More Than Feminine Mystique
Women’s Resource Center provides a place for gender equality at BU
When Mackie Welch arrived on campus almost four years ago, she realized that something was missing.
“Looking at other schools, I saw that they had women’s centers. At BU, I noticed they didn’t have one,” says Welch (CAS’09). “I wanted to know why.”
Seeking community, Welch joined BU’s Voices for Planned Parenthood affiliate instead, where she found other people who wanted to create a place for women on campus.
Now, the Boston University Women’s Resource Center is a reality. A ribbon-cutting ceremony for the center, located in the basement of the George Sherman Union, was held in October.
This isn’t the first women’s center on BU’s campus; in the 1970s, women’s centers opened at colleges and universities across the country, most heralding the radical notion of equality for women, others simply providing a space where women could feel safe. Boston University joined the trend, but the space itself didn’t last.
“It was a small space, and only fit about three people,” says Rhiannon Roberts (CAS’02), department administrator in the College of Arts and Sciences modern languages and comparative literature department. “We didn’t meet there very often.”
But this isn’t the ’70s, and the Women’s Resource Center isn’t just a new space; it reflects the ideas of a new generation, says codirector Welch, who runs the center with codirector Carrie Chiusano (COM’09). “In the ’70s, the centers created were very women-centered, but when we were establishing our space, a lot of the issues were more gender-related.”
But for Welch, it’s having the space that’s important.
“It’s good to have this place where you’re comfortable talking about these issues,” she says. “And men are welcome, even as volunteers. If people want to have certain discussions that aren’t exactly about women or feminism, we welcome that — unless it’s blatantly anti-women.”
For anyone interested, this is the semester to get involved in the dialogue, according to center member Meghan Faulkner (CAS’11). “We welcome volunteers, and anyone who just wants to hang out,” she says. “There are a lot of events happening this semester.”
Tonight, the center is presenting its first monthly Honored Artist Award, to Erin O’Leary (CFA’09). The award recognizes BU visual artists whose art considers the ideas of women, gender, or sexuality, and a monthlong gallery exhibition by the artist will be shown at the center. The event starts at 6 p.m. in the center.
Other upcoming activities include a book club every Monday at 6:30 p.m. — among the readings are The Virgin Suicides, by Jeffrey Eugenides, Conquest: Sexual Violence and American Indian Genocide, by Andrea Smith, and Towelhead, by Alicia Erian. There will also be an event for V-Day, an organization working to end violence against women, which sponsors events on Valentine’s Day, in conjunction with the BU student group Athena’s Players. The group is performing The Vagina Monologues at the Tsai Performance Center on Friday, February 13, and Saturday, February 14.
During the week of February 23 through 27, the center is hosting G-Word — a weeklong series of events discussing and looking at gender from many perspectives. G-Word is being held in collaboration with BU’s student group Spectrum and the LQBTQ ministries at Marsh Chapel. On Monday, February 23, Erin Davies will speak about homophobia in America and her new documentary, Fagbug.
The Women’s Resource Center, in the George Sherman Union basement, 775 Commonwealth Ave., is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and during special events. For more information, contact email@example.com, or visit the center’s Facebook page.
Kimberly Cornuelle can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org Comments