A group of students formed Appalachian’s Feminist Student Union earlier this month, which held its first meeting Monday evening.
Justis Tucker, the union’s founder, said her purpose in creating the club is to foster a space where feminist student leaders can gather and unite to better advance the feminist movement on campus. Roughly 25 students were in attendance.
“I created this group to have a central meeting space for feminist students to get together and find out what each other are working on,” Tucker said. “I am a feminist because I am someone that stands at the intersections of many kinds of oppressions and the modern feminist movement understands that.”
Tucker said there will be one or two meetings each month, with at least one meeting being educational.
“I’m hoping to host feminist consciousness raising groups that will help to educate the community about what feminism is and how it affects them,” she said. “I’m hoping to collaborate with different feminist groups or groups that may not be overtly feminist-focused, but have feminist elements on staging different activisms, screening documentaries, and other things to open feminism up to the rest of the campus community.”
Members of the club in attendance voted on this year’s executive board. There will be vice presidents of media, administration, outreach and activism.
Emily Carver, vice president of administration, said she wants the club to be a safe place for people to gather.
“For me, I want this club to be an educational opportunity,” she said. “There are many aspects to feminism and although everyone in this group identifies as a feminist, we all have our own perspectives and experiences that have led us to our beliefs.”
Camille Tate, vice president of activism, said one of her goals is to make people understand that patriarchy and gender roles are harmful to everyone, not just women.
“I am also really interested in getting more men and organizations that aren’t involved, such as sports teams or Greek life, in feminist events on campus and trying to get people who don’t identify as feminists to understand why it is so important,” she said. “I also want people to understand that the ASU Feminist Student Union is inclusive, so people who may have had a bad experience with feminism in the past, especially, for example, members of the trans community, should feel welcome.”
Di’Sheena Walton, vice president of media, said one of the reasons she is a feminist is because she thinks all people should be able to live their lives independently and freely, including how one dresses and behaves, without being judged by societal notions.
“Initially, I wasn’t a feminist because I didn’t realize that it was inclusive of people of all genders, races and sexualities, based on the stigma that feminists are white, middle-class, straight women,” she said. “However, I became more educated and realized that feminism encompassed all that and more.”
Walton also added that while she does not think anything is wrong with the “bra-burning” feminist stereotype, she encourages education before forming an opinion.
“Feminism, at its core, is making men and women equal, that’s it,” she said. “And yeah, you may be coerced into thinking that all feminists are man-hating, bra-burning extremists, but that is not the case.”
Story: Nicole Caporaso, Senior News Reporter