“Is it time to throw the term feminism out the window?” asked junior Jennifer Casas to a panel of students and professors. The panel looked nervously to each other as history professor Martha Rampton tentatively approached the microphone and replied, “I don’t know anymore.”
The Center for Gender Equity hosted a Brown Bag panel discussion about the stereotypes surrounding the word “feminism” and the struggle that comes with identifying as a feminist.
Sophomore panelist Tyler Wiprud defined feminism as a movement to help everyone come to an understanding about gender roles and gender equality for both men, women and members of the LGBTQ community but the panel agreed that there is a lot of misunderstanding that comes with the term and causes a negative reaction to it.
Freshman Meaghan Conway said that, while she agrees with some of the things feminism stands for, she does not identify as a feminist and thinks sometimes people take it to an unnecessary extreme.
Other audience members had a very different view of feminism.
“I consider myself a feminist,” sophomore Patrick Daniels said. “It’s becoming much less anti-men and more about human rights.”
Senior Hilary Whitehead attributed a large part of the divide to the media coverage of the extremist feminists, saying that the media often dramatizes things and turns them into something they’re not.
“There’s an extreme to everything,” Whitehead said. “People need to learn that extreme is not the norm here.”
As the discussion shifted to educating society about the meaning of feminism, the debate of whether or not to change the name of the movement was a hot topic.
The panelists all agreed that some good could come of it but that it may also do a lot to belittle the efforts that have already been made.
“Changing the name of feminism could be very dangerous because it would be letting the people hating on the term win,” Eisen said.
By the end of the panel, all speakers were torn over the issue. They agreed however, that despite the direction feminism is going, it is a hot topic and will continue to be in the headlines in the future.