by Meg Shackelford, President, 2014

As the alumni of one (life-shattering) literary theory class, I am often reminded that what we might call “the beginning” is rarely, if ever, a true beginning. For example, just reading the previous sentence requires that at least three things happened before it could have ever existed: the concept of written language had to be invented and become a common form of expression, English had to develop as a language enough so I could use words like “alumni” and “theory” to communicate my idea, and literacy had to become common, allowing me to know how to write and you to read. Thus, that “beginning” sentence’s “beginning” existed long before its first word was typed.

I keep all of this in mind as I type this, the first post, the beginning, of the Troy University Women’s Initiative’s blog. This is less of a beginning and more of the culmination of a year and a half of passionate online and offline discussions on every topic, ranging from prostitution, free-market feminism, reclaiming “bitch”, abortion rights of families 1, 2, 3, and (so many) glorious cartoons depicting everything from the definition of agender, to explaining Judith Butler with kittens, and a multitude of period jokes.

Through it all our members challenged each other and their own views of issues as we learned not only how to formulate and evaluate our own educated opinions, but also how to discuss sensitive (and oftentimes socially divisive) topics while still remaining a cohesive and cooperating group. The off-line core group met and grew to appreciate the input of new online-only members and a couple of these we were able to finally meet in person. The definition of “member” was expanded to include anyone who had a healthy and contributive interest in the group and we continued to grow both on and offline.

All of this personal and communal growth quickly revealed a vital need: a platform for longer forms of expression on which discussions can be created and critiqued in a different form. In answer to this need we are opening the Women’s Initiative blog. Just like the offline group continues to grow and discuss, so also will the Facebook group continue its collaborative discussion function in WI. Women’s Initiative will continue to pursue its goal: serving and empowering people to live beyond the confines of binary systems, through as many avenues available to us.