WPAC: Feminism at OSU

In 2014, TIME Magazine issued a list titled “Which Word Should Be Banned in 2015?” At the top of the list: “Feminist.”

You might have heard the term “feminist” or “feminism” more often in the past year in association with celebrities like Beyonce, Taylor Swift, and Shailene Woodley.

The Tumblr blogs “Who Needs Feminism?” and “Women Against Feminism” have also stirred up recent press for the term.

But what is a legitimate definition of feminism?

Merriam-Webster defines feminism as the theory of political, economic, and social equality of the sexes; organized activity on behalf of women’s rights and interests.

That doesn’t sound so bad. Nothing at all like the man-hating, lesbian-filled, witchcraft-practicing, children-killing, capitalist-destroying, victim-seeking definition some people who hate on the term make it out to be.

In reality, “feminist” is an evolving term, marking a movement for gender equality. Some people use the terms “equalist” or “humanist”, but if you read the definitions of those terms, one by definition has nothing to do with gender equality and the other covers a broad spectrum of equality. Feminism, however, specifically addresses the historical oppression of women, with the term “womanist” more narrowly addressing the oppression of black women and “trans feminism*” approaching feminism from a trans* perspective.

The Women’s Programming Advisory Council (WPAC) at Oklahoma State University is a student-organization created to address women’s issues at OSU and in the Stillwater community. In essence, however, women’s issues are gender issues, which yes, make them EVERYONE’s issues.

I encourage the readers of this blog, of all gender identities, to get involved with an organization like WPAC or one of the many other organizations on campus that are working to achieve gender equality in their own ways.

OSU has many great organizations that address gender issues such as the Minority Women’s Association (MWA), Oklahoma State Queers and Allies (OSQ&A), the American Association of University Women (AAUW), and the Society of Women Engineers, just to name a few.

[Side note: Close to 40 percent of women with engineering degrees leave the profession or never enter the field]

I’m excited for the opportunity to write this blog and I look forward to opening the discussion on gender issues at OSU. Feel free to send any suggestions my way if there’s a topic related to gender issues that you’d like to see explored in a future blog.

WPAC’s next general meeting is Thursday, Jan. 22, at 5 p.m., CLB 114.

Find more organizations on CampusLink by searching for the keyword “women” or “gender.”

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