Erin Riordan (COL ’15) and Kat Kelley (NHS ’14) were spending yet another late night lamenting the perception of feminism at Georgetown when they decided to do something about it.
The two students decided to create “Feminists-at-Large,” a blog that aims to examine feminism from a variety of perspectives, discussing everything from gay rights to women in the military to slut shaming. They launched the blog Jan. 22.
“I think there was this frustration that there are a lot of very real issues relating to feminism on this campus: sexual assault, rape culture, all of that sort of stuff that really [is] not talked about or addressed on a wide scale,” Riordan said. “Part of that is because so many people do roll their eyes at those conversations or roll their eyes at feminism.”
For Kelley, the blog responds to her realization that gender equality is at the heart of numerous important academic disciplines and questions.
“As I progressed through my time at Georgetown, I began to realize that women’s empowerment is literally key to everything,” Kelley said. “It’s not this pet project — it’s key to economic growth, it’s key to development, it’s key to health, it’s key to national security.”
The pair also envisions the blog as a resource for those who are not familiar with feminism.
“It’s also about making it accessible to people who aren’t already feminists … [and] who aren’t used to this sort of dialogue,” Riordan said. “They can be a part of it, too, and can gain from it whatever they will.”
While Riordan and Kelley acknowledge that problems like sexual assault and gender inequality run more rampant at other schools in the United States, they maintain that Georgetown must improve its approach to gender equality.
“There’s a lot less impact of gender inequalities on this campus than maybe in other people’s lives, but it’s definitely something that both of us are aware of,” Kelley said. “In many ways, a lot of it is more social than institutional.”
Riordan agreed, citing the university’s dating environment as an example.
“I think you see it in our hookup culture,” Riordan said. “I think there is definitely a lot of negative stuff said about girls who actively participate in hookup culture. There’s a lot of slut shaming. [There’s] the fact that our sexual assault statistics match national averages.”
Additionally, “Feminists-at-Large”tries to engage as many perspectives and subject areas as possible, inviting both women and men to contribute.
Johan Clarke (COL ’15), who writes about pop culture on the blog, stressed the value of involving a variety of people in the discussion.
“I think it’s important because there are a lot of people who have a lot to say, and there are a lot of different voices and I feel like this blog brings them all together,” Clarke said. “Everyone who wants to say something can.”
“Take this gender lens and apply it to any aspect of your life, and we’re happy to post it,” Kelley said. “We want to make feminism accessible to everyone, regardless of their political background or whatever experiences they’re coming from.”
Victoria Moroney (SFS ’15) reads the blog and praised its diverse content.
“I’m glad that the authors are working to make feminism accessible to [people of] all demographics — especially ones that normally would not be included in these kinds of discussions,” Moroney said.