Some more about me and some about my research
Hello to the PulseWire community,
For those of you who don’t know me, I am a volunteer here at World Pulse helping rock star Rachael and superstar Scott out with the Voices of Our Future program. I have volunteered with World Pulse off and on since 2009 and love being a part of this community. It is incredibly inspiring seeing so many of you share and connect on this forum, and I have, for some time now, wanted to engage more in this space but haven’t known exactly where to start.
In the role of VOF Listener, I read and commented on posts and offered my feedback to VOF applicants. In this role, however, I began to feel a disconnect between what I was hoping to see from others; that is, a personal engagement with the community through the sharing of stories, and what I myself was contributing. And I began to reflect on the fact that the building of relationships is not a one-way street. I must share parts of my self, of my own life, in order for personal connections with others here to begin to bud. And while this is something that comes more naturally to me in face to face interactions, it has been a challenge for me online. So, here I am, Emily Garcia; I am a voice of the Pulse and a woman deeply motivated by the passion and dedication I see exhibited here for the causes and empowerment of women around the world. And here is my voice. Here is where I’m coming from:
I come from a family of five sisters, a mother and a father, two sets of grandparents and an enormous group of aunts, great aunts, uncles, great uncles, cousins, first cousins once removed and second cousins. I have a big Irish Catholic family on my mother’s side and a Puerto Rican Catholic family on my father’s. While I grew up mostly with my mother’s family, my mixed heritage has been an important piece of my identity causing confusion at times, pride at others, and always motivating me to try and look at the world from multiple points of view...which isn’t always very easy to do.
I grew up in Southern California. I am the oldest and as follows was the bossy britches until I left for college at the age of 18. I love my sisters and feel so lucky to have grown up in a house full of intelligent, creative and kind growing girls. I myself have loved writing since I was a little girl and began writing stories in 1st grade. When I got a bit older, I grew terribly self-conscious and wrote less and less and hardly ever shared my writing with others.
In college I studied English and Global Studies, and in my final year of college I took a Women in Literature course and it was then that I fell in love with Marguerite Duras’ book The Lover. In fact I read this book as the author’s own coming of age novel in which she writes herself into being, and it inspired me. And so, emerging from my personal longing to find my own creative being, is my support (indeed my love) for women writers and story tellers who have overcome the obstacles to validating their being through personal testimony.
And this is one of the many reasons I love PulseWire. I see each story shared in this community as an act of agency validating one’s self worth and an act of resistance against the many discourses in our societies around the globe that say women are worthless. While these discourses are varied depending on the context and community and some seemingly more severe than others; for example, I do not feel that I as a woman am in constant threat of physical violence in my community, all discourses against women damage the spirit of both men and women. For me personally, my greatest struggle has been to remove that within my consciousness that says my self-worth is determined by my looks and my body. My rational self tells me all the reasons why this is absurd...and yet, someway, somehow (the potential sources for this irrational reasoning are innumerable in my society) it has become ingrained in my psyche.
I am currently finishing up a Master’s program in Global Studies, and for my thesis I began researching women bloggers in India and South Africa (as I attended university here in New Delhi and Cape Town this past year) and found a great number blogging about violence against women. In fact, here on PulseWire some of you have participated in blogging campaigns for the International Violence Against Women Act, for the 16 days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence (and today I see that this campaign is about to begin again!) and some have even shared their personal stories of violence that happened to them or to women close to them. These stories are, on the one hand, heartbreaking and infuriating, and on the other hand, cause for celebration in the sense that they are out in open, in public for the spread of awareness and the call for solidarity across-borders against such abuse.
I’m at the point in my research now where I would like to get in touch with the women who blog or have blogged about gender-based violence to ask about their experience of blogging on these personal issues, and yet, I hesitate not knowing how to approach such a sensitive subject without causing anyone any upset. I can see how some might question my motives, but my motives are sincere—I am researching this subject in order to evaluate new media’s role in gender-based violence. In some cases women are threatened by new media and in some cases empowered. So, this is what I’m exploring through personal narratives in order to get a humanist perspective. Any suggestions, thoughts or comments about this will be most welcome.
Thanks to all for listening! This has been a good experience for me sharing here with you.
I’m looking forward to connecting more! :)