October 25, 2020

VIDEO: Students Craft Symbols of Genitalia, Discuss Gender Inequality

A small group of Webster students turned glitter glue, markers, and feathers into a spider web, a sun, and a little man in a boat; symbols to represent their vaginas.

Artistic representations of genitalia on construction paper were hung on the wall during the meeting.
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Sophomore journalism major Lilly Dumar, the new co-president of Students for Gender Equality (SGE), said although the activity may not directly help bring about gender equality, “it certainly is fun.”

“When it comes to penises and vaginas, they really are beautiful things,” Dumar said. “I think [the genitalia craft project] is really a good way of getting more people talking … acknowledging that it’s there and like, ‘Hey, woah, this is a part of me and I don’t need to be ashamed about it.’”

The leaders of SGE started discussion about feminism and sex and gender issues. The group worked on collages using clips women’s magazines to identify gender inequality or create their own representation. They identified images of people in magazines that were altered in some form, usually to make people appear skinnier, fuller, tanner, and hairless.

Anna Pestine, a sophomore gender studies major and co-president of SGE, used a recent issue of Cosmopolitan as an example of this trend.

“You see on the cover this image of an unattainable person. You’d never see this in real life,” Pestine said while pointing out where the model had been airbrushed. “You have people obsessing that, ‘Oh, I need to be hairless or I can’t satisfy my man.’”

Sophomore Anna Pestine identifies female objectification on the cover of a Cosmopolitian magazine

The meeting was SGE’s first of the year. The meeting only drew four students, so there were plenty of snacks, condoms and art supplies left over. Dumar and Pestine are trying to overcome a difficult transition; no one else from the SGE executive board from the spring is still an active member. Dumar said one of the problems the group has faced is how to start social change.

“Everyone was saying, ‘You know what, [gender inequality] does suck. We should change this.’ ‘Yeah, you’re right. How do we change it?’ ‘We don’t know,’” Dumar said, laughing.

The group brainstormed ways to get information out to people and gathered ideas to create attention for their organization. One of the ways they want to expand is to reach out to more men on campus.

“[SGE] is not just a group of feminists who get together and bitch about men,” Dumar said. “We want to really involve students; we want to let them know about different gender issues and sex issues.”

While Pestine is a gender studies major, Dumar said she has not really had the opportunity to take many gender-centric classes. “The club is not focused on people who are just studying gender equality,” Dumar said. “We want this club to be open to everybody.”

Students for Gender Equality scheduled to meet every Tuesday at 9:30 p.m. in the Emerson Library Room 215.

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