Threatened by My Expression

“Love sporting the ties and man jeans.”

Hold a Conversation

In addition to the questions below, please see How to use the questions for reflection.

Clarifying Questions
  • Why is fashion important to the speaker?
  • What does the speaker mean by the term “expression?” Why does she think people are threatened by hers?
  • Why does she “push harder” to “change things?”
  • How does the speaker think we can celebrate difference?
Interpretive Questions
  • Why do people label others pejoratively?
  • Do you agree that we need to “stop being so politically correct” – why? why not? Will being less PC really break barriers – why? why not?
  • What does it take to “embrace difference?” What can happen when we do so?
  • How could learning more about difference change the outcome of the speaker’s situation?
Implication Questions
  • If you overheard this speaker being called, “Faggot,” outside a dorm, how could you respond to interrupt the behavior or change the situation?  What would make taking this action daunting?
  • What if it were your friend being labeled?  What if it were someone on your residence floor?  How would that change the way you’d respond if at all?
  • What if the person doing the shouting were your friend? lived on your residence floor?  How would that change the way you’d respond if at all?

Let us know how the conversation or self-reflection went. Email us or discuss the experience in our comment box.

Transcript for Threatened by My Expression

I’ve got super short hair. Love sporting the ties and man jeans, not particularly because I feel super masculine. I think they’re cool, and I don’t think that by me being a female I shouldn’t be able to wear them. But other people have different…differing views. I found people almost being threatened by my expression. When I would go and take a walk or something, particularly outside of Alumni Hall, I would have people scream ‘faggot’ at me all of the time and things like that. I’m not one of those people that really gets hurt by that, but it really, really bothered me because I know of many people that it does really affect. It just pushes me to push harder and to try to change things as much as I can.

I guess the way I want to see Valpo in the future is just embracing and acknowledging the fact that we all have differences, but also, everyone to come together to celebrate the differences. I think it would be really great for people to stop being so politically correct and to say what they feel. I know I have a problem with doing that. But I think in order for barriers to be broken, people need to be more frank and honest so that we can get through the stereotypes and all of these other things to sort of reach a common ground. And I would like to see people coming out and pushing their boundaries. Cause that’s another thing that scares me that people are so comfortable with the people they associate with, myself in particular, where we feel that we don’t need to learn more about diversity or about other people, and I think that’s crippling to not only the university but someone’s personal growth.