Faces of Feminism brings women’s issues to light

Every Tuesday at noon, a group of passionate students sits in an empty classroom in Langdale Hall to discuss the inequality they face every day.

These students are members of Georgia State’s Faces of Feminism, which aims to change the misrepresentation of feminists and bring light to women’s issues on campus.

These issues are not about hating men or being better than men, as some people might think. Rather, the topics revolve around issues like rape, abortion and race – real problems that affect women’s lives.

Feminists have come a long way from the first wave, to the second, to now. But even though issues such as rape, abortion and race have improved, they are still not resolved.

Professor Maria Myers is a feminist media specialist at Georgia State. She said that society is in a conservative period where it is just now starting to move forward.

“In the 70s feminists thought there was going to be a lot of social change – that things are happening, and things were moving,” Myers said. “Right now we are stuck in a period of backlash.”

According to Myers, feminist movements should be moving forward when they clearly are not. Among one of the issues is the understanding of rape. Feminists agree that it is ignored, mischaracterized and legitimized.

Rape is an issue that feminist student Shantel Sloan-El is passionate about.

“People always tell women how not to wear your skirt short, and it really pisses me off why women have to do these things to not get raped,” Sloan-El said. “They should probably tell men not to freakin’ rape people.”

For student Alexis Okeke, feminism is about how she sees herself. Once she stopped feeling attractive based on what people viewed her as, she then started to feel attractive for herself.

“Feminism is accepting yourself for who you are and not caring about how other people see you,” Okeke said. “It’s also about not oppressing other people while you’re uplifting yourself.”

For feminists, oppression means to keep someone down in a social sense. An example could be white privilege. Historically speaking, a feminist was identified as a white, middle-class woman. White people were made to feel better about themselves and had other privileges compared to people of color.

Pop culture can play an active role on feminism. With the recent performance of Miley Cyrus, many questioned if she was making a feminist point. Faces of Feminism leader Sara Betancur said she can see both sides to Miley’s performance.

“I think she is trying to empower herself, which is a feminist ideal, but she is doing so at the expense of bad culture and she’s using her white privilege to do that. In one way she is being empowered, but in another way that is oppression.”

Betancur is identified as a Latin American, but was being viewed as an immigrant, which caused her to feel like a burden. She then began to start analyzing her own culture, which led her to feminism.

Men can also play a role in feminism. Spending time with his mother and grandmother, Allen Character got his ideals by having casual feminist conversations with the two of them.

As Character has learned about feminism he has informed his mother and grandmother, just like they did for him.

“It needs to be accepting for women like my mother and my grandmother who grew up in a rural area and did not have access to health care and everything.”

He now believes that everyone should have access and information to these things.

When Faces of Feminism promote feminism with informational flyers in the courtyard, students will go up to them and bash what they stand for and their beliefs.

“We have had people come up to us to tell us that we hate men, which is not true,” Betancur said. “And a lot of people will come up to our booth, mostly men, who are mostly just ignorant.”

Feminists are often misread, when all they really want is equality for all people.

“‘Feminism is the radical idea that women are people,’” Myers said.

The idea that women are equal to men in terms of rights and treatment is what Faces of Feminism is trying to bring light to, on and off campus.