Feminism Is Not A Dirty Word


Sophie Spicuzza

Ro (left) and Lily (right), the founders of PCH Feminism Club pose for a photo.

Sophie Spicuzza, Co Editor-in-Chief

When you hear the word feminism what do you think of? Do you think of people fighting for equality and acceptance among all people? Or do you think of angry women screaming in grocery stores? If you thought the latter, you have the wrong image of what feminism really is.

“People have such a strong picture in their mind about what it means to be a feminist about all the things that come with that just like you hate men, you hate the government, you hate everything. And that’s not what feminism is, it’s the belief that all genders should be equal,” senior Lily Pilz said.

Pilz and fellow senior Ro Abou Antoun are the co-founders of PCH’s Feminism Club. The new club centers around bringing people together, and fighting for equality.

They both have had a strong passion for feminism and wanted to share their passion with the rest of the school. When they realized Central didn’t have a club, they were quick to get the club up and running.

“I just immediately said, we need to start something here. Because I am very passionate about feminism,” Abou Antoun said “I just want to be able to spread feminism and ideologies to the younger grades, especially other women that go to our school. And just wanted to be that voice for people.”

Pilz shared when her love for feminism specifically started, and the moment when she knew she needed to make a change within the community.

“Specifically with the school, I had an incident of sexism with someone in the upper administration. And I got an apology,” Pilz said. “And that was great. But it kind of made me go, “why would this ever even happen in the first place?” “And why did it happen at our school?”

Pilz and Abou Antoun reached out to business teacher Sarah Hale to sponsor the club.

“She’s really passionate about the club. She went to our first meeting and the first thing she said to me was, ‘I can’t wait to see what this club can do.’ There’s so much to be done in the school as far as fixing issues of sexism. You see it in everyday events,” Pilz said. “You see it when no one shows up to the girls sporting events. It’s little comments and things that happened to the girls around us that don’t happen to the guys,” Abou Antoun said.

One of the biggest things the feminism club and feminists emphasize is that all people should be treated equally regardless of who they are, and work to create a safe space for people to express who they are.They knew that starting the club would not be easy. But they found the club to be a vital asset that PCH needed.

“When we started the club, we found there was a lot of stigma surrounding the club. We just hope through our educational presentations, and just talking about the club, people might see that it’s a lot different than what they are anticipating Feminism Cub would be. We also hope to educate people about feminism. If they don’t know anything about feminism, they can just step into a room for an hour and take away something about feminism that they never knew before,” Pilz said.

They want the club to continue to inspire and advocate far beyond when they graduate in May.

“We’re trying to make sure that we have people who can keep it going after we’re gone. We think it if it keeps going and keeps lasting. It’ll be even more impactful. Especially for the younger generations that are coming up into high school If they ever feel out of place or discouraged because of sexism and misogyny they have a fun little space to do crafts and learn with no stigma around it,” Pilz said.

During meetings members participate in a presentation for the first half over a feminist and issue relating to feminism, and during the second half they participate in a craft or activity. Inspiration for the club and their values came from some of their favorite feminists.

“I like to take inspiration, especially from women of color, because they have such a different experience when it comes to feminism and their experiences than white women because, you know, they have to, they have to deal with on top of that being of color, and being a woman,” Abou Antoun said.

Pilz and Abou Antoun are working hard to incorporate lessons from women of color into the club activities.

“A lot of people wash away their voices and get caught up in like white feminism,” Pilz said. “And it’s completely different when you learn about feminism from a white person’s point of view. So we talked about people like Audrey Lorde and Toni Morrison.”

Although the club has been received positively, they still have had to face some negative push-back from the student body.

“Starting the club, we had such pushback from especially, pretty much only, guys. I heard left and right, guys saying ‘the club is stupid’ that they don’t get it,’ ‘why would we need one,’ all this crazy stuff about it,” Pilz said. “I’m like, you realize the irony behind that. You as a man standing here, saying how a feminism club shouldn’t exist, that it doesn’t need to exist kind of proves the fact that we need it.”

The club members want to provide a space where people can come safely together. We know they just want to have a space where it’s all safe. And it’s all people that actually care and listen to what they have to say. And not be like, “Oh, you’re just a crazy feminist lady,” Abou Antoun said.

They both agree that this mindset stems from never learning about modern day feminists.

They feel like this mindset comes from never learning about modern feminism. They find that schools teach about feminism when it was first starting, but after that no one learns anymore about the topic.

“I think people just see angry women on TV screaming about things. And they think that’s feminism. They don’t see the other media, like speeches, books, and movies by feminists that show so many other angles,” Pilz said.

Although society has made great efforts for equality, there are still discrepancies in America which is what Feminism Club is advocating for. According to AAUW research full-time working women only make 83% of what men do per year. This loss adds up to more than $500 billion dollars of revenue per year. Black women make 63 cents for every one dollar a man makes, Asian women make 87 cents for every dollar, and Latina women make 55 cents per dollar. The pay gap exists within virtually every profession, and the largest pay gaps exist among financial services, advisors, and sales agents. And women with the same bachelor’s degrees as men are paid 26% less than males.

“People now think, ‘oh, we don’t even need feminism anymore because women have jobs’, ‘women can do whatever they want,’ but they don’t know that there are so many internalized issues with our society that men and the system treat women in such a worse way than they treat men. People just think that feminism is over because women can vote or because women can get a job but there are many more issues than ‘I can vote.’

Both Pilz and Abou Antoun strive to make it clear that feminism is not about angry women, or putting down men because women hate men.

“I wish people could understand that feminism isn’t about making women better than men or making women on top of men. It’s just, giving them the pedestal to make them at the same level as men,” Abou Antoun said. “There’s a lot of underlying issues that we don’t want to discuss that are actively pushing women down. And feminism is about pulling them up but not pulling men down, just making it equal for all genders.”

They also realize that simply having the club won’t fix all the issues. And just because PCH has a club, doesn’t mean there is no misogyny going on inside the school. It is the people who have the ability to change the viewpoint on feminism, little by little.

“We have an environment where we can have a feminism club, but yes, we also have an environment where we can allow all the sexism and misogyny at times,” Pilz said.

The Feminism Club meets every other Tuesday in Mrs. Hale’s room at 2:30 pm.