Three students have started a feminist Chapel to educate students about gender equality.
The Chapel is called Bad Feminist and is directed by students. Dr. Kristina Davis, assistant professor of communication and Honors Studies serves as the group’s sponsor.
Sarah Dannemiller, a graduate student of theology from Indianapolis, Indiana, is one of the student leaders who initiated the Chapel. She said the purpose is to inform students who are curious about the movement of feminism.
“They haven’t been exposed to it,” Dannemiller said. “So our goal is to teach them.”
Dannemiller said she met Mackenzie Harrington, a senior psychology major from Arlington, through a group called ACU Fems. ACU Fems is a larger community of feminists including students, faculty and staff that meets monthly and has a closed Facebook group for discussions. Harrington and Dannemiller both had a desire to spread their passion for feminism.
Rachael Shudde, a sophomore math and political science major from Abilene, joined the team as a networker and administrator. The team met in early September to plan.
“We are approaching this educationally,” Dannemiller said. “It’s women’s studies 101.”
Dannemiller said the leadership team channeled their passion for feminism into a mission statement and plans for the content of each chapel. They plan to discuss the history and definition of feminism to help educate interested students.
“I don’t expect every person to be super passionate about feminism,” Dannemiller said. “But we do want people to have tools for gender equality and justice that they can use in their communities.”
Dannemiller said the name Bad Feminist came from a feminist author named Roxane Gay. She said Gay’s argument is that people can be feminists without having to be perfect or meet “hairy, man-hating” expectations.
“We just need to be aware of what perpetuates the system,” said Dannemiller. “We need to make well-informed conscious decisions.”
Harrington said the first Chapel was on Sep. 17, and the number of attendees pleasantly surprised the leaders. They had expected Shudde to invite “about ten” friends, but over 20 people showed up to the first meeting. Harrington said they had to think quickly and change their lesson plan to accommodate the larger number.
Both Harrington and Dannemiller said it was a good balance of students who were knowledgeable about feminism as well as those who came to listen and learn. They said they do not want seasoned feminists to do all the talking but want to encourage learners to think critically.
Bad Feminist Chapel meets on the first and third Thursdays of each month in Hardin Administration Building Room 103.