East students create Feminist Student Union club


Rebecca Sabath ('23)

Feminist Student Union holds their first meeting.

While women have come a long way in terms of rights, the task of equal rights for women has yet to be conquered. The new Feminist Student Union at East aims to create a safe space for feminists to share their voices and educate others on feminist topics they are passionate about. Students Sage Levy (‘23), Brooke Warren (‘23), Rebecca Sabbath (‘23), Nina Lazarovici (‘23), Miranda Rosenbaum (‘23), and Sophie Neuwirth (‘23) founded the Feminist Student Union with goals in mind.

“We wanted to start a club to uplift those affected by misogyny at East…those who feel that they are lacking a voice,” said Warren. Founders of the club took inspiration from groups like Women in Business as well as the Women in Sports club in order to create a club without specificity to anything outside of feminism.

One topic the group aims to spread awareness about is the fact that feminism is for everyone and that anyone who is perceived to be feminine by the world can experience misogyny, not just girls. For instance, people apart of the nonbinary or trans community can experience misogyny, even if they don’t identify as a woman. The club also seeks to get rid of the negative connotation often given to feminism

The Feminist Student Union plans to accomplish these goals through charity work, such as drives, as well as educational seminars. Recently, the Feminist Student Union held a joint seminar with the African-American Culture Club, led by Vanessa Koku (‘23) and Lily Thomas (‘23) of African American Culture Club and Levy, Natalie Finklestein (‘23), and Shivani Hirata-Chandran (‘23) of Feminist Student Union. The seminar focused on black women throughout history and their impacts on the world. The seminar also gave students a chance to speak about their experiences, taking into account intersectionality, which focuses on considering multiple identities that can marginalize an individual. Future plans for the union include guest speakers, fundraisers, and plans to get menstrual products in the school bathrooms.

“We wanted to create the Feminist Student Union… [so] people who are affected by misogyny can come after school…and create a safe and moderated space,” said Sabbath. Meetings aren’t usually heavily structured, typically allowing members to play games, listen to feminist music, or discuss their experiences. More structured meetings contain organized educational plans such as the seminar with African-American Culture Club. The club focuses on the movement of feminism as a whole, rather than an individual part of a woman’s life. Discussions during meetings talk about the history of feminism, changes in the movement, the prevalence of misogyny in today’s society, as well as giving students a platform to talk about feministic topics they are passionate and educated about.

“Our advisor is Mrs. Cunningham, who has been supporting us from day one,” said Warren. The advisor of Feminist Student Union is Mrs. Cunningham, an English teacher at East. Mrs. Cunningham gives the union a space to talk freely, supporting the union every step of the way. The club also needed a board to work with Mrs. Cunningham and the members in order to structure the club. Unlike most clubs at East, the Feminist Student Union has no president or vice president, and aimed to create a board with no hierarchy. Additionally, not all the founders are on the board, in order to ensure diversity in grade level among other things. The board is structured so that members of the union with a specific passion or knowledge of a subject pertaining to feminism have a leadership role in the union. For instance, students with a passion for BIPOC feminism, body image issues, feminist history, or LGBTQ+ feminism were eligible for roles in the board. The diverse board of thirteen people and six class representatives keeps the club open to new perspectives.

“I feel because I am a man, it may be more difficult…to help contribute to the conversation,” said Trevor Preece (‘24), a member of Feminist Student Union. Although, Preece aims to educate himself on the state of feminism at East in order to avoid being misogynistic by joining the union and attending meetings.

“I feel the state of feminism at East is very fragile,” said Sabbath, going further to say that feminism has been “demonized” in the media. While there are positives, such as the Women in Sports club and Women in STEM, there is still a long way to go for feminism in East. Another topic of conversation is the administration at East, which is dominated entirely by men. While this isn’t necessarily an issue, it serves as a microcosm of the state of feminism in general. As for the student body of East, the number of people speaking out in favor of feminism is small, and the voices of misogynists loud, but the Feminist Student Union’s goal is to create a safe space for people to form educated opinions and grow the number of students speaking out against misogyny.

If you like the mission of the Feminist Student Union or would like more information about the union here is how to get in touch:
Instagram- @chefeministstudentunion
Remind- text @eastfem to 81010
Classroom- bvezcu2
Or visit flow.page/chefeministstudentunion