire,” which discussed the different methods that the women in the Niger Delta used to protest. While the male protestors resorted to violent and destructive tactics, the women used nonviolent methods to express their beliefs.

These women sang, chanted, and blocked the doorways of the oil companies they were protesting against. When the Nigerian military responded to these efforts with violence, the women used something much more powerful than guns and destruction: their bodies. They threatened to strip naked, which is considered shameful in Nigerian society. This story taught me that it is not necessary to use force and violence to convey your beliefs. The fact that the Niger Delta women could protest using something as simple and yet as powerful as their bodies shows that the possibilities for protest are endless. These women inspire me to get involved and to strive to make a positive difference in my community.

I.M.O.W. has introduced me to women and their movements around the world that I would have never been exposed to elsewhere. Learning about these women, their courage and their passions, has empowered me as a woman and an individual. It has empowered me to thoughtfully critique and analyze everything around me and how the world can be changed peacefully and effectively.

Even though many of these amazing women we have read about were raised in a world that seems almost completely opposite from mine, I have found my connection with them. And that connection is our femininity and womanhood.

Donate Online »