A Salford University student has described how she wants to develop an inclusive space as Manchester gears up to host Reclaim The Night, an event highlighting mental and physical abuse towards women.
A University of Salford student has set up a society in support of feminism. Helen Clegg hopes that the ‘Feminist Society USSU’ will grab people’s attention and draw people into understand and celebrate feminism. Most importantly, the society hopes to bring people together from the university in order for students to have somewhere to talk about issues surrounding feminism.
So what is feminism and the concept around it?
As a woman I feel like I need to ask how has feminism changed over the years. Pioneers of the feminist movement have fought for many years and yes the fight may have changed, but the stereotypes remain and the cause will never die.
Feminist campaigns are the main force behind the major historical and societal changes in women’s rights, particularly in the West of the world. For example, within the UK and the US we are near-universally recognized aiming to achieve women’s suffrage, gender neutrality in English and reproductive rights for women.
Feminists of Salford University!! I am trying to kickstart a Feminist Society! https://t.co/D6h8pPHKVt
— Helen Clegg (@Helen_Clegg_) January 24, 2017
Something that Feminism concerns itself with is the breaking down of gender roles, the idea that a person can be whoever and do whatever they like, regardless of their gender. And very recently makeup and fashion have become a common occurrence, especially with men. The explosion of men in the makeup industry, doing traditionally feminine things yet redefining the idea of masculinity and femininity.
The stereotypical image of a feminist doesn’t have to be someone focused on broadcasting their views of why they think men are inferior, because that’s not what the idea of feminism as a whole stand for. It may be that people are put off by those who are like that and ultimately jump to the conclusion that the whole movement is a bunch of privileged white women, while actually the feminist movement is one of the most diverse out there.
Perhaps, because 2016 looked to be a banner year for feminism as discussions about rape, workplace harassment, pay disparity and other feminist issues finally broke through the mainstream. Many people including celebrities are now embracing the word feminism – which can be counted as another significant shift after decades of pioneering.
This is why feminism is important – advocating equal rights for yourself and others around you, even if you aren’t personally impacted by the issues. Giving someone support can make a big change to their lives.
The Feminist Society is joining other societies in LGBT and History month by hosting its own event – Reclaim the Night. On the 23rd of February, the society will light up Manchester and take to the streets to amplify their voices in a friendly event which is open to the whole community!
I went and spoke to Helen Clegg, who has set up the Feminist society at the University of Salford.
Helen told us: “Sexual violence against women is an epidemic but together, we have the power to fight back. Bring your glow sticks, bring your friends and bring your voices.”
The Reclaim The Night march will gather at Owens’ Park outside The Tower, Wilmslow Road, Fallowfield at 7pm and a neon parade will head down Wilmslow Road towards Manchester Students’ Union. The event will see the society members and others participate in a march to demonstrate everyone’s right to walk the streets without the fear of sexual violence, street harassment, rape culture and victim blaming.
The evening continues with the Reclaim the Night After Party, a festival of the finest women talent, with live music, speakers, crafts, and community stalls & DJs till late – at Manchester Students’ Union from 9pm until 2am.
Find out more here.
By Rachel Foy