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WAGER: Fighting the Feminist Fight

[dropcap]Y[/dropcap]ou might have seen some posters of your friends or teachers around school asking you to “Spot the difference.” And to answer your question, no…there is no difference. These posters were put up by a new club at school called Women and Gender Equality Rights Club or WAGER.

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Every other monday the group comes together in MB207 to share articles, discuss issues they see in society and in our community, and work on ways that we can help make those issues better.

The current campaign with the posters is to educate people on what being a feminist actually means and to show how gender equality is the true meaning of feminism.

Aja Sobus, senior and member of the club, said, “People should know feminism isn’t a big scary word used to describe crazy women protesting on the streets about how women are superior. It’s a word meaning equality.”

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, feminism means “the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities.” WAGER is trying to introduce the term to the TA community for what it actually means.

“People think feminism is a negative or even outdated word.  Really, it stands for the social, economic, and political equality of women.  If you believe in those ideas, you are a feminist. It is not about hating men or even competing with men.  It is about men and women coming together to work for equality, which is not fully realized in our country today- not just because of gender but because of people’s backgrounds, races, and religions.  The problem stems from stereotypes and false generalizations.  People need to understand that we are all human beings.  We are all in this together,” explained founder Brooke Nadeau.

A study shows that only 18 percent of Americans consider themselves feminist, but 85 percent believed in equality for women. WAGER is trying to do their part to increase that 18 percent. This is at the heart of why the group was started.

“I wanted to start this group because I wanted to spread awareness of gender inequality as well as serve as a support group for students at Thornton Academy,” said Nadeau.

Recently the group has been delving into issues revolving around consent and rape culture in both the small-scale and large-scale community.

Nadeau said, “We want people to feel safe at Thornton Academy and have a clear understanding of whom to go to if they feel sexually harassed.   We are working toward having consent being taught in the mandatory health classes at Thornton Academy.  I feel it should be taught along with the sexual health unit.”

Ms. Barklow is co-advisor of the club with Frau Curtis and is happy to bring her own background and experience to the new club.

“One of the reasons I truly enjoy being advisor for WAGER is that it’s really […] exciting to see  so many young women who have an interest in equality but also really want to work towards it. Who find a safe place to talk with each other and who are open and honest  with each other about issues that affect young women and I am really proud of the fact that we can create that space for people,” said Barklow, “I think that it’s really exciting because sometimes you don’t necessarily see that kind of activism in high school and I think that if we want things to change, we need that activism. So to see the enthusiasm and the passion and the compassion and supporting of each other and just this intelligent thinking about what it’s like to be a women in society today and how we can make things more equitable is just really fantastic for me. I am proud of everybody.”

It is the special discussion and support for one another that makes the group special for a lot of the members. “My favorite part of WAGER is seeing people come together.  We feel free to share our thoughts and concerns.  Since the formation of this group,  I have seen greater awareness of gender equality in the school,” explained Nadeau.IMG_7133

Barklow has been a big supporter for gender equality since she was young just like the members of the club. “I have considered myself a feminist since 12 or 13 because I think that unfortunately older beliefs and traditions still affect our system and it’s that whole idea that feminism because women are people too. We want the same equal opportunities. […] If you look at the world and you see what’s going on and you think it’s unfair you’re going to be encouraged to fight for fairness and equality.”

This drive from advisors fuels the members of WAGER to want to do more. This spring, members will be attending a RAD class together. The acronym stands Rape Aggression Defense. The class is designed to teach women of any age or size how to defend themselves against aggressors if they are attacked. They are also working on a way of sharing issues of consent with the student body.

Sobus said, “The fact that I can go to a meeting with my best friends and sit and talk about something we are so passionate about. It’s a place that makes you feel like you can truly change the world.”

If you are interested in joining WAGER, meetings are in MB 207 on Mondays at 2:00. If you have any questions, the advisors are Ms. Barklow ( ) and Frau Curtis ( ). New members are welcomed at anytime.

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One Comment

  1. Haneen Haneen May 17, 2016

    I agree with what this club stands for and think it’s a great idea to bring to light the awareness surrounding rights for women. I feel strongly regarding feminism, especially with the unequal pay regarding the U.S. National Women’s Soccer team not being paid as much as the men’s team, even though they have won more World Cup’s than the male team. I look forward to hear more about the types of issues that this club will address to the TA Community.

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