WOA promotes intersectional feminism on campus

by Nathan Godderis, Contributor

On Tuesday, Sept.11, the Andrea O’Donnell Womyn’s Outreach Association held their first meeting of the school year, featuring discussion activities encouraging women to bond and share personal stories.

A wide range of stories were shared in that meeting, allowing attendees to express any frustrations or ideas regarding sexism on campus.

“I feel like on our campus recently a lot of people have been feeling in danger in things in terms of sexual assaults and robberies,” business sophomore and WOA’s head of public relations Doreen Hemmati said. “I want people to know that WOA and the Women’s Resource Center are real people and a place that’s there for them, and I wish that more people knew they could come to us for more personal things as well.”

The Womyn’s Outreach Association is the largest feminist club on campus. They focus on intersectional feminism, “with the explicit mission to empower and liberate the female student population of San Diego State University,” according to their website.

Intersectional feminism addresses issues faced by women due to their race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, class, and ability, acknowledging the intersections of one’s identity and differences in privilege. The club prides itself on its diverse leadership and membership.

This year, the club has a new president, journalism junior Shelby Rodich, who has been an active member in previous years. The club has big plans for this upcoming year, including Love Your Body Day, an event which focuses on self-confidence and body positivity, and in the past has featured yoga classes and a lecture from a nutritionist.

During the spring semester, the club will hold its annual rally, Take Back The Night, which aims to address sexual and domestic violence at SDSU.

Last year, the club organized Free Vibrator Day, in which a local sexologist assisted WOA in distributing vibrators to students. Around 300 were handed to SDSU students, and the club plans on hosting the same event this year, among numerous other events throughout the year.

“(The events) are basically to spread the word,” Rodich said. “There’s a lot that goes on around campus especially because we have such a big Greek system, and it’s nice to take a moment away and unify with other women on campus and discuss issues that we’re all facing but we don’t always talk about …  it’s a time where a lot of survivors on campus come together and feel and talk about their experiences, so it’s a unifying and empowering experience.”

Members hope for their club to not only be a place for people who are passionate about feminism, but also for those who are unfamiliar with the message.

“I really want the club to grow a lot more. I feel like now feminism is even more of a buzzword than it was before,” Hemmati said. “I feel that our organization does a really good job of explaining how to do feminism right. Last semester someone came in and said she just found out weeks before that feminism isn’t not shaving your armpits and yelling at men, so that kind of stuck out to me and I want to reach more people on campus.”

The Womyn’s Outreach Association has been a club at SDSU since the 1960s. In 1995, club member and women’s studies major Andrea O’Donnell was murdered by her boyfriend, and the club has since been renamed in her honor and she remains an inspiration in fighting domestic violence.

The club meets every Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. in Tehuanco in the Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union, and is open to SDSU students of all backgrounds.