Parties in Charleston often connote images of Southern people sipping mimosas on their porch in the sun. Yet on Feb. 25, the College hosted a less traditional party for the second annual Yes! I’m a Feminist event in honor of Women’s and Gender Studies in the atrium and garden of the New Science Center. The diverse crowd of party goers who filled the atrium and outdoor garden consisted of college faculty members, students and community members of all different races, genders and ages.
Alison Piepmeier, Women’s and Gender Studies professor said, “The main reason [this event is] important is for so many people to get together. We’re breaking so many boundaries just hanging out together.”
Last year, during the first annual event, the space was much smaller and crowded as a result. It became unbearable to move around because of the lack of space. This year, they made sure to host the event in an open space.
During a thank you speech at the end of the night Piepmeier said, “It’s amazing so many people will come out and say they’re a feminist.”
So what exactly is a feminist? “It’s the movement to eradicate all forms of oppression that keep people from achieving their full humanity,” Piepmeier said.
In order to achieve that goal, the Women’s and Gender Studies program needed to grow. “When we started you could only minor in [Women’s and Gender Studies], now you can major,” Margaret Pilarski, editor of skirt! magazine, director of the Women and Gender Studies Community Advisory Board and Women and Gender Studies alumna said.
Yes! I’m a Feminist Party is not only a great way for likeminded people to be in proximity of each other, but it is also a major fundraising event for Women’s and Gender Studies. Organizations such as skirt! magazine and various others offer donations that create opportunities for growth.
The success of last year’s event allowed for the first Women and Gender Studies research funding in the history of the College. As a result, six research grants were given to Women and Gender Studies faculty affiliates. This allowed for travel to Ireland to learn about female participation in peace efforts in their country as well as travel to a village in Guyana for four weeks to take an in-depth look at women’s economic development projects. Students have also received research grants which allows for them to present their findings at the regional Women and Gender Studies conferences.
“I think it’s important to support the Women and Gender Studies program because I think everyone is working relentlessly to end oppression at all angles,” senior Melissa Jacobs said.