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Feminism is more than just a word

“Feminism is kind of a tricky subject for some people because of the stereotype and how it’s portrayed in the media,” said Haylee Oyler, a WSU Women’s Center education and empowerment assistant. “It’s important for people to know what feminism is because, simply, it’s equality.”

The WSU Women’s Center hosted its first Sister Circle of the semester on Sept. 25. The theme was fempowerment, a continuation of their inaugural Sister Circle held in 2018. During the event, WSU students participated in games where they learned about feminism and standing up for themselves and others.

“Feminism is about being an advocate, feeling empowered, being who you are regardless of how you identify,” Oyler said. “Most importantly, it’s about being in any space without worry; everyone is included. It’s about coming together and lifting up others.”

Women’s Center Program Specialist Alex Dutro-Maeda said Sister Circle was created when the center consisted of an entirely new student staff. The center’s goal was to create an event that educates while simultaneously creating bonds.

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Attendees of the Sister Circle listen as other attendees introduce themselves. (Kalie Pead/ The Signpost)

“We wanted a focus on education but in the context of where students can meet people, feel safe, have fun all while getting this education; that’s how Sister Circle began,” Dutro-Maeda said.

During an icebreaker, some attendees were not sure how they would define terms like feminism and intersectionality. Dutro-Maeda said Sister Circle allows individual to learn in a safe space.

“Events like these are really great entry points for people that are starting to learn about these topics,” Dutro-Maeda said.

Attendees gathered in groups and participated in scripted scenarios. They navigated and talked through how they would react to certain situations, such as witnessing someone catcalling a woman.

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Nailah Mansa smiles laughs as the meeting starts. (Kalie Pead/ The Signpost)

“We took from our own personal experiences and experiences others have when it came to creating the scenarios,” Oyler said. “Then we talked about the different ways we can respond to them.”

Kristen Houskeeper, a WSU dance major, attended the event with friends.

“Our dance company is composed of all women this year, and our theme is along the same lines of feminism and fempowerment,” Houskeeper said. “These are topics that I care about and haven’t really gotten involved with until now.”

Gabriela Gray, a musical theater and dance major, heard about the event through a friend.

“I would consider myself a feminist, and I think having a place where everyone can have a sense of community and support is important,” Gray said.

Sister Circle’s end goal is to teach and educate students on how to be more self-aware.

“I hope that students that attended this event can walk away feeling more self-aware and feel like they have strategies for these real life scenarios, and that they realize that feminism isn’t big and scary. It’s really just an everyday practice,” Dutro-Maeda said.

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