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Feminism Club posters create social media discussion

Courtesy of David Mapes-Frances

by Jackie Gong
Feminism Club posted a series of questions around the men and women’s bathrooms Tuesday after school for students to anonymously express their thoughts and opinions on feminism and the role of women. Although the experiment had many positive answers, a handful of responses from the men’s restroom were extremely controversial, and gained attention on Facebook Thursday afternoon, opening a discussion on the issue of gender equality at North.
Questions on the posters included “What do you think is the role of women in society? What do you think of when you hear the words ‘gender equality’? How have you experienced sexism in this school?”
Responses to the question on sexism in the women’s restroom included answers such as “dress violations (according to a teacher),” and “…people are surprised that I want to be muscular because that is a ‘man’s thing’.” Answers in the men’s restroom to the question on women’s role in society included responses such as “making sandwiches,” “deez nuts,” and “only needed for sex.”
“The idea of the posters was just to spark conversation, in a sort of anonymous forum where people could speak their minds completely candidly,” said senior Naomi Forman-Katz, an officer of the club.
Forman-Katz said that she had been hearing from many people that sexism no longer exists at North, and that feminism was unnecessary today. “Clearly, that’s not the case. This was proof of sexism in our school,” she said.  
“Some people responded [on Facebook] by saying it was just a joke, just boys kidding around, but to us, sexism isn’t funny,” she said.
In response to the “boys will be boys” mentality that many people brought up online, junior Gabe Jasper responded by saying, “[It] is not the solution, it is the PROBLEM. But it doesn’t have to be set in stone, and there’s literally no point in giving up on the idea that things can change. Was the goal of this idea to end sexism? No. But it’s helping to illuminate how lightly everyone is taking it, and how generally polarized people’s opinions on it are, in the hopes of getting people to, at the very least, think about why that’s so wrong.”
The club, which usually meets Tuesdays, held an emergency meeting Thursday to discuss the results of the social experiments.
“We talked a lot about how we wanted to make sure we weren’t placing any blame or making any generalizations. We decided that the best course of action, for the time being, was just to post about it on social media,” said Forman-Katz.
After the club took photos of the responses, Forman-Katz posted two images of the questions on Facebook, and they began to spread. Her post has been shared over 70 times.
“We weren’t really expecting any particular response [on the posters] per se,” she said. “We just wanted to get a variety of honest opinions. Honestly though, we kind of braced ourselves for a negative response on some of them. I hoped I would be proven wrong, but unfortunately I wasn’t.”

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