WSSA hosts talk about importance of feminism

Eileen Mansoorian

In spite of not having a space of their own, the Women’s Studies Student Association held the sequel to last year’s F-word event. The event, F-word 2, was held on Feb. 25 at 7 p.m.

Due to the fire that occurred at the Women’s Resource and Research Center on Dec. 18, the WSSA held the event at the Asian-American Studies Student Association house.

F-word 2 was an informal discussion, which provided the 32 attendees an opportunity to discuss issues relating to feminism that were important to them.

“It’s important to understand that there’s a movement,” said Melanie Klein, part-time professor of sociology and gender and women’s studies.

June Kwon, president of the WSSA, said she wanted to see more activism in the community in order for something to happen.

Klein was invited by Kwon to moderate the event.

Once everyone got situated, Klein broke the ice by having everyone introduce themselves and saying what they know about feminism.

“What I found out is a lot of people are feminists without knowing (it),” said Jennifer Jones, a communications studies major.

Jones, who initially came to the event because Klein was offering extra credit to her students, said by coming she gained insight about the subject of feminism.

Klein gave examples of the stereotypes that surround the word “feminism.” Some of the examples she mentioned were the stereotypes that feminists don’t shave their legs and hate men.

They’re stereotypes, not realities, Klein said.

The French coined the term “feminism” during the 19th century and it had a positive connotation, Klein said.

“If you were a feminist, you were super cool,” Klein said.

By the time the word “feminism” came to the United States, it had a negative connotation, Klein said.

Klein then discussed the first and second waves of feminism. She emphasized the importance of women speaking in public during the 1848 Seneca Falls Convention and how it was unheard of in those times.

“The other f-word is ‘freedom,'” Klein said.

The words “freedom” and “feminism” are interchangeable, Klein said.

During the next part of the discussion, Klein asked attendees what they considered the most important aspects of feminism to talk about.

Keishonna West, a communications major, presented the issue of women separating their emotions from business. She mentioned the media attention Sen. Hillary Clinton received when a picture was taken of her crying during her presidential campaign.

“Women who adopt masculine characteristics are rewarded by society to a certain extent until they want to run for president,” Klein said.

On the male side of the argument, Brian Ly, director of finance for the WSSA, spoke about how it is not socially acceptable for men to cry.

“I want to shed a tear every now and then,” Ly said.

Klein said many young women have been affected by the first and second waves of feminism, but they carry the assumption that it’s always been this way and they will always be this way.

“I say we have collective amnesia,” Klein said.