The Californian

Cal High’s Feminism Club encourages young women

Photo by Juliette Mohr

Photo by Juliette Mohr

Siena Sharpe, Assistant Editor

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Cal High’s Feminism Club is advocating for intersectionality among women and calls for a new light on the women’s movement. 

Intersectional feminism is the understanding of how women’s overlapping identities – race, class, ethnicity, religion and sexual orientation – impact how they undergo oppression and discrimination.

This means intersectionality revolves around being inclusive and non-discriminatory toward women, as well as understanding the different perspectives and struggles from women of all backgrounds. 

In order to facilitate awareness and education about intersectionality, the Feminism Club prioritizes the discussion of this topic. 

“My version of feminism is intersectional and calls for equity to achieve equality amongst all races, gender identities, sexual orientations, religions sexes, etc.,” said senior Sayeh Jafari, the Feminism Club president. 

Not only does intersectionality encapsulate diversity and inclusiveness among all backgrounds, it also covers social issues like slut shaming, cultural appropriation and campus sexual assault. 

Slut shaming is highly addressed in club meetings and involves criticizing women for engaging in behavior deemed as promiscuous or sexually provocative. 

Additionally, it chastises girls for choices in clothing attire or desires that are more sexual than society finds acceptable. All genders can take part in slut shaming, which makes it a serious problem.

Slut shaming and sexual assault go hand in hand because many sexual assaulters think what women wear or the decisions they make are reasons to take advantage of them. Some sexual assaulters also assume that women may be “asking for it” with their choices. 

“We have to understand there are institutional disadvantages for women and a lot of work still needs to be done,” said teacher Troy Bristol, the Feminism Club adviser. 

Another topic that is discussed at meetings is cultural appropriation, which is the act of taking or using elements from another culture , usually without understanding or respecting it. 

Many women of color are the ones being appropriated in society. 

Other common topics discussed include abortion, affirmative action, fetishizing women of color, the wage gap, harmful transgender-exclusionary attitudes in feminism, and the Women’s Marches. This year’s march was on Jan 20 in cities all across America and was extremely focused on intersectional feminism. 

Many people feel the marches unite women and allow them to express their concerns and opinions.

“I’m hoping our members apply what they’ve learned from our meetings in their own lives and that they notice misogynistic and racist undertones in society and have the tools and understanding to combat them,” said Jafari. 

Although feminism has been around since the 1800s, the club thinks this generation of feminism is extremely different from the past because of intersectionality, technology and new and forward thinking mindsets. 

“I think feminism is so different now because of technology,” said senior Nicole Tan, who serves as the Feminism Club treasurer. “Twenty years ago women didn’t have to worry about having personal or explicit images of themselves posted online as some form of punishment or revenge.”

Most members of the Feminism Club think ideas about feminism are changing and that others are starting to realize how equality is so important in society, along with the fact that women can truly achieve anything. 

“People are starting to see how some women are more privileged than others and I think intersectional feminism is a beautiful idea that started rising more and more recently,” said sophomore club member Rebecca Alves. “We see more women participating in science, mathematics, politics and engineering. Overall, playing a bigger role in society because feminism is making people realize their worth.”

In order to reach out and spread intersectional feminism to others, the club believes having a place to discuss the topic is a great start. 

“I think it’s so important to have a Feminism Club at Cal High because there are a lot of students that don’t know what feminism is and look at it in a poor light,” said Tan, “Having the club at school allows students to gain knowledge about several current topics regarding women and how it affects our lives.”

Feminism Club meets every odd Monday in Room 121. 

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Cal High’s Feminism Club encourages young women