Feminist book club welcomes all students

Last spring, a wolf pack emerged on campus, and now it is looking for new members.

Named after author Virginia Woolf, the feminist book club aims to gain more members this semester.

The group held an interest meeting Sept. 14 and plans to hold another in October.

So far, there are about 10 members, said President and sophomore Maggie Hiser.

The club originated as a project Hiser had to do for the Women’s Center as an intern, she said.

“So, the point of (the book club) was just to (read and discuss) anything that we felt portrayed a strong female character or dealt with feminism or issues that affected women in general,” Hiser said.

Both men and women are able to join, she said.

There is a negative conception that surrounds feminism, but it does not deserve it, Hiser said.

“I don’t think (feminism) is just for women either,” she said. “It’s just about being equal, and unless you’re like, ‘Yeah, I definitely don’t think women should have the right to vote,’ then you should kind of be a feminist because that’s just how it works.”

The group is not about hating men or radical demonstrations like women did in the 1970s, Hiser said.

“We have done none of the bra burning as of now,” she said.

The first book the group plans to read is “You Don’t Have to Like Me: Essays on Growing Up, Speaking Out and Finding Feminism” by Alida Nugent, Hiser said.

“It’s really funny,” Hiser said. “(The narrator is) young, and she’s very relatable. I thought that would be a really good way to start off.”

Hiser said she hopes the group enjoys the book.

“I wanted somewhere where I could combine my women’s studies minor (with her love of books), and then I’m a huge reader so I was like, ‘Let’s just put all of this together,’” Hiser said.

Coordinator of Women’s Studies Emily Kelley said she hopes the club will connect students on campus with others who have similar interests.

“I hope being a member of this group will broaden their viewpoints, making them more accepting of other beliefs and philosophies and the rights of people to hold them,” Kelley said.

Junior Tamira Jones said she thinks the club is a cool idea, especially when it comes to discussing a book written by a woman because “in literature classes, most of the stories are written by men.”

Depending on the literature class, students might see a difference, said assistant English professor Matthew Duques.

“While I can’t speak for the entire department, in my classes I usually have a mix of genders when it comes to authors,” he said. “Currently, a majority of the books I’m covering in a graduate course was written by women. However, I think it’s great that there is a group like this on campus to show this diversity.”

Hiser said she hopes the club will spread a message of equality on campus.

“We don’t all have to be the same, but just because you’re not the same as me, doesn’t mean that we can’t be friends,” she said.