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The “F” Word: A Discussion on Feminism and White Privilege

On November 16, student leaders from the Black Student Union, HUELLAS, and Psychology Club organized an open forum discussion on the relationship between feminism and white privilege.

The conversation was led by Meghann Soby ’16 and Jonathon Rowe ’18. Attendees included Emmanuel alumni Kyera Sterling ’15 and Phillipe Miranda ’15, Professor Clare Mehta, and Vice President of Student Affairs Patricia Rissmeyer.

Soby and Rowe began by showing students video clips from the Huffington Post and MTV discussing white feminism and intersectionality: the idea that mainstream feminist arguments assume that all women experience misogyny the same way that middle class, straight, cis, white women do, ignoring the experience of women of color, LGBTQIA people, and many other groups.

Following the videos, Soby and Rowe passed out index cards, and instructed participants to write down a question or topic they wished to address within the discussion.

The first topic addressed by the group was the issue of women breaking into male dominated fields, such as STEM and professional sports. Sterling suggested that it is up to women to reject the competitive nature they’ve been trained to embrace, and work to support, mentor and empower other women. She stated that, “there will be a place for women in these careers when we work together to create a place for them.”

Students then turned their attention to ways of bringing up the issue of intersectionality in the classroom, to which Professor Mehta implored students to take it upon themselves to be advocates for their peers from different social backgrounds. She suggested that students ask questions about intersectional issues, and push their professors to explain ideas to them from multiple perspectives.

Finally students examined why fourth wave feminism has received such a bad rap from men and women alike. Various suggestions were made including the idea that feminism has always been an outlet for middle class, white women, failing to incorporate all types of women.

Discussing intersectionality is a way forward for not only feminism, but all areas of academic discussion. The many perspectives and alternative narratives that exist in society helps to push society for and test the bounds of our education.

Soby, Rowe, and other event organizers successfully exposed students to new ways of thinking about not only feminism, but their own duty to question the status quo within their daily interactions.

 

Posted by on November 21, 2015. Filed under Around Campus. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.