Reactions on Campus to the Republican War on Women
By The Feminist Feline on July 31, 2012
I've been swamped lately! I realized last night that I hadn't done a blog post in almost three weeks (oops), so I need to get back on the track of feminist feline blogging!
Lately I've been working on an op-ed about women's health at my summer internship for Congressman Jim McGovern and it's bringing back some great memories from my news writing class. I thought I'd share another feminist article. This one is about GW student reactions to the Republican "war on women." It is intended to be a web article (links galore!) so I thought it would be perfect to share with my fellow felines.
I interviewed students from GW National Organization for Women/ Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance (NOW/FMLA) and GW Men of Strength. I am the public relations chair for GW NOW/FMLA. My fellow board member, Elizabeth Settoducato discusses some of the events we did this past semester.
I did an edited version in which I interviewed a Republican student (got to be unbiased sometimes), but I thought that you guys would rather read the fun one. :-P
Reactions on Campus to the Republican “War on Women”
By Corinne Falotico
With student organizations such as National Organization for Women and Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance, Men of Strength, and Students Against Sexual Assault, both male and female students are getting involved in the fight for contraceptive and abortion rights for women.
“I don't know whether or not the Republicans intended to wage a ‘War on Women,’ but it's hard to classify the recent onslaught of harmful policies and attitudes as anything but a war,” said freshman Elizabeth Settoducato, who is the LGBT Chair of GW National Organization for Women and Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance, a umbrella organization of what used to be two separate organizations on campus.
GW NOW and FMLA holds many discussion-based meetings, as well as activist events to educate peers and ensure that women’s and feminist’s voices are heard. In early February, the club attended a press conference at the National Press Club with Planned Parenthood, Feminist Majority Foundation, and Catholics for Choice to speak out against the Catholic bishops who wished to take contraception coverage out of the Affordable Care Act.
Three weeks ago, GW NOW and FMLA helped Catholic University’s Students for Choice organization hand out condoms on the CUA campus.
“We hope to reach out to neighboring religious universities to help their students and feminist groups advocate for access to contraceptives,” Settoducato said. “This is about so much more than healthcare or birth control. This is about giving women a voice because the ‘War on Women’ should not have to be fought in the first place.”
The Men of Strength club at GW encourages men to get involved in the fight for women’s rights, and the members of the club do not find the “War” out-dated.
“I don't believe that every Republican is against a woman's right to choose how she utilizes her own body,” said sophomore GW Men of Strength member Matt Scott. “But I do believe that the overall message of the Republican Party is a traditional, hyper-gendered approach where men make decisions for and about women.”
GW Men of Strength does a lot of publicity projects to inform the GW community just how much of a problem violence against women is. Recently, the club made posters with facts such as “15% of sexual assault and rape victims are under age 12,” as well as participated in GW Students Against Sexual Assault’s “Take Back the Night” week.
“Take Back the Night” is an international protest against rape and other forms of sexual violence. GW SASA joined the cause by holding a week of discussions, speakers, and projects, culminating in the “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” event, in which male students walked a mile in high heels.
With both female and male students getting actively involved in the fight for women’s rights, it is hard for any student at GW to deny that women’s rights are in danger.
“The ‘War on Women’ may not be intentionally vitriolic, but it is unintentionally misogynistic,” said Scott. “When confronted with this accusation, the Republican party seems to ignore it or deny it rather than take the criticism as a critique or an opportunity to improve.”
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