Panelists discuss modern feminism at ‘Student Voices’ event

Stephanie Martoccia

Student panelists spoke about feminist issues at Not Your Mother’s Feminism, Understanding the Diversity of Feminist Perspectives last night in the Kiva.

Five female panelists, Alice Freitas, Jordin Manning, Jhanisse Vaca Daza, Megan Swoger, Aba Overcomer and Jaynell Nicholson shared their opinion on various feminist issues led by Casey Boyd-Swan, assistant professor in the Political Science Department.

“(Making people uncomfortable) is by definition unpleasant. It is also necessary because in any social change that truly needs to happen, we need to get uncomfortable,” Freitas said. “If we are uncomfortable, that means that we are talking and if we are talking then we are already making the first movement toward change. In doing that, we have already won half the battle.”

The discussion touched on “uncomfortable” topics such as rape culture, transgender feminism, men as feminists and black feminism versus white feminism.

“It opened people’s minds to different perspectives by bringing a group of intelligent young women with similar feminist perspectives to an audience who was ignorant to some of their ideas,” said John K.K. Jones, a junior entrepreneurship major.

Audience members had the opportunity to hear about feminism from an international, white, African American and LGBTQ perspectives.

“I feel really strongly about it (feminism), and I liked the title, “Not Your Mother’s Feminism,’” said Elizabeth Kleinhenz, junior pre-nursing major. “(The title implies) that it was great 90 years ago, but there’s still so much more that needs to be done.”

Students feel strongly about feminism and believes that this event is not the first time it has been brought to light on Kent’s campus.

“I think there’s already a really strong voice when it comes to this movement at Kent State,” said Rachel Godin, a senior journalism major. “Most women that I talk to acknowledge that feminism has a strong voice at the university already. I have never met a woman who said she is not a feminist at the university. I think it just helps to support whatever is already happening.”

While multiple issues were discussed, Shaiann Wilson, a sophomore computer information systems major, and Kleinhenz felt that more issues could have been discussed in-depth.

To close the discussion, Boyd-Swan gave the audience a call to action to question what is right and wrong in an attempt to break social norms of how students treat themselves and each other.

Following the panel discussion, students were invited to a reception with the panelists to ask further questions and socialize.

The event was made possible with the help of the Kent Student Center Programming, the LGBTQ Student Center, the Student Center for Involvement, the Women’s Center and the Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

Stephanie Martoccia is a diversity reporter for The Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected]