The feminist in U: Students share their perspectives


By Katelyn Billings


The Women’s Union at Union led a remarkable event this past week on the importance of feminism, and the value of women in society and on Union’s campus.

Led by Women’s Union President Kyra DeTone ’16, the club set up a table outside of Upperclass Dining and had students write why they felt that feminism was needed here at the U.

“The event was a suggestion from Rachel Refkin ’15 during the Vagina Monologues.

“The Office of Multicultural Affairs had just done the micro-aggressions campaign, and they thought it would be a good idea to apply it to Women’s Union,” said DeTone.

The event promoted the Union College Feminists, a social group on campus that aims to bring equality to Union’s campus and community and, by extension, society itself.

Many students, male and female alike, participated in this event, writing messages on white boards that varied from basic sentiments of equality to the breaking of gender role stereotypes.

“It was interesting to see different perspectives on the issue because they asked guys and girls who weren’t necessarily in the club itself,” said Caitlin McManimon ’16, whose feminism quote is pictured below.

The Union College Feminists have been working tirelessly to prove to the campus and the community that women are to be respected and held as equals to men in all fields, whether they be academic, social or political.

Events they have held in the past include the Vagina Monologues, which was very successful and popular among students and faculty in Union’s community.

The Women’s Union has raised a great deal of awareness for the feminist cause around campus, and many students now have a better idea of when feminism truly entails.

“I think it was a very successful event because we had a diverse group of people come and participate. Most of them were people I didn’t necessarily expect to give their opinions,” said DeTone.

Faculty, students, girls and boys alike all came to Upperclass Dining and showed their support for  Women’s Union, and, by extension, the feminist movement itself.

“I think this event is very important for Union because we need to keep the feminist movement going,” said Liz Murad ’16. Murad wrote on her board, “U needs feminism because people are not objects to be used.”

Women around the world are not living in ideal conditions, especially concerning their bodies and roles in their specific cultures.

Women are often discriminated against for their gender and sometimes have no control over their positions in society.

Through the “Feminist Coming Out” event, Women’s Union hopes to bring more awareness to this pressing issue.

“I thought it [the event] was a good way of anonymously and non-anonymously getting people’s opinions out there. They didn’t push you to, you volunteered to be a part of it,” said Vinita Kusupati ’16, a member of the Coalition.

DeTone explained that many of the boards left a lasting impression on her. One in particular struck her, regarding the point system and how sexual assault is punished.

“One said, ‘Because sexual assault should be 10 points,’ and that was the most memorable board to me.

“Physical assault is actually worth more points on the punishment scale than sexual assault.

“Although it is circumstantial,  I don’t think that punching someone in the face is worse than sexual assault, which is only two to nine points,” said DeTone.

Whether or not you identify as a feminist, the feminist movement applies to you.

Discrimination on account of gender is morally wrong, and instead of oppressing females and other people who are wronged every day, we as a society should be supportive and welcoming to everyone, in order to promote a unified campus.

Only then will we be able to truly see social changes in the world outside of Union’s gates.

“Everyone should be a feminist,” said Krishna Pokuri ’16.

DeTone explained that she would definitely pursue an event like this in the future and perhaps alter it to make it more unique to the college.

“I would definitely do something like this again. I think we’d think about changing it and making it more accessible to everyone on campus. Other schools also videotaped their responses, so we might look into that, as well!” said DeTone.

Feminism is growing stronger every day, and thanks to Women’s Union, it will be a prominent part of the community for a long time.



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