This is what a feminist looks like

When you hear the term “feminism,” what comes to mind? Many people will give similar answers to this question, and the stigmas associated with feminists are rigid. Eastern University’s “This is What a Feminist Looks Like” panel discussion proved that there are as many different faces of feminism as there are feminists. The panel discussion, held on March 15, was organized by Eastern’s Students Advocating Gender Equality. The panel was made up of seven Eastern faculty members who are all avowed feminists, including Dr. Kathy Lee (Political Science), Dr. Caroline Cherry (English), Rebecca Gidjunis (English), Dr. Kevin Maness (Communication Studies), Dr. Anne Francois (Language Studies), Dr. Calenthia Dowdy (Anthropology) and Dr. Yolanda Turner (Psychology).


Panelists addressed issues such as identifying stereotypes of feminists, integrating feminism into one’s career, and reconciling feminist values with Christian and biblical beliefs. I have had countless experiences with churches that espouse that women are good for nothing more than birthing babies and teaching Sunday school to small children. So to encounter a group of people who align themselves with both Christianity and healthy feminism was refreshing and encouraging.


The panelists also discussed the major issue of sexism in the church, stressing the importance of understanding the historical context of the Bible. God is continually revealing things to us. It’s also vital to understand not only the context in which the Bible was written but the context in which we are reading it. For example, in our country’s history, Scripture has been used to defend slavery. As for the issue of church leadership, it’s important to get to know the gifts and passions of the individuals of the church.


Oftentimes, I interpret forums like this one with a cynical perspective, especially when they occur in the realm of Christianity. So as I sat and listened to each panelist discuss feminism, I anticipated a hole or flaw that I could pounce on and dissect. But despite the diversity and varying views of the panelists, I found myself in utter agreement.


Sure, there may have been some minor details I disagreed with, but I realized that we all have the same goal in mind. We are all, as feminists, working towards equality between genders. It’s no use wasting energy griping about minor details when we can be spending that energy on working together and taking action. Perhaps this revelation was brought about simply by observing seven very different individuals coming together and speaking out as one against inequality and sexism.

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