Hello all! My name is Amanda Fortier and I am graduating at the end of this semester. I am very excited to almost be done with my bachelor’s degree and am ready to take a semester off before starting graduate school. I majored in International Relations, minored in Communications, and will also receive a certificate in Women’s Studies. I can proudly say I loved every class that I’ve taken at UCF; I truly found subjects that I loved. My only challenge now is finding a job that I can love just as much. After my internship in Political Science, I decided I will not be using my degree in the way that I had planned on for close to 3 years. I dreamed of being a lobbyist, and I knew going into it that I would need to make deals with the devil. What I didn’t realize is often those deals would hurt those I want so desperately to help. I’ve decided to switch my focus and go to graduate school for Non-profit management. In the words of Douglas Adams, “I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I ended up where I intended to be.” I truly do believe I will get there.
I also just started a blog that some of you may be interested in reading. It is called “Finding My Feminist Self” and it is also on blogger. I’ve never had a blog before, so we’ll see how this turns out. I have decided to write about my journey through reading various feminist texts. Follow me at findingmyfeministself.blogspot.com.
Enough about me - on to the readings. In “Your Life as a Girl,” I could really identify with what the author wrote about. I attached a picture of me at 16. I hadn’t been 16 very long. I had my drivers license, good friends, a high school sweetheart. The world was my oyster and I couldn’t wait to explore it. I had self-confidence. I knew who I was and what I wanted. But when I graduated high school 18 months later, I was in a very dangerous place. I would eat 1000 calories a day. To put this into perspective, many doctors consider a caloric intake less than 700 calories to be anorexic. I would spend 2 hours everyday at the gym. Eventually I was too ashamed of myself to go to the gym, and continued my intense workouts at home where I would sometimes blackout. I know how I got there – fear of losing my boyfriend. I just knew he would never want me the way I was. In the end, I left him for other reasons.
It’s been just over two years now, and I’ve been on a long road since then. I have a much healthier relationship with food, exercise, and myself. I’ve dated, and I’m close to where I was at 16. I still look at that picture and wish to still be as care-free. I know eventually I will get there, and I’m proud of how far I’ve come.
There’s one other story that I could truly identify with. “The Management” sounds much like my first job. I will never forget how I got that job, or what happened. My friend at the time worked in a seafood restaurant. There was a job opening as a hostess, which is what she did. I went in to meet her manager with her. He said to my friend, “She’s cute!” then to me, “When can you start?” That was my first job interview. The job went ok for a while, but it didn’t take long for me to notice that the manager was an alcoholic. He would sit at the bar and drink all night. He would not cut off patrons who had drank too much. Twice I was when I was alone up front, men attempted to sexually assault me. One night he placed some of the hostesses in the bar area to “help out” with the large block party the town was having that night. After being stumbled over by drunken patrons and spoken to inappropriately more times than I can remember, I grabbed my friend and told my manager that if he continued to allow the girls at the restaurant to subjected to that kind of treatment, I would be calling the cops. I left the job soon after, and I have never worked in a place that served alcohol ever again. I still don’t like alcohol and I still choose to avoid places that will have excessive drinking.
In my time as a girl, I learned and went through many things. But the things I went through as a girl have made me into the woman I am today, and I wouldn’t change that for anything.