Author Jessica Valenti tells student to speak up against sexism
Published: Friday, March 29, 2013
Updated: Monday, April 1, 2013 15:04
Author Jessica Valenti speaks about her book “Full Frontal Feminism” in the GSR
On Wednesday, author and outspoken feminist Jessica Valenti came to UNH to talk about why feminism matters. UNH Peace and Justice League, the MUB, SHARPP, UNH President’s Commission on the Status of Women and NARAL Pro-Choice New Hampshire sponsored the event in hopes of spreading the message of feminism.
As the event was getting started, crowds of people began filing in, whether self-identified feminists or women and men who were interested in what feminism was all about.
“I was always a loud, opinionated girl, I was a tomboy, and feminism always mattered to me,” Valenti commented as she was signing books and taking pictures.
Valenti, who founded feministing.com, a feminist blog that covers a range of topics from world issues, to women’s health, and everything in-between, wanted to talk about what it means to be a feminist and why everyone is really a feminist (she swears!). The blog, started in 2004 now has over 600,000 readers from all different countries. She started it to show the fun, cool and edgy side of feminism that many are blinded from.
“I highly recommend not talking to brick walls,” Valenti said, talking about the close-minded people we might experience everyday.
Her first book, “Full Frontal Feminism”, shows her witty attitude towards the patriarchal society we live in, and how important it is for our generation to speak up against sexism, anti-women’s body rights, and gender stereotypes. Valenti made it clear that feminism isn’t about misandry or bringing down men, it’s about equality for everyone.
She started by asking the audience ‘who identified as a feminist’ and most of the hands in the room shot up proudly. She was genuinely shocked and happy by the fact that so many women and men felt the same way as her.
She went on to talk about how our generation is evolving from the way things were previously, and about how almost a decade ago she would search the word “young feminist” online and only a page of items would come up. Now when she searches it, millions of pages come up.
Most Americans are taught not to be comfortable with strong women who speak their mind, Valenti said. Feminism is powerful because people get so angry when they want justice, but it’s also a lot of love and conversion into being a feminist.
She wanted to talk about the played-out reasons why people hate on feminism and how it keeps young women away from identifying as one. Most people assume feminists are “hairy,” “ugly” and “dirty.”
“If people didn’t see feminism as a threat and if people didn’t see feminism as powerful they wouldn’t spend so much time putting it down,” Valenti said as she told about trying to make feminism accessible to everyone.
Too many people in America think that we don’t need feminism anymore, yet it’s so necessary when women are paid seventy-six cents to the man’s dollar. She also talked about how it’s so important to our young people to look into feminism because it’s important to take action, “whatever that may mean to you.”
“We are results in the culture we grow up in,” she spoke.
After about half an hour of questions from the audience, she thanked everyone for coming and hearing why it’s so crucial to think about everything inclusive of all people.
“It’s good to know that it’s being brought to campuses. It paints a different picture. As a feminist you don’t have to think of me as a disease. It’s a movement that involves everyone,” UNH student Samantha Thatcher said.
As the GSR cleared out, conversations were still being discussed among students, hopefully a clear sign that feminism will matter on our campus.