Folsom Lake College's Online Newspaper
by Shania Pence
Feminism: The theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes
On March 7, 2017, a group of Folsom Lake College Professors (Marsha Peralta, Diane Carlson, Gena Estep, Paula Haug, and Rebecca DeVille) came together to explain what feminism is and how throughout history and the media feminism has been portrayed as something negative.
The event started with introductions and reasons why each call themselves a feminist. Some reasons include not being able to play on the monkey bars in school because females had to wear skirts, a child saying that boys and girls cannot play with the same toys, and through the career path one chose.
Next, individuals in the audience were asked to read facts out loud that were placed under the chairs. The first fact read was “Gender inequality is not a women’s issue. It is a human issue.” Another fact read contained the breakdown of female teachers, administrators, principals, and superintendents for school district, including that African American women make up only 0.65% of superintendents in California. Yes, that is less than 1% of superintendents.
History professor, Gena Estep, talked about the perception of women throughout history. Some of the information she gave includes that in the first feminist wave, women were perceived as “silly” or “childlike.” Society often portrayed these women as broken and unlovable. During the suffrage movement, it was said that women can be easily skewed from the movement by offering them shiny objects or a penis.
Some more facts were read by the audience. Some facts include the breakdown of women in Congress, no state provides “total access” to comprehensive reproductive healthcare in the United States, and about 140 million girls will be child brides (an individual who marries before age 18, usually forced) between 2011 and 2020.
Communications professor, Paula Haug, discussed how the media has influenced reactions to feminism. Since the beginning, feminism has been highly politicized. Recently, with the Women’s March on January 21, 2017, many headlines and news pieces leading up to the march were negative:
The success of the march also brought backlash from many media outlets and social platforms:
Professor Paula Haug ended with a personal example of how feminism is political. She used the example of not being allowed to wear pants to work until 1994 when a law was passed saying women can wear pants to work. After the law was passed, her employer said that if a woman wanted to wear pants, she must wear a tie like the men in that particular work location.
At the end, Professor Rebecca DeVille said there will be a meeting Monday, March 13, 2017, in the conference room (FR-108) at 1:15 for a student feminist club. She encourages all students interested to attend.
Overall, the event had a large turnout and contained many useful facts. By the end, the audience was able to better understand what feminism is and how it is still relevant. A handout of sources and places to go for more information was also handed out. This list is provided below--
(Body image, eating disorders, and media)
Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW): www.catwinternational.org
(Advocacy, education and prevention programs for victims of trafficking and prostitution in Asia, Africa, Latin America, Europe, and North America)
Equality Now: www.equalitynow.org
(Hold governments responsible for ending female genital mutilation -- FGM --, legal inequality, seual trafficking and sexual violence)
(Information about human rights, women’s issues, health, anti-violence resources, grassroots activism, women’s businesses, etc.)
(Confronts gender-selective atrocities against men and women worldwide)
International Center for Research on Women (ICRW): www.icrw.org
(Empower women, advance gender equality and fight poverty in the developing world)
International Women’s Health Coalition: www.iwhc.org/getinvolved
(Advances the sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and young people, particularly adolescent girls, in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East)
National Organization for Women (NOW): www.now.org
(Working to promote feminist ideals, lead social change, eliminate discrimination, and achieve and protect the equal rights of all women and girls)
(Global movement and series of consciousness-raising events to end violence against girls and women through public performances, education, and networking)
(The primary provider of crisis intervention services for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault in Sacramento County)
Support & Information Line: 916.920.2952
Manifesta: Young Women, Feminism, and the Future by Jennifer Baumgardner
Matilda Joslyn Gage: She Who Holds the Sky by Sally Roesch Wagner
Women, Church and State by Matilda Joslyn Gage
We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Fight Like a Girl_ 50 Feminists Who Changed the World by Laura Barcella
The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan
FLC Main: FR-108