By Maegan Ortiz
In time for Women’s History Month, the East Los Angeles Feminist Majority Club wants to teach students on campus that feminism is not a scary word.
Re-chartered last spring after an academic year of inactivity, FMC President Tiffany Guo decided to to renew the club. The club meets on Tuesdays at 12:10 p.m. room 111, in F7.
“Feminism is a word that has so many negative connotations. One of our goals is to redefine the word,” Guo said.
Guo’s definition of feminism goes beyond the male/female binary.
She defines feminism personally as, “General equality for every gender, every sex in all sectors of society through legislation, education, sports and in everything.”
Louise Leftoff, a student and FMC member said that for her feminism was also about “political, economic, and social equality.”
ELAC’s Feminist Majority Club has a relationship with the National Feminist Majority Foundation, that works for social, political and economic equality for women by using research and education to improve womens’ lives.
The national organization, with its local office in Beverly Hills, has campaigns they want their college affiliates to participate in.
Guo updates them with what is going on with the club and is planning on inviting them to a future panel to discuss feminism, its definitions and goals.
While the spring semester just began there are already a few things planned including panels, a vigil for Sexual Assault Awareness Month in April.
Also, Denim Day, a campaign that started after the Italian Supreme Court overturned a rape conviction because the judges justices felt that a rape victim’s wearing tight jeans equaled consent.
The group also plans to participate in the Los Angeles Slutwalk, a march that aims, according to the event’s Facebook page, to protest against rape culture.
Alma Maldonado, FMC member and Elan, acknowledges the history of the word “slut” as a tool of misogyny, and hatred towards women and girls.
“Words have been used to attack a certain group but then the group uses it to empower themselves instead,” Maldonado said.
Feminism was passed onto Guo from her older sister who was taking a women’s studies class at Pasadena City College.
“I started reading some of her books and they pointed out a lot of things that I never realized. I got really interested and decided I wanted to major in gender studies,” Guo said.
She also saw family dynamics inside her own home that she wanted to change.
“Growing up I’ve always seen my mom really dependent on my dad and his income and I didn’t want that for myself. I wanted to pave my own path,” Guo said.
Inspiration for members of the Feminist Majority Club reflect the generational diversity within the club.
Maldonado looks to Democrat Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren. Leftoff looks to Gloria Steinem, founder of the feminist magazine Ms. Magazine and the Women’s Media Center.
Guo admires Jessica Valenti, author and founder of the feminist website Feministing.
Guo, however sees the club’s physical existence outside of cyberspace as important.
“When you go online you can read and empower yourself and tell your loved ones about feminism. When you join this club you actually participate in events are actually active. Instead of just telling people, you actually show the action. You do it,” Guo said.
“We are doing work in the community. We raised money last year,” Leftoff said.
Club president Guo acknowledges some of the criticisms railed against younger feminists.
“We are criticized for taking for granted the strides that have been made by the first two waves of feminism. I don’t think that’s necessarily true. I know that much of the third wave has been about sexuality and taking it back, racism, equality for different sexual orientations,” Guo said.
Guo also questions the label of “true feminist.” “I don’t think there is a degree of measuring how much of a feminist you are. You believe in equality. That’s it,” said Guo.
So far the club is off to a positive start.
According the club president this is a change from last semester.
“At fundraisers last semester some men and women would come up and ask, “What’s the point? You hate men?” Guo said.
“Some men would come up and say, I’m not allowed to come, right?”
“They thought we were all lesbians,” Elan Priscilla Solis said.
“I was suggesting we put up a sign saying we love men. We love everybody. That way they wouldn’t be intimidated by the word feminism. Our club’s responsibility is to educate students what feminism is. That way they walk away with knowledge,” Solis said in the hopes for men to be part of the club.