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Palo Alto, CA

Welcome to The Shabby Suitcase - a blog documenting the creative outlets and general wanderings of a nomadic twenty-something. 


The latest adventure.


Grad School Reactions

Marissa Conway

the look: dress by Kimchi Blue, shoes and sunnies from Target, necklace from Miyamo, bracelet from Therapy

In a month - or in other words, the blink of an eye - I'll begin graduate school in London, taking the first wobbly steps towards my ideal occupation, one that took years to discern.  It starts with this master's degree in gender studies and ends (hopefully!) with a career in foreign policy.  I am thrilled, I am proud, and in many ways I feel like I am finally moving forward with my life.  And the reactions I've received when announcing my move to London are absolutely priceless:

"Oh, so, what are you going to do with that degree, go into HR?"

"You're going to read Harry Potter to kids and sneak in a penis-hating subplot, aren't you?"

"Aren't you worried that 'your time of the month' will get in the way of a career in foreign policy?"

These are the more bizarre and equally amusing responses, ones that I have to laugh at simply to maintain my sanity.  They're indicative of many a speedbump that slows the way to celebrating gender equality, to celebrating women as fully equal actors in society.  These comments, whilst unintentionally, seem to limit my capacity for potential, and constrain my personality to that of a feminazi, or a delicate girl ruled solely by hormones.  They disallow for the full spectrum of an individual, of me - someone who sometimes doesn't wear a bra, and sometimes wears very girly pink.  Sometimes watches the Bachelor, and sometimes angry tweets at companies with sexist commercials.  I am more than a feminist, I'm more than a woman even, I'm simply a person, complicated and messy and real.  My identity as a feminist, and my pursuit of this master's degree, while largely effecting my values, does not strictly dictate the way in which I choose to live my life, nor provide any rules on how to express creativity, and certainly doesn't limit my femininity. 

So I suppose that while these comments annoy me, they also fuel me.  It's a reminder that what I'm about to study is incredibly relevant, and that these moments are opportunities for a greater conversation.  Plus, and let's be honest, over a glass of wine with friends they make for wonderfully hilarious stories.