Alpha Delt hosts panel on feminism on campus
Alpha Delta Phi, in conjunction with The Representation Project and other campus groups, hosted a panel titled “She Did What?: Feminism in the Media and on Campus” on Wednesday night.
Over 100 students and University community members were in attendance at the panel, which featured Associate Vice Chancellor Mark Smith; Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies Senior Lecturer Jami Ake; Coordinator of Student Involvement for Diversity and Inclusion Ashley L. Gray; and sophomore Shivani Desai, community outreach coordinator for The Representation Project, as the panelists.
Questions asked of the panelists focused on the perception of feminism on campus, how mainstream societal expectations influence and limit the actions of women, and the difficult discussions surrounding sexual attraction and exoticism.
Sophomore panel moderator Ben Zeno, the literary chair for Alpha Delt, opened the panel by talking about the fraternity’s interest in intellectual curiosity and promoting discussion within the Washington University community.
The panel featured four prepared questions as well as an opportunity for audience members to ask questions and live-tweet them using either @EliotAlphaDelt or #SheDidWhat.
When the panel opened to audience and online questions, the conversation’s focus turned specifically toward Washington University. One question submitted via Twitter asked about sexual harassment on campus.
“The catcall video hit the [I]nternet mainstream, obviously that dynamic will play off differently on college campuses compared to the streets of New York, so what form does sexual harassment take on our campus?” the attendee asked.
“Why [do] we think there’s a difference?” Gray asked in response to the question.
“There’s a lot of conversations that can be had about what’s best for your sex lives and not imposing that on other folks; there’s a lot of conversations we can have about transparency in getting tested [and] there’s conversations we can be having in perpetuation of patriarchy,” Gray added later in the panel.
Desai hoped that panel attendees would take away a better understanding of feminism’s goals.
“Feminism stands for equality, but in order to get there, there needs to be advocation for certain groups, and that’s not something that has to do with man-hating or hating a certain group,” she said.
Ake summarized the discussion by suggesting that all attendees had a responsibility to take steps individually to stop gender inequality.
“It’s not a question of fraternities are bad, or all men are bad, or all women are bad—it’s the sort of sense that we have the ability to do things as a community that…we are tacitly allowing to continue and not doing anything to stop it,” she said.
Sophomore Brooke Layendecker, a leader of the Representation Project, was very pleased with the event’s turnout.
“I thought the panel went extremely well. We were thrilled about the number of people that attended, and we were so lucky to have the panelists we did,” she told Student Life. “We thought this panel was incredibly pertinent because while people may idly acknowledge or dismiss feminism, we felt it was important for people to start to understand what that approval or dismissal actually means. It was a great opportunity for us to kick-start campus dialogue about different feminist issues, and I think we certainly succeeded in that endeavor.”You
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