Activism may come naturally

Finding different ways to be active in feminism issues, that suit individual goals and personalities, can manifest in many different ways.

Molly Frendo, second year masters student in American culture studies, spoke yesterday at the Women’s Center brown bag luncheon about the importance of finding alternative ways to becoming involved. Involvement that tailors to student’s individual personalities and what they truly care about.

As women studies majors, students are required to participate in community service, which can take form in several different ways, such as activism.

Service projects, which are difficult to manage, can be a good way to raise awareness but can hold little meaning if the project holds no meaning to the student, according to Frendo.

“Activism should come from an awareness that burns inside you,” Frendo said. “People who are excited about being active, are usually the ones who already are [active].”

Erik Wade, first year doctrine student, said he agreed with her main point about having passion to really be active.

“It has to do with passion, if you don’t have a passion for activism then you really aren’t going to create change, you’re just going through the motions,” Wade said.

Frendo is currently working on her master’s thesis which is about how women studies at BGSU has changed. She interviewed faculty, students, teaching assistants and others involved with the women studies program.

Her research has identified some solutions to being active that goes beyond service learning projects and some alternative approaches to being involved.

“I feel it’s absolutely important before even getting started with service learning to have an understanding of the feminism history” Frendo said. “I think its particularity important for them to have the knowledge about how things have been over time, how we went from feminism from the 1960s to the feminism of today.”

Frendo uses the example of the Meyer-Briggs personality typing as one way to gaining a greater self-awareness and better understand the best ways to become active based on individual strengths. Although the test isn’t perfect, it is one way to understand people that behave and work in different ways.

“I think part of self-awareness involves teaching students how to reflect upon themselves. What they’re good at, what they’re not so good at and how they work with other people,” Frendo said. “It’s a tool of interpreting behaviors, but it’s not the ultimate truth.”

Lisa Richman, graduate assistant in the American culture studies program, found value in Frendo’s subject for her research project.

“I thought that her outlining alternatives for doing these service projects are really valuable,” Richman said. Through Richman’s experiences in the classroom, she was able to relate to the stresses of finding alternative ways to get students involved.

“I think there is a lot of value on learning how to be activists. Finding alternative ways to teach students on how to be activists and feminists in the classroom is a very valuable project to take on and it seems that Molly has done a wonderful job,” Richman said.

Frendo went through the women studies program at a small, private Catholic college in Michigan and realized that she never really knew there was a kind of feminism that fit her generation.

The program mainly focused on the second wave of feminism that occurred during the 1960s and 1970s, but through studying feminism in the abstract through literature, history and sociology.

Frendo emphasized that activism, such as picketing, isn’t for everybody and isn’t the only way to participate in activism.

“When I graduated I became of aware of this wealth of material having to do with third wave feminism and I felt like I found home,” Frendo said.

The third wave of feminism started in the early 1990s and continues today is the kind of feminism Frendo said she identifies with.

Even though she identifies herself as a third wave feminist, it doesn’t mean she doesn’t share common ground with those that identify with second wave.

“All in all, at the core we need to remember at feminism has the ending of equality,” Frendo said.