An earlier version of this article implied in the last paragraph that UFO considers Feminism a movement for only women. This was incorrect; UFO considers Feminism a movement open to both men and women, and UFO membership is open to both genders. The article has been edited to reflect this.
On Monday night Union Feminism Organization (UFO) hosted a seminar, Feminism 101, explaining what Feminism actually is and how it relates to Christianity.
Janna Chance, professor of English. explained some common misconceptions about feminism. Some Christians think feminism devalues women’s traditional Biblical roles. Chance admitted certain parts of feminism do, but went on to explain that feminism is a collection of ideas. A person does not have to choose to embrace every idea that is out there about feminism.
“Some points are compatible with Christianity,” she said.
There are two main types of feminism practiced today. The first is Sameness Feminism, which emphasizes how men and women are alike. The second is Difference Feminism, which focuses on how men and women are different. However, many are left wondering if there is any middle ground.
“Some feminist theory is pretty out there,” Chance said.
She went on to explain that it is okay not to fully agree with all theories of feminism while emphasizing what she referred to as the “ethics of care.” Ethics of care is essentially where feminism and Christianity overlap. Ethics of care is about caring for others and being socially sensitive. It all goes back to love.
“I am committed to loving my neighbor and am committed to my ethics of care,” Chance said.
After this presentation, Elizabeth Wilson, professor of social work, spoke to the audience about the high rates of domestic violence and violence against women around the world. Her presentation talked about many harms that people in the United States don’t consider, like genital mutilation and arranged marriage.
Amy Knack, President of Union Feminist Organization, further explained how feminism and Christianity are connected. Knack argued that equality within genders is a good thing, but it is not everything. If a man demeans a woman because she is a woman it is wrong, but it is equally wrong for a woman to demean a man for being a man or to spite him, according to Knack. She argued that equality becomes meaningless if one has to stoop down to reach it. As a feminist, a certain standard of respect for self and for others should be held.
“I have to ensure that every person’s dignity is respected- both men and women,” said Knack.
Feminism is not just for women; it also appeals to men. Almost half of those who attended the seminar were male students.
When asked why he came, Josh Mays, sophomore conservation biology major and the secretary treasurer of the organization, said “It focuses on equality; equal parts working for equality.”
“I am a feminist because I am a Christian, because I want to work against oppression and because I want to see all people respected,” said Knack.
Feminism is not a movement for power-hungry women who want to demean men. It is a movement for anyone striving towards equality and dignity for both genders.