The La Femme club organized events daily from March 21-24 to support Women’s History Month and plans to promote Denim Day April 27. The feminist group aims to raise awareness about gender equality and rape prevention with their events.
La Femme will help support the upcoming Denim Day, when students are encouraged to dress in denim to signify that suggestive clothing should not be taken for sexual consent.
The student body has annually participated in Denim Day to start discussions about rape culture and how to prevent sexual assaults in the community.
To begin the week of activities, students could take a photo in the lounge with a whiteboard that said #TheFutureIsFemme. Written below the hashtag were the words “I am.” Participating students finished the sentence with an adjective of their choosing.
“I think it’s very inspiring as a girl to see both genders participate in the La Femme events that have taken place this week,” La Femme member Sarah Conway ’18 said. “I love seeing the community coming together, noticing and discussing gender equality.”
In response to an incident in Turkey last year where a woman was murdered after resisting rape, Turkish men wore miniskirts to bring attention to violence against women. La Femme leaders urged students to wear skirts to take a stand against rape.
A Post-it board in the lounge was available all day Wednesday, where students and faculty could finish the sentence, “I am a feminist because…”
“We had some pretty great responses on the board, and I know that they came from both males and females, which I think is amazing because it represents what feminism is, the social, political and economic equality of the sexes,” La Femme club leader Sohni Kaur ’17 said.
Elizabeth Edel ’16 started this concept earlier this year by taking photos of students around campus and asking them why they are feminists.
“We know that there’s a million good reasons for being a feminist and really no reason not to be one, and we wanted to spread that message,” Kaur said. “I think a lot of people shy away from labeling themselves as feminists because of the stigma around the word, but we wanted to show people that it’s really nothing to be afraid of. It’s actually something to be proud of.”
The club hosted an “equity bake sale” on Thursday in which women received a quarter back for every dollar spent to bring attention to the wage gap that exists between the different genders. Discussion of the event sparked controversy, particularly among the junior class.
“I believe that this frustration that some guys feel over having to pay an extra 25 cents will further allow them to understand the way a woman feels when she is cheated thousands of dollars each year for the same work,” La Femme member Daria Arzy ’18 said.
Despite opposition prior to the event, the club still decided to go forward in sponsoring the activity.
“The whole point of the bake sale [was] not necessarily to raise a huge sum of money, but to make a point, like this is what it feels like,” Kaur said, “This is what half of us are going to have to deal with when we grow up.”