The Creighton Lieben Center for Women hosted an event on April 4 titled “Hope Not Hate: A Discussion About Feminism,” which sought to encourage the discussion of the many aspects of feminism, such as intersectionality.
Ellie McCreary and Allana Pommier, both sophomores in the College of Arts and Sciences and the social programming and education programming intern for the Lieben Center, hosted the presentation in the basement of Brandeis Hall on campus.
Pommier said that this discussion was not attempting to simply define feminism, but rather to “open up discussion about what feminism is.”
McCreary and Pommier defined feminism as the social equality of the sexes. This definition was used to guide further discussion.
The presentation also introduced the ways in which intersectional feminism is important to enacting many of the ideals of feminism.
The word “intersectionality,” as defined by Merriam-Webster, is “the complex, cumulative way in which the effects of multiple forms of discrimination (such as racism, sexism, and classism) combine, overlap, or intersect especially in the experiences of marginalized individuals or groups.”
McCreary and Pommier gave examples of how intersectionality is used to bring attention to women who have experienced other types of issues that were not based on their gender and may have not been heard otherwise.
It is “not enough to just talk about feminism without talking about intersectionality,” said McCreary. “We need to focus on educating people on the concept so we can have a more inclusive and thoughtful society.”
In addition to the discussion of the importance of intersectionality, misconceptions and issues regarding feminism were also discussed.
Among the examples given were American media personality Kim Kardashian saying that she “doesn’t like labels” and “does what makes [herself] happy,” as she did not want to be associated with the negative stereotypes associated with feminists, such as viewing women as being superior to men. The panel made clear that misconceptions such as these are incorrect.
Issues with feminism that were discussed included the notion that women should follow a universal code of “freedoms,” such as believing all women should not wear hijabs or other religious clothing that may be viewed as “oppressing” to women.
McCreary and Pommier said that women should be free to make the decision to wear religious clothing on their own, as their religious freedom is otherwise infringed.
College of Arts and Sciences sophomore Claire Franey, who was among those in attendance, said she was against the “use of women against women” and other rhetoric that is used to paint feminism as something that it is not.
Pommier herself said that she “[does not] personally identify as a feminist.”
“I know that many students here on campus do,” Pommier continued. “Therefore, providing the space and opportunity for promoting women, or anything important, for that matter, is really up to us as the student body.”
Pommier also said that it remains important to “promote justice and advocacy, especially for intersectional women.”