Cecilia Stanton-Verduzco

Feminist Icon Series


Ms. Stanton-Verduzco

Anna Tarner, Senior Spotlights Editor

Cecilia Stanton-Verduzco is a beloved teacher here at Adams. But on top of teaching students the power of language, she also makes sure that everyone, no matter who they are, are welcome in her room. She’s a classic feminist model to look up to right here in Adams.

Ms. Stanton grew up in Chile, which is a very male-dominated culture. But even given this, she considered her mother being a feminist. “It’s interesting because at the beginning of my life was the end of the dictatorship in Chile, so the way that everything was in general, so military oriented, so dictatorship-oriented, my mother was a very outspoken woman and I think that really influenced the way I look at the world. Here we were stuck in a culture that was very male-dominated and my mother didn’t care and spoke her mind.” In Chile, women are the ones who do the cooking, cleaning up, and chores, but because her mom had such a strong personality and her father was American and “very progressive for a man,” they both cooked. “If someone came over it was my brother getting up and serving, not just me. So growing up in a small town in Chile, surrounded by all this machismo, (which it’s called in Spanish) and our household being so different, feminism is a different word for me then how we look at it here.”

When Stanton was ten, she and her family moved to New York where she learned English. When she turned thirteen, she went back to Chile and attended high school. She lived in her hometown until the age of eighteen, when she moved by herself to New York for several months and then started school at Notre Dame. “I always wanted to be a teacher, but in the culture I lived in the smartest people were pushed towards being doctors, engineers etc.” It came to be her senior year and she wasn’t sure what she wanted to do, but in Chile, students have to make a decision at 18 and they have to stick with it. “That’s when I made the decision on coming to the states.” At Notre Dame she studied languages and literature, and “had a blast, though I still wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with my life.” After graduating was when she began working with kids, which is what made her realize that she did, infact, want to be a teacher. She got her Masters in Secondary Education for Teaching, which led her here, where she’s been for the last 12 years.

Gender pay gap is a huge problem that affects many women in different fields. As far as teaching goes, Ms Stanton states that, “there isn’t a gender pay gap here, you get paid by your years of experience, but there have been instances when a male teacher will ask for a stipend for something that they need extra money for and get a response a lot faster, etc. But it’s been very minimal. I haven’t noticed a huge gap between the genders as far as money goes. In education in general, you don’t get paid well.”

Stanton states that, “Politically, there are so many different aspects to feminism. It depends on the group you belong to, or how you like at it politically. I think that’s the reason that so many people say, ‘I want equality but I don’t identify as a feminist’ because it creates such a political divide. You look at groups and think that they’re extremists and they’re going overboard. For Stanton, the definition of feminism isn’t just ‘equality between the genders. “To me, feminism is saying, ‘I’m proud to be a woman. I’m proud of who I am, and because I’m a woman I deserve just as much as a man gets. Equal rights, equal pay. I think it’s important, no matter what minority group, whether it’s indigenous people, African Americans, women, latinos, that they fight for their rights, and to get that equality. And that’s why feminism IS important because that’s where the fight starts and that’s where you go on to get those rights.”

A large portion of our society doesn’t identify as feminists, but they think the genders should be equal, just as feminisms do. When asked if she thought that it was more important for there to be more people identifying as feminists, or more people to adopt feminist traits, Ms Stanton responded with, “It’s sort of like ‘Black Lives Matter.’ People always say, ‘well all lives matter,’ and the problem is that there are certain groups that do not have the same rights. It’s the same thing with feminism. It should be a given that women have equal rights, but they don’t. That’s why feminism is important. Once we get to that point where there isn’t a necessity to fight for equal rights, we won’t need feminism as a platform, but we aren’t there yet.”

Society thinks that feminists have to look or act a certain way, which is very far from the truth. This is the same for members of the LGBTQ+ community, which Ms Stanton is a member of. When asked if being a member of the LGBTQ+ community changes the way she looks at feminism she responded with, “I don’t think my view of feminism has changed because I’m a lesbian, but I think that it’s allowed me to see how people view gender roles. An example being that sometimes people will ask Lety (her wife) and I, ‘Who’s the more masculine one?’ Except we’re two women, why does there have to be masculine and feminine? At the end of the day, you could be gay, bisexual, transexual, straight, tall, thin, short, whatever, and they’re all women.”