Women’s studies club positively impacts students

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Women’s studies club positively impacts students

photo by Jarah Cotton

photo by Jarah Cotton

photo by Jarah Cotton

by Jarah Cotton, Editor

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Literature teacher Amanda Theriot-Greenwell and counselor Melissa Lynch have formed a club tailored towards female connectivity that fosters relationships among female students as they discuss the effects of patriarchal societal pressures on their own lives.

Appropriately named “The Sisterhood,” the club emerged at the start of the 2017-2018 school year, and is designed to be an unrestricted forum for female expression. It is to be an all inclusive, among female students, way to promote success academically, socially, and, in the future, professionally by improving students’ sense of self.

“The Sisterhood isn’t about taking down men, it’s about building women up; women of all colors, shapes, sizes, races, and sexualities,”Theriot-Greenwell said. “It’s about letting girls know that we have a place.”

Club leaders assert that consumerism and the foundations of an age-old patriarchal society dictate how women are asked to behave and respond. That, despite recent advancements in the fight for women’s equality, females still fall short of being fully recognized as valuable citizens in male dominated societies.

The sponsors wanted to help young girls embrace themselves. They wanted them to feel able and as though they deserve to receive the same respect that all men are accustomed to.

“We wanted to give them a toolkit to tap into whenever they are going through a tough time,” Melissa Lynch said. “Basically, we wanted to give them a voice, to empower them to stand up for themselves so that they are not okay with the injustices that go on.”

Those who attended the club’s first meeting said that they are interested in discussing methods of getting over failed relationships and mending broken hearts. The sponsors have taken this as an indication of the students’ need to bolster their self esteem.

They want club members to be able to look in the mirror and know that they deserve better than mistreatment. They not only want to encourage them to love themselves, but to not feel so threatened by the successes of their peers.

“We are trying to save some girls, and to teach them to be there for each other, to be happy when others meet their goals,” Lynch said. “Outward support helps self-esteem too, so this  kind of helps in both aspects.”

They discussed the sexism of dress codes in their first meeting, and delved into how the fact that the majority of dress code regulations are applied to girls is largely because of the hypersexuality of female fashion – a characteristic established by the patriarchal society.

In the coming meetings, sponsors plan to discuss the female perspective on issues pertaining to  the objectification of women’s bodies, romantic relationships, friendships, careers, self awareness, and many other topics.

Members, after only attending one meeting, already feel as though the experience has positively impacted them.

“I felt welcome, empowered, and inspired,” senior Zahara Banks said. “I think that the club is really gonna help curb the lack of self-respect and confidence you see, especially among the younger girls.”

The members felt as though it was a very inclusive environment, and felt relieved to be in a place with so many people who shared their views and indignation.

“It was really good to be around people who are like-minded and who shared your struggles,” junior Zuri Johnson said. “It didn’t matter what your sexuality or race was, everyone was treated the same. I feel like I am really going to learn more about myself by going.”

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