Gender and Sexuality Column

The top 5 feminist moments of 2016, as told from Syracuse University’s campus

Syracuse University was not an exception to national and local feminist trends and moments in 2016. As 2017 approaches, here’s a look back at how SU responded to feminist national demonstrations, protests and the outcome of the presidential election.

Here are the top five feminist moments that affected the Syracuse community this year:

 

5. #NoRedTape demonstration at SU

In October, Syracuse University students protested sexual assault and rape culture on college campuses by carrying mattresses adorned with red-tape messages on the Quad. The anti-rape messages written on red tape across each protester’s mattress included “Survivor,” “rapists go here” and “Carry that weight.”

The #NoRedTape demonstration began as a campaign on Facebook to show support for sexual assault survivors at SU. The protest — and the message “Carry that weight,” specifically — were inspired by a Columbia University student’s protest against her rapist.

The protest aimed to demonstrate “the pain and outrage of living in a university community that does not support sexual assault survivors,” according to a statement released by the event’s organizers. The protest followed the news that the Department of Education was undergoing a Title IX investigation into how SU handled a report of sexual assault.

 

4. Menstrual hygiene products made available for free in several SU bathrooms

SU’s Student Association budgeted in October to provide free menstrual hygiene products in the bathrooms of several hubs on the university’s campus.

SA Comptroller Malik Evans announced the organization set aside $1,000 to purchase and distribute maxi-pads and tampons to restrooms in Schine Student Center, Huntington Beard Crouse Hall, Hall of Languages, E.S. Bird Library and the Life Sciences Complex.

 

3. Central New York teacher delivers inspiring yet controversial post-election speech to students

Liverpool High School teacher Miriam Readling defended a post-election speech she adapted from The Huffington Post and read aloud in her classes after some students and parents took offense to its anti-Donald Trump rhetoric, according to Syracuse.com. Sensing her students’ unrest the day after the election, Readling delivered the speech, which stated that bigotry would not be tolerated in schools, students of all groups would be protected and efforts to deport any students would be fought.

“I wanted to express regardless of the outcome of the election that this was a safe space for all students,” Readling told Syracuse.com.

 

2. Black Lives Matter rally held for Syracuse woman who accused a police officer of rape

A Black Lives Matter movement was held in Syracuse after Maleatra Montanez accused a former Syracuse Police Department officer of rape and sued for $7 million in Syracuse Federal Court, according to Syracuse.com. Montanez said ex-police officer Chester Thompson raped her while he was on duty.

Nearly 40 people showed up to the protest outside James M. Hanley federal building in November, according to Syracuse.com. Signs were held reading “Say Her Name” and “Who Do You Call When The Police Rape?”

 

1. Hillary Clinton becomes first woman to be a major party presidential candidate

Hillary Clinton made waves this year as the first woman presidential candidate of a major party. Clinton, who embodies equality and justice for all, faced a shocking loss to president-elect Trump.

But her story as a woman — who dedicated her career to the American people, aspired to be president and unfortunately lost to an undiplomatic, affluent man with a celebrity name — echoes in many women’s ears.

In her concession speech, Clinton spoke directly to young women: “To all the little girls watching, never doubt that you are valuable and powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world.”

Clinton’s candidacy generated new conversation around feminist theory and women’s issues, but her loss is a reminder that women are still viewed as inferior.

 

Myelle Lansat is a junior magazine journalism major and policy studies minor. Her column appears weekly. She can be reached at malansat@syr.edu.

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