Chief Culture Editor
Since its inception, the Holy Cross Women’s Forum has worked to promote gender equality and foster an inclusive environment where the Holy Cross community can share its concerns and raise awareness about issues related to gender equality. In more recent years, the group has worked to include and advocate for feminists of all genders, races, sexual orientations, and opinions. The name Women’s Forum, however, did not necessarily reflect the group’s inclusive message. So, effective for the Fall 2017 semester, the group formerly known as the Women’s Forum officially changed its name to Feminist Forum in order to encourage a more diverse membership and to reflect the shift in the larger feminist movement to encompass an intersectional viewpoint.
“The purpose of changing the name was really to create a more inclusive feminist organization on campus,” says senior co-chair Caitlin Daniels. “While Women’s Forum was focused on a feminist agenda, the name was outdated and confusing for many people. The shift to Feminist Forum highlights our dedication as an organization to have an intersectional lens, meaning we want to highlight the multidimensional identity of all people including race, sexual orientation, gender, and gender identity. We also wanted to highlight that feminism as a movement is not just for women and is an identity that many people hold.”
The group’s members hope that this name change will encourage attendance at meetings from those who may not have felt as though they had a place in the group before.
“We’re hoping the name change will be more informative for people and will encourage more people to feel welcome as part of our organization,” explains Daniels. “We are also hoping to have more complex conversations about feminism as an inclusive movement and highlight the many dimensions of a feminist identity.”
Intersectional feminism, or the understanding of how women’s overlapping identities — including race, class, ethnicity, religion, and sexual orientation — impact the way they experience oppression and discrimination, has become an important component to the larger national feminist movement. It gained particular attention after many feminists felt that the Women’s Marches in January 2017 initially failed to adequately include women of color, LGBTQ women, and women from diverse backgrounds.
“The feminist movement has significantly evolved to have a complex, intersectional identity,” explains Daniels. “Feminism has a wider scope and includes an agenda that is focused on many areas of social progress. Feminism is a movement that continues to fight for the economic, social, and political equality of all people and is more inclusive to varying and complex identities.”
Senior Treasurer Katie Bowles agrees. “The feminist movement has come a long way from centering itself around white, cisgender, heterosexual women. Today, as a feminist, it’s crucial to champion intersectionality and inclusivity,” she says.
The group is also hoping to have more events and discussions related to this idea of intersectional feminism, including different discussion projects and collaborations with other MSO’s who focus on social justice.
“We’re hoping to have a significant presence on campus and to continue to foster important conversations about feminism and gender equality,” says Daniels. “While we’re excited to promote our signature events like the Vagina Monologues, we are also excited to welcome new members and plan different and exciting events for the year.”
So, regardless of your race, gender, religion, or sexual orientation, and even if you would not necessarily describe yourself as a feminist, the group hopes you’ll come check out a meeting.
Meetings take place on Tuesdays at 9:00 pm.. in Hogan 406!