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Creating a space where feminism can flourish

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

The Weber State University Women’s Center is defining what it means to be a feminist through its “Sister Circle” series, which launched Oct. 15.

Over the course of a two-hour discussion, participants in the inaugural event were encouraged to speak up about topics they wished to share with the group. Women’s Center Program Specialist Alex Dutro-Maeda said the audience spent nearly the entire time brainstorming their definition of feminism.

“It went great,” Dutro-Maeda said. “It was a great group of people who came. We had some really interesting discussions around feminism and what it means to different people. We came up with our own individual and group definitions.”

One such definition was that that feminists “are a powerful and inclusive group that advocate for equitable rights and opportunities for people of all intersecting identities.”

Women’s Center staff member Mary Jarvis said she was intrigued by the topics that were brought up during the discussion.

“People talked about including others and fighting for rights,” Jarvis said. “Some people felt like it was just more about kindness or advocating for marginalized folks. There were a lot of different ideas being thrown around.”

Jarvis said the event began with an “icebreaker” that included participants putting on crowns.

“We wore (crowns) and told the rules we would make if we were queen tomorrow,” Jarvis said. “It was really fun, and we got started by laughing. I think it helped everyone open up and feel comfortable.”

Jarvis said she believes individuals flocked to the discussion for different reasons.

“Some people came because they were writing a paper, learning about a group that they were unfamiliar with,” Jarvis said. “Some were sitting in the Union. We ran down and invited them to come up, have a snack and talk about feminism with us.”

Dutro-Maeda appreciated WSU students’ interest in the event.

“We had set up for 15 people. We had to get extra chairs twice, so we were pretty happy with the turnout,” Dutro-Maeda said.

The next “Sister Circle” discussion will be held on Nov. 7, and Dutro-Maeda is looking forward to seeing the progression of the series. “Sister Circle” is intended to help students who identify as women/female come together and have open conversations with respect to modern-day activism, feminism and student life.

“The subject of (the next event) is positive self-image,” Dutro-Maeda said. “We are going to tackle ideas about what we say to ourselves that we would never say to another person. We are going to support other in creating a more positive and healthy self-image.”

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