By Stephanie Schieda
Feminism Ain’t Just for Women hosted a forum for Stony Brook students where they were able to discuss the various ways to achieve gender equality and how to dismantle the negative stigmas that come with the “F” word.
“When boiled down, feminism tries to strip gender expectations,” said Matthew Hannigan, 20, a resident assistant in Dreiser College.
Hannigan organized this event in the Tabler Center last night, which he brought to Stony Brook last year. He is a feminist and wondered where he, as a man, fit into the movement. He hoped to create a discussion among students and inform them on what feminism is, which means something different to everyone.
“Feminism means each gender is treated equally, male and female,” Julianne Broderick, a 21 year-old English major said.
“Centrally there is only one main idea―equality,” Adam DiMonaco, 18, who is considering a psychology major and women’s studies minor, said. He further explained how there are many different ways, that are not right or wrong, to get to the desired outcome.
Emily Davis, 21, agreed that there isn’t one right way to do feminism, however there are bad ways to do it. Davis stressed that you must “treat others with respect.”
Steve Merel, 20, was brought up in a Hispanic, religious household. He was cemented with gender roles through his upbringing, where a man is expected to provide for his family, while the wife is to raise the children and care for the home.
Merel is conflicted with Christianity and the desire to be a feminist, which he believes contrast each other. However, Hiba Hashim, 21, is a Muslim feminist who believes one must incorporate his or her individuality into religion.
Merel’s biggest problem with the movement is that he doesn’t know what feminism truly is.
But he listened to Emma Watson’s “He for She” speech and it was the first time feminism really sparked his interest. In this speech, Watson talks about breaking down the concrete gender roles that society has created, where men are told they can’t be sensitive and women can’t be strong.
Khadijah Patterson, 20, also a Muslim feminist, educated the forum on the past and present of feminism and some of the many types that exist.
The first wave started in the late 1800s and focused on suffrage and abolition of slavery. The second wave is where the “bra-burning lesbian feminist” stereotype was born, Patterson said. In the 1960s and 70s, the face of the feminist was a white, middle class woman who wanted to own property and have the right over her own body.
The third wave began in the 90s and some theorists argue that it is ongoing. This wave crashed into the idea of intersectionality and inclusion of all races of women and the overlooked transgender women.
With all the different feminist ideologies out there, Patterson advised students to treat them “like a buffet.”
“Take your own plate and pick up what you like from each type. Create a feminism that reflects your life,” Patterson said.