The F-Word: Defined

By David Chiu, Class of 2014

When I came to the F word defined, I didn’t know what to expect. I knew that the subject was feminism but I didn’t know to what extent the panel was going to discuss feminism. I was pleasantly surprised to see who was on the panel and I was glad that I attended the event. There was nothing really new that was discussed at the event that I had not heard before but I think it was a good start to beginning a conversation about feminism on campus. Personally, I grew up in a household and attended a high school where there were plenty of strong women. So, if you acted in a condescending manner toward a woman in a conversation, you would get destroyed because they wouldn’t take any of that kind of attitude. So, the idea that women should have be by and large on an equal playing field as men does not bother me. The only area in particular that there is tension is in the realm of the church and gender roles. I am a Catholic and go to mass on Sundays. I am not exactly sure what I think about women not being able to be priests. I am not bothered that women preach in other faith institutions, but I am also not particularly concerned that women cannot be priests. So, there is some level of tension in my life in that area.

There were a couple of things that really stood out to me. First, I appreciated that defined feminism on the most basic level. The panel, particularly Amy Peterson defined feminism as the belief in the political, social, and economic equality of the sexes. Also, the panel clarified that there is not a singular feminism and there are actually many feminisms. I think that this idea of multiple feminisms was an important framework with which to view Feminism with a capital f. Not every person who calls themselves a feminist believes in the same brand of feminism and it is unfair to attach certain labels to a person that calls themselves a feminist. Another idea there has really stuck in mind is the idea of males and feminism. Dr. Moeschberger said that we, as males, should have a call to activism. In other words, if you, as a male, are aware of issues regarding gender issues, then you have an obligation to do something about it. I’m not totally sure if I’m at that point yet, but I think it is important to view activism as an ultimate goal. While gender roles and feminism may not be the sexiest topic, it is a prevalent problem in this country and throughout the entire world. Lastly, one statistic from the panel discussion will stick in my mind for a while. The statistic reveals that 1 in 4 women on college campuses are raped. I knew the percentage was not negligible, but that number is astounding. If this statistic is not a call to action, I don’t know what is. I hope that this event gets people talking on campus because this is an important issue.