SAW discusses feminism’s history, intersectionality in women’s forum
Students for the Advancement of Women kicked off women’s history month with “Grab Them by the Patriarchy,” a discussion on the different waves of feminism through U.S. history.
Through powerpoint presentation, SAW Vice President Bailey Guidroz dissected the different periods of feminism, from the “pretty general” first wave of general-interest based feminists to the second wave that focused more on reproductive freedoms and education.
“Before this, education was just a plan B; just something to fall back on for women if they couldn’t get married,” she explained.
Guidroz summarized the third wave of feminism, the current wave, as having goals, including expanding feminism to include rights for “not only white women;” expanding reproductive rights “even more;” and addressing gender violence.
“Third-wave feminism definitely receives critique for lack of cohesion,” Guidroz added after listing the topics.
After the slideshow, she transitioned to the topic of intersectionality with a video and opened the floor to comments afterward by asking, “Why is intersectionality necessary?”
“I feel like it’s very easy to focus in on our experiences and our lives, so it’s easy to leave people out on the conversation. Intersectionality says ‘Hey, other people matter,’” said Kabelo Chirwa, a first-year graduate student at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.
Chirwa cited an article he read about a Native American woman’s experience at one of the several Women’s March protests held around the U.S.
“For her, it wasn’t as empowering. It was more pushing her culture and her way of life aside, and she felt as if her point of views didn’t matter as much,” he said. “Intersectionality says ‘No; people like her were here first. People like her matter.’”
“The Women’s March definitely had some things to work on in that way. I was told that it was organized by a diverse group of people, but attracted a lot of the same type of people,” Guidroz said in response to Chirwa.
Other questions Guidroz asked included: “‘Why are some women against feminism? Who’s responsible for saving rape culture? Do men take interest in women’s issues?’”
The questions led the discussion in the direction of addressing current issues that women face, as well as negative connotations associated with feminism.
Taz Thomas, a student who attended the forum, said he attributes negative connotations of feminism to feminism meaning different things to different people.
“Feminism has a definition, but to different people, it has different definitions,” said Thomas. “Different people have different experiences and because of that, they’re fighting for different things.”
After about an hour of discussion between the audience and herself, Guidroz asked, “What women deserve recognition that do not already get enough?”
After talking about women such as Dorothy Day, Marsha P. Johnson and the women who inspired “Hidden Figures,” Guidroz added one more to the list: Helma B. Constantine, who was the first black woman to attend the University of Southwestern Louisiana after integration.
“I didn’t even know this until I walked in and read that plaque earlier, but she played a big role in desegregating this campus,” Guidroz said.
grab em by the patriarchy! women’s studies meeting https://t.co/tY6ABGFFHU
— The Vermilion (@TheVermilion) March 7, 2017