In light of recent events and national upset, a new club has been founded to educate a cause towards equality where the Islander Feminists aim to highlight the importance of women’s rights and championing social justice.
Senior English major Ariana Rodriguez said she founded the organization and works to manage, organize and market for the organization as well. She also works closely with the sponsors of the women, gender and sexuality studies minor to co-host events, allowing students and staff to discuss women’s rights topics.
“I have always had a passion for feminism and women’s rights,” Rodriguez said. “With everything going on in the world like the #MeToo campaign and the changes in legislation that will impact women, I felt we needed a space to talk about issues centered around gender and feminism.”
Rodriguez said the club’s mission statement in her eyes was to support pride in women’s studies and feminism through relationship-building, celebration, education, volunteering and fundraising. The Islander Feminists want to host future events dealing with education on the body, discussions on pop culture issues, how the media affects our judgments on gender and how to recognize sexism in our culture.
“This group is about what our voices can do to make a difference,” Rodriguez said. “If we can help women in this community and this campus, we’ve accomplished.”
Senior English major minoring in women, gender, and sexuality studies, Chanel Kern said she became a member because she is a supporter of equality.
“I want to help the Islander community to understand what being a feminist is, to break down the negative stereotypes that have formulated around the term and to help foster a more progressive community,” Kern said.
Kern said there is linguistic disconnect between the term and the stereotyped definition of the term, “feminist.”
“I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been in conversation, especially with male friends and family members who deny being feminists, but who wholeheartedly agree that women are, or at least should be, treated equally to men,” Kern said.
Kern said the idea of feminism is also misinterpreted in mainstream media. The term itself holds many negative stereotypes she said she hopes will be knocked down by this club’s message.
“I feel like I can’t make a big enough impact to change my reality, but I also have to remind myself that this simply isn’t true,” Kern said. “Society isn’t changed by the big gestures of a few people, it is changed by the small gestures of millions.”
The Islander Feminists seek to break down patriarchal oppression and provide a place where it can be discussed and analyzed openly. Kern said she encourages all citizens to get involved in things that can make the world a better, more inclusive place.
“I’m a woman, I’m a scholar, I’m a researcher, I’m a student and I’m here to help leave this University better than when I first came here,” Kern said. “I believe that Islander Feminists is a part of making that happen.”