(From The Campus Lantern – February 7, 2013)
I am an e-board member of a feminist club on campus, the National Organization for Women (NOW). Whenever I tell people about the club, I feel like they get scared at the mention of the word “feminist.” For some reason, the word has a negative connotation. People seem to think all feminists are raging lesbians who hate men and worship Satan.
I asked a few of my classmates to tell me the first thing that came to mind when I said the word “feminism.” The exact answers I received were: girl power, women’s rights movement, bitchy lesbian, and equal pay. According to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, feminism is “the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes.” Feminism is simply equality. It doesn’t have to be raging lesbians who refuse to shave their body hair or angry women who burn their bras. Feminists can fit these stereotypes, but no feminist that I know is this extreme.
As a feminist, I play my part by being a member of NOW, discussing women’s rights issues, and thinking of ways to make a difference. For example, there is an issue in America currently with abortion. Some Americans think that the country should be pro-life, meaning that abortions should be illegal. I, as well as most feminists, am pro-choice. The government, which is dominated by males (for example, according to wcffoundation.org, women hold only 17% of the seats in Congress), has no right to rule what a woman does with her body. Eastern’s NOW is taking action against this issue by rallying at Care Net on Main Street in Willimantic in the spring. According to Care Net’s website, they are “committed to empowering individuals to make informed choices.” They claim to help females “be sure of” their “options and find some real solutions before” their decisions are made. However, on their website, their “Abortion Education” tab is very one-sided: their information provided makes abortion seem less like an option and more like a dangerous procedure that should not be taken into consideration. Their website includes only negative topics relating to abortion, such as “Abortion and Breast Cancer,” claiming that having an abortion might cause breast cancer since “carrying a pregnancy to full term gives a measure of protection against breast cancer.” This is ludicrous information and action has to be taken against Care Net.
If you are interested in feminism and equality, join the National Organization for Women chapter on campus. Meetings are Thursdays at five o’clock in the Student Center in room 107. As a club, we have big things planned for this semester, and if you want to be a part of the feminist movement, come to the next meeting!