On Tuesday night, the rainy gloom of the Cistern was illuminated by the third annual Yes! I’m a Feminist event. Equal parts forum and celebration, it brought together “feminists of all kinds” to celebrate the feminist spirit, share encouragement and discuss issues. The event was sponsored by the Women and Gender studies program, dozens of individual donors and local partners like TellThem!, the Charleston City Paper, Sugar Bakeshop, Alliance For Full Acceptance and the South Carolina Democratic Women’s Council. Here are a few of the opinions represented by feminists at the College and in the Charleston community.
Why is feminism still relevant?
“There’s still not equal pay and there’s still not a childcare policy in the federal government. It’s changed a lot since the seventies, when I got into the movement, but this generation will have its own issues.”
– Nikki Hardin
“Because when it comes down to it, women and girls still need women and girls. As we’re trying to stand out, be noticed, be taken seriously, sometimes we need a little help.”
– Archie Burkel, President and Founder of The Hat Ladies
Why should men care about feminism?
“If men are not aware of the issues of feminism, society won’t function as well as it could.”
– A college-aged man who wished to be anonymous
“Equality should matter to everyone.”
– A father of two who wished to be anonymous
What do you think about the interaction between the movements for women’s rights and the movements for people of color?
“Playing the ‘either or’ game is dangerous. It’s counterproductive to separate human rights. Obviously each individual has their own journey, but in the end I don’t fall back on being a woman or being black, I go back to ‘I’m a human being’. The only way we’ll succeed in social justice is in solidarity.”
– Marla Robertson
What is the biggest misconception about feminism or feminists?
“That we burn our bras. That never happened…do you know how much a bra costs?!”
– Taryn DiPalma
“That people don’t have a part in it, when everybody does. Feminism can be self-defined.”
– Becca Daniels
What is the biggest thing you wish people knew about feminism?
“For all the stereotypes, why does it matter? Why does it matter if I don’t shave my legs? Why does it matter if I’m angry and passionate about things I care about? Feminism is more than stereotypes. Feminism means giving everyone a chance to say what they feel.”
– Anjali Naik, Girls Rock Charleston
For more thought-provoking perspectives, visit Yes! I’m A Feminist on Facebook.