Feminists United continue to fight for change
By EMILY HOLLINGSWORTH
Feminists United on Campus has never been a group to hold back when it comes to saying what they believe.
The group has used posters, meetings and has regularly set a table outside of Lee Hall to spread awareness about the different issues that they are passionate about.
FUC’s goals this semester include educating students regarding gender equality, the importance of consent in romantic relationships and recognizing abusive behavior.
Feminists United has been active in spreading awareness about gender equality, not only on campus, but outside as well.
Between Sept. 12 and Sept. 13, students from FUC went to participate in the “We Are Women Constitution Day Rally” in Washington, D.C. The purpose of the rally was to persuade Congress to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. First proposed in 1923, the amendment would give equal rights to women.
In an effort to spread awareness about gender equality among students this semester, Feminists United has encouraged students to post pictures of themselves describing the reasons that they support gender equality and post it on their twitter accounts using the hashtag #WeForWeUMW.
“WeForWeUMW” was inspired by the campaign “HeForShe,” a global initiative led by actress Emma Watson to solve the inequalities women face in the world by asking for the support of men.
According to the website, “HeForShe brings together one half of humanity in support of the other half of humanity, for the benefit of all.”
“WeForWeUMW” shares a similar goal, but FUC seeks to extend its message of equality to a broader audience, including those who do not identify themselves as male or female.
“We want to include people of all genders,” said Bailey Meeks, a junior creative writing and women’s and gender studies double major.
Feminists United’s push for gender equality resonates with freshman Heather Taylor.
“I believe that feminism focuses more on gender equality rather than empowering women above men,” Taylor said.
In addition to campaigning for gender equality, FUC is also working to spotlight the importance of consent in romantic relationships.
The “Yes Is Key” campaign, an initiative founded by UMW, focuses on student consent and the importance of direct communication during sexual activity.
“Without communication, there is no consent,” said senior international affairs and women’s and gender studies double major Paige Mckinsey, the president of FUC.
According to a report issued by the White House in 2012, one in five women are sexually assaulted while in college. This is why Mckinsey believes that students giving consent is an important message for both female and male students.
FUC has been giving out buttons and cards detailing the “Yes Is Key” campaign, as well as spreading posters across campus.
“We wanted to use as many resources as possible to communicate strongly our point,” Mckinsey said.
In honor of National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, FUC has handed out flyers from local organizations, such as the Rappahannock Council Against Sexual Assault and Empowerhouse, which inform, educate and provide shelter for those affected by sexual or domestic violence.
FUC holds weekly meetings that have approximately 30-50 students in attendance and an email list that averages 300 students, according to senior Sarah Palmer, the FUC secretary.
Palmer said being a member of FUC has been important to her. According to Palmer, FUC has given her “an opportunity to see and share about the oppression that I see around me.”
These events have not been the only ones FUC will lead this semester. On Thursday, Oct. 23 at 4 p.m. FUC will collaborate with other student groups focused on social justice, such as Divest UMW and Student Anti-Violence Educators (SAVE), to hold a rally called “Make Noise.” The intent of the rally is to show solidarity as students and raise awareness for various organizations and causes among the student body.
On Thursday, Oct. 30, FUC will protest outside of President Hurley’s home to voice their concerns about the university’s involvement with sexual assault policies.
Meanwhile, FUC will continue to spread awareness about these issues by holding meetings and standing outside of Lee Hall.
“We’ll be out here as much as we can,” Mckinsey said.