Feminism and university: a mighty collaboration
“Feminism is entering a ‘fourth wave’ and inspiring an entire generation – with savvy social media users such as Laura Bates of the Everyday Feminism Project and writer Catlin Moran at the forefront.
Here student Georgina Hargrove guest blogs for Cool Blue on why university has been essential in expanding her feminist consciousness in a digital world.”
Aged 12 in the foggy, pre-How to Be a Woman days, my impression of feminism encompassed a hazy mismatch of ideas, mostly revolving around 80s TV for some reason. I don’t know why, but the image of Jenny Seagrove in A Woman of Substance stuck with me. Anyway, aged 14 I was seized by HTBAW and realised it wasn’t a throwback, but something actually relevant to me. I strongly related to Moran’s depiction of veiled misogyny, and found it strange that my friends did not identify with feminism; accepting the notion that it is outdated and overtly critical of men. I began to question how pertinent the movement was to my peer group. Feminism wasn’t a buzzword, despite the media lauding the dawn of its fourth wave.
It’s been drastically different at my university (Bristol) though; I find myself speaking with my peers about feminist issues, and our feminist society is so influential it made it into a national newspaper. At school the movement was considered peripheral; here at university it’s characterised by a cohesive campaign, particularly judging by the society’s use of social media to unify feminists of both sexes. A Facebook group has over 1600 members and is regularly used to debate feminist issues raised in the media, from why many people still don’t identify as feminists to Veet’s controversial new advertising campaign.
It’s as a result of this cohesion that I feel more included than ever before in a movement which is even more significant than I could have imagined. It’s due to my university’s campaigning that I am more conscious of negative body image amongst females, and of rape culture – the falsehoods of which were tackled in a university-wide ‘Bust a Myth’ campaign. And this lobbying isn’t particular to Bristol; societies are springing up across the country – from Glasgow to Exeter. I for one couldn’t be more delighted about it!
University is now the greatest environment to promote feminism and it’s with pride we can say that 60s student activism has been reinvented in the 21st century. This continuity reflects that students generally have more freedom of expression, but I hope the modern-day resurgence in campaigning will electrify the movement post-university; amplifying future waves of feminism and raising awareness that equality still isn’t a reality and must be endeavoured for.