Why We Need Feminism

21 February 2017 at 7:12PM

GW College Democrats is excited to be launching #FemDems! The mission of #FemDems is to promote feminist values and intersectionality in the Democratic Party such as political, economic, and social equality for all people and foster an inclusive and diverse community of college advocates.

Here are some perspectives from members of GW College Democrats about why they are feminists. If you want to join this community of activists and advocates on campus, join us for the launch event tomorrow night from 7-9 PM in District House B118. We will be decorating cookies and talking about ideas for the future of #FemDems on campus!

Genevieve Cifelli

There was no way I was not going to be a feminist—I come from a long line of outspoken women. And I’m talking OG outspoken—ladies who were supposed to be docile and servile but were having none of that BS and instead running households and farms and going to college and being bosses with the utmost integrity.

The feminist fire was always inside of me, I suppose. I’d like to say Junie B. Jones was my first feminist icon, but it was definitely my mom (Junie is a close second). When I first started reading, my mom bought me the biographies of Louisa May Alcott, Clara Barton, and Marie Curie—all queens who could rival Beyonce. These women shaped me.

But it wasn’t till high school that I became a self proclaimed feminist. The turning point for me was when I realized that I, myself, had a lot of internalized misogyny. I think that is the most misunderstood (and sinister) part of sexism: it is not always conscious. It does not have to be purposeful, it merely exists. You have to be purposeful in your opposition to it, even within yourself.

So while I know that bias and cultural narratives are powerful and can lead to inequality and will never cease to exist completely, I also know I have to try to push the world to be a better place. I have to try—for myself, for women in other countries who experience much larger levels of inequality, for the women that will come after me, and for the women who came before me, who willed me and all my feminist existence into being.

Genevieve Cifelli is sophomore from Atlanta, GA. She is assistant membership director for GW Dems and firmly believes in grl pwr.

Zach Haver

Because women are human beings.

Zachary Haver is an undergraduate studying International Affairs with a focus on China and Mandarin Chinese at George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs. He joined the GW College Democrats to fight for social justice.

James Harnett

I’m a feminist because despite some progress, racial and gender wage gaps still persist. It’s wrong that we still allow black women as much as 30 percent less than their white male coworkers. It’s wrong, antithetical to the values we uphold as Americans, where all should be treated fairly and equitably. I promise to be a feminist until the day it is no longer controversial to call oneself a feminist.

James Harnett is an undergraduate studying Computer Science and Political Science. He has served as an intern at the US Department of Education and as a fellow for Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign. He is the Deputy Director of Technology.

Giovanna Kupiec

I'm a proud feminist because feminism is a necessity for sustainability. Gender equality goes much further than just being the "right thing to do.” Women who are healthy, respected, educated and safe, contribute to a sustainable population that enhances our ecosystems and societies.

Giovanna is the senior deputy director of sustainability. She is a biology major and Sustainability minor, but is heavily involved in politics and science advocacy. Currently she is the D.C. representative for Gotham Whale, and focuses ocean conservation policy and research.

Anika Raju

I grew up exposed to two different views on the role of women in society. My family in India embodied the traditional role of women, and at a very young age I was acquainted with the realities of inequality between the sexes during visits to India with my parents. Growing up in the United States, however, did not completely isolate me from inequality. Most recently, the election of Donald Trump reminded me why I’m a feminist and why the need for feminism is still so strong. The overwhelming majority of human history has been accentuated by patriarchal institutions and ideas, and while there has been progress, there are still so many people who continue to carry backwards sentiments on the role of women in society and who refuse to acknowledge that their backwards mentality hinders the progress we make towards reaching equality.

To those who don’t understand why I am a feminist: I am a feminist because there is no reason why a woman who unwantedly learns that she is pregnant cannot terminate a pregnancy that she physically cannot or does not want to endure. I am a feminist because I refuse to accept a ban on alcohol as the solution to a Stanford student sexually assaulting an intoxicated woman. I am a feminist because it is problematic when people do not think that a woman can hold office simply because she is a woman. I am a feminist because we live in a country, as modernized as it is, where we can elect a man for president who has been accused of sexual assault, who has called his opponent a “nasty woman,” and who has objectified his own daughter. We need feminism more than ever because without it, we will continue to revert to the backwards mentality that sparked feminism in the first place.

Anika Raju is a freshman in the Elliott school majoring in International Affairs. She is a member of the Freshman Committee. She enjoys writing in her free time and is an avid Joebama fan

Caitlin Berg

I am pretty sure that my introduction to feminism was from an episode of Glee. Quinn mentioned the wage gap, and I was introduced to a whole new world.

Being a feminist has affected me in a lot of different ways at GW than it did when I was in high school and younger. Prior to going to college, feminism was what I cared about: I always was willing to stand up for myself and others and advocate for the equality of all women. But, I never really lived it. After coming to college, feminism has given me the courage to do things that I never thought I would be able to do and stand up for myself in times that I would think impossible.

Without understanding that I, as a woman, truly deserve every right that a human can have, I don’t know who I would be today. College has given me experiences I don’t know if I could cope with if it weren’t for an understanding that I, and all women, deserve better.  We need feminism now, more than ever, because our rights are at jeopardy. We need to live our feminism as much as we care about it, because there is simply no time to step back from fighting for our rights.

Caitlin Berg is a freshman from New York City and Houston, Texas. She is the Deputy Director of Women’s Issues and thanks her mom and any character ever played by Julie Andrews for teaching her about how to be a kick ass feminist.

Hannah Wright

I am a feminist because I want to go about my everyday life without fear. Fear that if I leave the library by a certain time I should be carrying pepper spray with me. Fear that I shouldn't drink whatever it was that was just poured for me by someone I don't know. Fear thy if I run for office I will need to be ready for comments on my appearance and how to respond to these comments appropriately. Fear that I won't be hired because at some point in my life I might have children. Fear that deciding not to have children may result in judgement from people I do and don't know well. Fear that I will not be simply seen as an equal. I am a feminist because I believe that the way I choose go about the world and what I wear while going about it should be my business and no one else's.

Hannah Wright is a freshman from Los Angeles, California who joined GW Dems during her first semester. Hannah is studying International Affairs and plans to pursue a minor in Public Policy. After inauguration, she plans to continue to advocate for undocumented immigrants and reproductive rights.

The opinions of individual writers are their own and do not necessarily reflect the organizational stance of the GW College Democrats. DemsBlog is committed to serving as a platform for a diverse range of ideas, opinions, and experiences.