An essay from Young and Feminist, a collection of feminist essays by high school students

To be a woman in the classroom is to be a paradox. A weird cohesion of wanting to learn about your passions yet being scared to voice what you know. Fear and knowledge both present, but never coexisting. This paradox follows us around every day. It is dangerous and it can inhibit us from going after what we really want.

Female classmates, myself included, often preface a very correct answer with an “I’m not sure if this is right but,” or a “I don’t know, maybe it’s…” In most instances, we are positive that we have the right answer, or know that what we have to say has meaning. We have studied, listened, understood, but that doesn’t really matter anymore. The underlying and irrational fear of being wrong and female at the same time overcomes the obvious intelligence and problem-solving skills. So, we don’t want to risk it. I try to catch myself after doing this and always tell myself to stop, bu...

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