I am writing this letter in reference to an article published today, Sept. 24, by Georgia States newspaper The Signal about Faces of Feminism (refer to page 14). The reporter was invited to participate in one of our meetings focusing on what feminism means to different members and to the organization. Afterwards, she was able to interview one of Faces of Feminism’s leader, Sara Betancur. Unfortunately, the article misrepresented the organization even though it was stated many times what Faces of Feminism is about.
I would like to start with the subhead “Bringing women’s issues to light,” which is used again in the second paragraph. The article fails to show how Faces of Feminism is an intersectional and inclusive organization. Intersectionality means that we look at feminism through a lens that takes into account all forms of oppression and how these intersect. Inclusive is also related to intersectionality, as we aim to include all gender identities (not just women) and different bodies (relating to race, ethnicity, ability, gender, sexuality, class, etc). Therefore, the article is taking away from Faces of Feminism’s focus to include all the different people that are oppressed by different things.
Additionally, the first paragraph mentions that the organization’s weekly meetings are used “to discuss the inequality they face every day.” Again, this is untrue. Although we do talk about our personal experiences and the experiences of people who attend the group related to inequality, we also try to have a larger perspective and we try to understand how people aside from ourselves are affected by oppression and inequality. A transnational and intersectional focus is something very important to the organization.
Moreover, the last paragraph really misinterprets the goal of feminism—at least the feminism used by the organization. It says that what we want is “equality for all people” and that “the idea that women are equal to men in terms of rights and treatment if what Faces of Feminism is trying to bring light to, on and off campus.” This does not express an important fact that was talked about during our meeting, saying that feminism is about liberation rather than equality. This is important because we need to take into account how the many intersections of oppressions need liberation before equality can even be considered. Also, focusing only on men and women erases different gender identities. As an organization, we aim to be inclusive of all gender identities and stray away from only talking about men and women dynamics.
Additionally, during the meeting and interview, we spoke about our organization accepting people who are feminists, those who aren’t, those who have questions and those who want to learn more. Our organization is based around discussion, and one of our main goals is to welcome everyone to our meetings and events, and this way open up discussions that interest all students and members. However, the quote that says “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” fails to present that. While this is sometimes true, Faces of Feminism as an organization does not want to ignore the fact that the majority of people that come to our table are interested in the organization and do not bash what we stand for. The following quote is also in reference to tabling in the courtyard, and my (Sara Betancur) quote should be corrected to “… mostly men, who are mostly ignorant about feminism.” I do not want any statement saying the men who come talk to us are ignorant in a general sense; rather, sometimes they have little or no knowledge of what feminism actually stands for.
It is important to point out that Allen’s (mentioned in the article) gender identity was talked about incorrectly. Allen explained they use they/them pronouns which was made clear during the meeting at which the reporter was present. However, “he” pronouns were used, which is very disrespectful and adds to the erasure of trans, genderqueer and non-binary people not only from society, but also from feminism. Further, Allen wishes for their last name to be omitted. Alexis Okeke also expressed that it was important to refer to the fact that being a black feminist is important to her, and to mention how she views herself and how she is viewed by society are related to being a person of color and are things that influenced her decision to be a feminist. Not mentioning this in the article leads to the erasure of race and the experiences of people of color in feminism, which also goes against an intersectional feminist framework.
We are very dissatisfied by this article. It misinterpreted the organization and took many things out of context. It misquoted me many times, which not only misrepresents me but misrepresents how the organization is viewed as a whole due to me being in a leadership position. The goals of Faces of Feminism as a whole and on an individual level of the organizers are very different from the ones shown in the article. The article was written in an oppressive language by omitting the many different types of oppression and by omitting the many different gender identities that are also affected by the patriarchy, which both do the opposite of what we want to communicate.
In the paragraph referring to Miley Cyrus, I, Sara Betancur, would like to clarify that I was misquoted. First, I said that Miley’s actions are being done at the expense of Black culture, not bad culture as the article says. This is an important clarification because I do not want Black culture to be referred as something bad in any shape or form. Also, I did not say “she is being empowered,” I said “she is trying to be empowered,” which is very different.
Also, the expression that I am viewed as an immigrant erases the fact that I am indeed an immigrant from Latin America. My perceived status is not the only thing that has influenced my interest in feminism; actually, my experiences as a Latin American immigrant weigh more heavily in this interest. Referring only to my perceived immigrant status ignores the experiences that immigrants face in the United States, particularly under the current circumstances: hostility and racialization.
I appreciate the article’s attempt to highlight our organization, but I hope that next time there is more attention to fact than editorializing. The reporter was invited into our meeting to get a sense and feel of who we are and our goals, but it feels as if there was no attention to the breadth of personalities and people in the room. It was an open discussion based on the extensive meaning of feminism with every individual sharing a different and personal meaning. We invite all who have any questions to our meetings as well as to join us as we table in the library plaza courtyard. There is no problem with wanting to know more about feminism and we do not want exclude anyone on the basis of gender, race, class, sexuality, sex, or any other identity. Please publish this letter as well as recant the formerly published article regarding Faces of Feminism.
Sara Betancur, Faces of Feminism.