Politics and French / HSPS Personal Statement

Humanity and its contradictions are extraordinary to me. I find incredible our attachment to the concept of bettering ourselves as a species, and conversely our penchant for inflicting tragedies, like wars, upon ourselves. I endeavour to learn more about mankind as a whole - its political, societal, and linguistic beginnings - and its evolution into modernity.

As a young woman in a world marked by extreme political turbulence, I take particular interest
in Feminism. My History course has not only allowed me to develop excellent analytical skills but demonstrated to me the importance of the Suffragette movement in championing gender equality. However, since gaining political franchise from the late 19th century onwards, the focus of women globally has evolved from suffrage to freedom of choice. One such example is in contemporary American politics: the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to serve on the Supreme Court has led to fears that the revolutionary Roe v. Wade judgement may be overturned. Women's right to abortion, and therefore bodily autonomy, may be withdrawn.

The situation reminds me of Margaret Atwood's 'The Handmaid's Tale', which depicts a dystopia in which abortion is outlawed and a woman's sole purpose is to act as an accessory to a man, most poignantly as a birthing tool. Upon reading it, I began to question the role that is imposed upon women today. Is our conception of femininity still rooted in fertility and servitude? Modern attitudes may have shifted to emphasise financial success and self-sufficiency, but there is still high value placed upon women taking on emotional over instrumental labour.

I recognised a parallel between the ‘Marthas’ in Atwood's novel and the 1960s housewife, leading me to read Betty Friedan's 'The Feminine Mystique'. Her book examined women of the 1960s and their values. Should one choose to pursue a career over domesticity, she would be perceived as a failure. What struck me in Friedan's work was the passivity that women adopted; any previous ambitions were replaced by a desire to build ‘the perfect home’. Today's successful 'strong' woman would not entertain the concept.

Languages are also a topic of fascination to me. My Franco-Lebanese heritage has given me invaluable insight into how languages and culture breed diversity, which is the blueprint for tolerance. My particular interest is in French language and society. Tutoring younger students in French has enabled me to develop my fluency and excel within the subject. Similarly, the research I undertook for my Independent Research Project on the issue of police brutality in France has enhanced my understanding of its current political climate. A documentary titled 'A Story of Police Violence in France' by Ross Domoney, in which Gilet Jaune protestors recount their injuries at the hands of the police, was instrumental in my research. I find it paradoxical that a nation built on 'liberté, egalité, fraternité' can equally be witness to the use of force against its own citizens; in other words, human ambivalence at its finest.

Beyond academia, my interests vary, but continue to have a strong political orientation. For example, I joined a Black Lives Matter committee to discuss ideas with teachers about making my school a more inclusive institution. I was also selected to give a speech at the Rotary Club Youth Speaks competition on the topic of sexism in Hollywood; these opportunities strengthened my debate and public speaking skills to a competitive level. Moreover, I frequently attend Model United Nations conferences, where I demonstrate my aptitude in these areas. I also learn of the political systems of nations I represent, such as constitutional republics like the USA or absolute monarchies like Saudi Arabia.

My experiences, and the passion I hold for addressing inequalities, have reinforced my conviction that I will be an ideal candidate to pursue a course in Politics.

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Author's Comments

Didn't feel like I did enough wider reading beforehand - COVID messed up how my school was going to help to prepare us for applications

Predicteds: A*A*A in French, Sociology and History respectively

Applied 14 Oct 2020

Cambridge - Rejected

Manchester - Offer after interview (Mid-December)

Leeds - Offer (Late October)

Bristol - Offer (Late October)

LSE - Added this as a choice in Mid-December. Waiting as of 09/02/2021, but I have a feeling it'll be a rejection haha

GOOD LUCK

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