Rollins’ feminist hotspot

November 30, 2017 Features
Members of Voices for Women and affiliated Rollins students march in downtown Orlando in the 2017 Women's March. Today, the organization is more active than ever, promoting events and discussions on campus, which coincide with the message the Women's March promoted back in January. Photo courtesy of Emily Elizabeth Foster

On the Rollins campus, many organizations actively engage in the community. Voices for Women in particular has recently gained a larger presence. One of their presidents, Kenzie Helmick ‘19, is particularly excited about their increased campus involvement.

Helmick outlined the many goals Voices for Women holds for this academic year, including promoting intersectional feminism. Intersectional feminism is acknowledging the inseparable web of oppression that derives from factors of gender, class, sexuality, ability, race, and ethnicity.

Helmick added that they hope to spread this message to more than just the Rollins campus through community outreach and educational discussions.

This semester, they have held activities such as a menstrual and hair care drive featured at their Walk for Women’s Equality, bake sales to benefit women’s hygiene in India, and handing out free t-shirts which read, “Feminism is Cool.”

Their many discussions have included topics such as the incarceration of women, feminism in other cultures and countries, and sports inequalities.

The main event hosted by Voices for Women every spring semester is the annual performance of the “Vagina Monologues.”

Helmick said, “Every spring semester Voices for Women hosts the Vagina Monologues, which anyone, no matter their acting experience, can audition for and participate in.” Regarding admission price, Helmick mentioned last year’s fee ws a donation of menstrual products to Harbor House of Central Florida.

If spring semester seems too far away for a student to start participating, Voices for Women will also continue their weekly meetings throughout the month of December.

Regarding the strides that Voices for Women has made this past semester, Helmick was proud to discuss previous fundraisers and awareness campaigns.

“Every week we host a different discussion about a unique topic related to feminism and social justice. These conversations are always enlightening and thought-provoking, and I feel as though each week, I am blown away by how considerate and insightful feminists on campus truly are.“

She continued, “Just recently, we hosted a week-long menstrual and hair care product drive, during which we filled an entire 20×20 box with shampoo, conditioner, tampons, and pads, all to be donated to Harbor House of Central Florida.”

While Voices for Women has held many boast-worthy events this past semester, Helmick was proudest of the end result of the organization’s hard work. “This semester I think we've managed to establish a newfound presence on campus, creating an atmosphere in which it is considered okay, and even encouraged, to label yourself as a fierce, bad-ass feminist,” Helmick said.

“It's been awesome to see people wearing our feminist merchandise and supporting the overall message of feminism.”

The club’s central message and attendees encourage open conversation during their meetings.

When speaking with student Patricia Rodriguez ‘20 about her experience with the club from an outside perspective, she mentioned that the best way to get involved with the club was to pay attention to their active email notices.

Rodriguez went to one meeting after receiving an email and described the meeting as laidback and educational, feeling comfortable to share her own insights over what was discussed that day. “The topic was women in prison and their rights, and I felt welcomed and free to share,” Rodriguez described.

When asked if she would become more involved in the club, she affirmed that she would be going to more meetings to get a better feel for the organization and see what else it has to offer.

Voices for Women meetings are every Tuesday at 12:45 p.m. in the Lucy Cross Center.

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