Celebrating feminism at the College of Charleston

The College’s Women’s and Gender Studies (WGST) program held its sixth Yes! I’m a Feminist event in the Cistern Yard. Photo credits to Grey Parsons.

The College’s Women’s and Gender Studies (WGST) program held its sixth Yes! I’m a Feminist event in the Cistern Yard. Photo credits to Grey Parsons.

Feminism is the belief that women should have the same social, economic, and political standings/rights as their male counterparts – and as seen on Tuesday, Sept. 7, many people support this philosophy here at the College. Being in one of the most conservative areas in the South, feminism is not a common idea that people stand up for. Additionally, many news outlets boast of how radical ALL feminists are, which is not the case. I’m a man and also a feminist, yet do you see me marching up and down the streets screaming that women are better than me? Or do you see girls marching up and down the streets stating that men are inferior to women? Well, maybe you have, but that’s only a small fraction of feminists. In the South especially, not many people will speak up about gender issues because feminism is seen as a “liberal” belief. At least, that’s what the media and the President of the United States tell you. However, regardless of these beliefs, the College’s Women’s and Gender Studies (WGST) program held its sixth Yes! I’m a Feminist event in the Cistern Yard.

Julia and Jane standing in front of the banner at the Yes! I’m a Feminist event hosted in the Cistern Yard by the Women and Gender Studies program at the College. Photo credits to Grey Parsons.

Julia and Jane standing in front of the banner at the Yes! I’m a Feminist event hosted in the Cistern Yard by the Women and Gender Studies program at the College. Photo credits to Grey Parsons.

As you walked in through Porter’s Lodge, you were greeted by many students of the WGST program. After being greeted, you were asked to sign-in and they checked to make sure that your donation had processed and was also given a bracelet. Donations were not required, but being that this was a philanthropy event, donations were very much appreciated. The money raised went towards the Alison Piepmeier Scholarship and funding for the WGST program. However, do not fret if you didn’t know that! There were also a couple of vendors selling coffee mugs, cups, t-shirts, and notecards with various sayings like “Feminist as fu*k” on them.

Afterward, the actual gathering was held under the tents provided, which were beautifully lit by Edison bulbs and also had gorgeous decorations like small, red chandeliers and tables with white cloths covering them with red candles on top. A variety of refreshments were provided, like small desserts, cheese and crackers, salami and olives, and also beverages like water, lemonade, and wine. Many faculty members were also there, identified by their name tags. Additionally, there were posters of current students at various points under the tent, which would tell the benefits of being a WGST major or minor. Not only that but a feminist DJ (have you ever even heard of such?). There were also small children running and playing, and some of the little girls had on costumes such as Super Woman. This made the atmosphere fun to be in and easy to get comfortable in, as well.

The event didn’t just celebrate feminism. LGBTQ+ stories were also presented on a poster by one of the College’s newest projects, which was presented by two ladies, one of which’s name is Alex Mielcarek. This poster shows the common characteristics of stories from LGBTQ individuals in the Lowcountry. These stories span about 160 years. A common theme among all of them is fear of society. Seeing this poster and knowing that these stories are being collected was relieving. The LGBTQ society has been persecuted for years and is still discriminated against today. So, seeing that the WGST department and the College support research like this is amazing, to say the least.

Alex Mielcarek’s presentation on LGBTQ+ oral history in the lowcountry. Photo credits to Grey Parsons.

Alex Mielcarek’s presentation on LGBTQ+ oral history in the lowcountry. Photo credits to Grey Parsons.

After attending this event and seeing all of the people from our area supporting the equality of women, it makes me feel more at ease in the crazy world we are currently living in. The event overall was very inspirational, empowering, and fun! I cannot wait for the next Yes! I’m a Feminist event!

Article by Staff Writer Grey Parsons