TCSA Feminism Week: Awareness Meets Action

Trent Central Student Association (TCSA) Women's Issues Student Commissioner Brianna Campbell holds the signed banner for TCSA Feminism Week 2018. Photo by Christine Liu for the TCSA.

Photo by Christine Liu for the TCSA.

Feminism is one of those buzzwords that a lot of people seem to view negatively, usually attributing it to the more extreme and negative activists out there, but the TCSA is actively engaging students of all identifications to get involved in reclaiming the term ‘feminist’. As a feminist myself, advocating not just for my cis-ters but for all sisters was extremely freeing because of the welcoming, warm atmosphere that permeated the events during the week of November 19 to 23. All events during the week of empowerment were made possible by the help of numerous generous sponsors such as local shop You’re Welcome, the Canadian Federation of Students/Fédération canadienne des étudiantes et étudiants (CFS/Fcéé), on-campus pub The Ceilie, Kawartha Sexual Assault Centre, as well as The Trent Centre for Women and Trans People.

TCSA’s Feminism Week began on Monday, November 19 with a Feminism Banner Signing. The event logo was in the middle of the banner, with signatures surrounding it. I stopped by near the beginning of the signing, as I was on my way to a class, and stopped to say a quick hello to TCSA’s own Women’s Issues Commissioner Brianna Campbell, as well as to sign the banner. I am extremely happy to report that by the end of the signing at three in the afternoon, the banner was completely covered in names from the Trent population (this put a smile on my face for the rest of the day). Honestly, what’s more lovely than getting everyone involved for betterment?

A screening of the movie Born In Flames was held at Sadleir House by the Trent Film Society and also took place on the 19, showcasing a group of women that band together and rebel in a socialist-governed world filled with racism, sexism, and classism. The movie is undoubtedly a ray of sunshiney hope in the dark cloud that is the patriarchy, and I personally thank goodness it exists (if you haven’t seen it yet, please consider it).

The next day, the 20 of November, was a somber day with an emotional, speech-filled candlelight vigil at Sadleir House to both mourn and honour the lives of those lost to anti-transgender violence and discrimination around the world. There should not be so many to remember. The numbers should not keep rising.

Consent At Trent and Peer Support also arranged a small workshop area outside of OC Dining Hall to spread happiness and positivity around campus as a mood-booster. It was wholesome and obviously well appreciated, with exam prep stress currently looming above all students (as well as a reminder that it costs $0 to be a nice person).

The second-last day of TCSA’s Feminism Week was arguably the best day of the week, with FREE anti-oppression training brought to Trent by CFS, supporting equity among all students on campus (exactly what the frick we feminists are fighting for out here). During the night portion of the 21, there was the Feminist Games Pub Night hosted at The Ceilie, with prizes generously supplied by You’re Welcome and CFS. Guests to the event were welcomed to play a game or two of a Cards Against Humanity spinoff, entitled Cards Against the Patriarchy, with clever sexual innuendos and amusing pokes at political figures who have been known to say some really messed up stuff about women. With a mix of classic BINGO and ‘sexy trivia’ (Jeopardy-style questions from different penis sizes of mammals to which animals have been known to perform oral sex on their partners), patrons of the pub enjoyed pints and prizes from six until nine… some even walked away with a free vibrator or two!

The last day (November 22) of the week-long saga was filled with an afternoon of crafting in the Event Space in the Student Centre. The aptly-named ‘crafternoon’ was supported by the Kawartha Sexual Assault Centre, making equally cute and bold feminist buttons for coats, backpacks, and shirts alike, as well as what were called ‘tampon buddies’, a version of yourself as a tampon (a ‘tampersona’, if you will). The TCSA provided really frickin’ cute canvas bags to colour, reading “reproductive rights are human rights” and honey, I mean, who wouldn’t want a roomy bag for holding thrift shop clothes with an amazing bit of wording and art on it? There were also options to embroider individual hoops with sassy sayings and empowering quotes, as well as making custom buttons with sexualities, supporting intersectional feminism and conversation-starters like a button that reads “ask me about my feminist agenda” along with a cat on it. Best. Pin. Ever.

There’s still a long way to reclaiming the word “feminist,” but the TCSA has made it just a bit easier on the Trent Peterborough Campus, through the spreading of a bit of random kindness, crafting buttons of conversation-starters, statement-making bags, and continuing the positive conversation of feminism via movies and experimental media. Thank you, TCSA.