Last Friday, the Red Whistle Brigade opened up the Women and Gender Advocacy Center’s doors even wider to invite CSU students to Feminist Fridays, a new open-forum talk series created for and by students.
While most students know about the Red Whistle Brigade from freshmen orientation when the student group presented about consent using skits and humor, the organization is constantly working and putting on projects all over campus throughout the year. These projects include facilitation and presentations for residents at their specific dorms, flash mobs, a zine and a Relationship Violence Workshop series during this month for Relationship Violence Awareness Month.
Feminist Fridays is one of the newest projects to come out of The Red Whistle Brigade. The idea of the talk series is to create a safe, brave space for students to come and discuss their thoughts regarding feminism and how it applies to their lives. The first session’s theme was simply feminism. Facilitator and Red Whistle Brigade member Bailey Schmidt encouraged attendees to discuss what their own definition of the term meant to them and also how it is perceived on CSU’s campus.
“People of all identities are welcome to come in and talk freely about issues that are going on campus related to the topic or issues in their life or in the world,” said Schmidt, who is also one of the founders of the new series. “It’s very open.”
Schmidt hopes for the talk series to evolve as attendance rises, creating an environment that feels less like a lecture when someone is telling people what to think but more student led. The idea of the program is to provide a space where students can participate in open discussions and bounce ideas off of one another naturally, opposed to a space where ideas are led in one direction by facilitators.
The founders of Feminist Fridays used other Student Diversity Programs and Services office’s talk series for inspiration for their own work. The Red Whistle Brigade members attended the Black/African American Cultural Center’s (B/AACC) “Real Talk” and Resources for Disabled Students’ (RDS) “Disability Dialogues” and took notes on the structure and inclusivity of these programs.
Although the first Feminist Friday’s attendance was meeker than anticipated, those who did attend produced a discussion that touched on a wide range of topics under the feminism theme. Students were given a chance to hear diverse perspectives from students who have experienced feminism differently.
Sophomore transfer student Emma Griffin-derr attended Feminist Friday and had her first experience with the Woman and Gender Advocacy Center.
“I love Feminist Fridays,” Griffin-derr said. “I was a little nervous to come because I didn’t know if people would be here because in some feminist spaces, people don’t show up, but I was so excited to see that people come [to the WGAC] and have good conversation. I think this space is really awesome and important.”
Students talked about how different parts of Colorado tend to perceive the ideologies of feminism differently, how this relates to diversity and how Colorado stands in terms of diversity compared to other states. Attendees also theorized whether or not today’s mainstream feminism is really open and applicable to everyone in all diverse walks of life, including people who identify as men.
Feminist Fridays will continue on every first and third Friday of each month. The theme for next talk is “Let’s Talk About Sex” and will commence on Oct. 21.
“The title says it all,” reads the flier for the upcoming forum. “Let’s get together and talk about sex in a sex positive environment.”
The Red Whistle Brigade hopes for a bigger turn out than last Friday by getting more fliers out the students and advertising the event on social media. Each event will be located in the Woman and Gender Advocacy Center inside of the Lory Student Center, beginning at noon and officially ending at 1 p.m., although Red Whistle Brigade members will be available afterwards to answer any further questions from the discussion. The program emphasizes that all people of all identities are welcome.