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Catch a red flag and join the conversation

Students in the Women’s Center placed red flags on the lawn in front of the U.C. to educate passersby about the signs of unhealthy relationships.

Red flags are fluttering across Lehigh’s front lawn as the Women’s Center wraps up an October full of activities recognizing National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

The flags are the culmination of a week-long campaign to educate the Lehigh community about the warning signs of unhealthy relationships.

Other programs during October included:

• The annual Take Back The Night walk and speak out
• A discussion of domestic violence in pop culture, focusing on the song “Love the Way You Lie” by hip-hop artists Rhianna and Eminem
• Partnerships with Turning Point of the Lehigh Valley, sororities and other campus organizations to share information about relationship violence prevention.

As October comes to a close, the Center is gearing up for its second Feminism in Practice conference on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 5-6, in Maginnes Hall.

The interaction of theory and reality in feminism today

Rita Jones, director of the Women’s Center, says the conference is a chance for faculty, students, staff and others to talk about how the theory and reality of contemporary feminism interact. The conference’s speakers are drawn from Lehigh’s faculty, and from other academic institutions and non-profit organizations.

Sessions will address the conference’s theme of “Reflection, Action, Change.”

“We think it’s a good idea for the campus and the community at large,” Jones says, “to get together and talk about feminism in a sustained dialogue. Each session at the conference will devote at least 30 minutes to open discussion.”

With the American Movie Channel’s TV show Mad Men recalling the early days of the women’s movement and MTV’s 16 and Pregnant focusing on young mothers, the conference will include a number of sessions devoted to the media. Presenters will also ask the question “Is Rap misogynist?” and discuss the phenomenon of drag queen RuPaul.

In addition to popular culture, panelists will examine feminism through other lenses, including literature, art, parenting, religion and the classroom. The day’s events will cover everything from Chaucer’s Wife of Bath to a prison exchange program. A morning session devoted to the next generation of feminists—“Women, Girls, Politics”—features panelists from the Alice Paul Institute and United for Equality, organizations working to build leadership skills in girls and pass the Equal Rights Amendment.

The conference culminates in a keynote address by Susan J. Douglas, the Catherine Neafie Kellogg and Arthur F. Thurnau Professor and department chair of communications studies at the University of Michigan. Douglas will discuss her new book Enlightened Sexism: The Seductive Message that Feminism’s Work is Done. Her popular works, which also include The Mommy Myth and Where the Girls Are, are intended for a general audience.

“Douglas’ presentation style is really accessible and she welcomes interaction with the audience,” says Jones. “I think everyone who attends will be glad they did.”

The conference registration fee of $10 includes admission to all sessions, an opening night reception, meals and snacks. Those wishing to attend only the Keynote Address are not required to register.

Online registration and more details about the Feminism in Practice conference program are available on the Women’s Center website.

 

Story by Hillary Kwiatek

Posted on Friday, October 29, 2010

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