Feminist Teacher Ileana Jiménez is Bringing the Gospel of Gender Equality to High School Students

It’s not too early to declare my #WomanCrushWednesday, is it? Because I’m declaring Ileana Jiménez, the high school teacher who created a feminism course for her students, my #WCW.

I didn’t start identifying as a feminist until toward the end of my senior year of college. I had been under the impression that being a feminist meant that you hated men. And even then, after "Intro to Feminism," I still felt like I hadn’t done enough studying and learning to *really* be a feminist. To this day, I still couldn’t tell you the difference between second-wave feminism or third-wave feminism but I now know that true feminism isn’t some elitist, man-hating movement. It’s simply about addressing equality from the focus of the inequalities that women have suffered throughout history and continue to suffer.

It took me years to understand that, and I wish I’d known it earlier. I needed a course like Jiménez’s “Fierce and Fabulous: Feminist Writers, Artists, and Activists” while I was high school. That’s why I’m so happy to see teachers like Jiménez making feminism accessible to high-schoolers. Watching this video actually made me tear up a little because — not to be cliché — children are our future, and the sooner we start teaching them how to be considerate and socially aware people, the better.

Some gems from the students:

“Everyone should consider themselves a feminist, because if you’re not a feminist, you just don’t understand what feminism really is.” - Emilio
“If you’ve ever been oppressed or if you’ve ever been discriminated against because of something you identify with or something you identify as, then you should definitely look into feminism.” – Diandra
“I like to think that in a given situation, in a very serious situation, I wouldn’t be a bystander. Not a lot of men are violent, but most men are silent.” –Jeremy

But it’s Jiménez’s last words in the video the capture why I wish I’d had a teacher like her when I was younger.

“Both the academic piece and the activist issue pieces need to be a part of schools. I think if we did that, K-12, I think we would live in a very different world.”
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