Career services, professor hold womens rights discussion

By Erica England |

To close out Women’s History Month, Flagler College Career Services, along with Assistant Professor Dr. Casey Welch, and Academic Affairs presented a two hour long screening and discussion on film clips that focused on the struggles women face as they fight for equal rights.

The Portrayals of Women in Film screening and discussion was even more prevalent due to the fact that March marked the 90th anniversary of the signing of the 19th Amendment, which gave women in the United States the right to vote.

“We wanted to do something to remember what has been done in our country for women’s rights,” said Dr. Jenny Preffer, Director of Career Services at Flagler College. “I wasn’t able to experience any of these events directly; they became real to me when I watched these films.”

The two films which were the catalyst for the discussion on the issues plaguing women were the 2004 film Iron Jawed Angels and the 2005 film North Country. A short YouTube clip of the Lilly Ledbetter versus Goodyear hearings was also shown. The films, which are based on actual events in history, were used to illustrate and contrast where women have been in relation to discrimination and where they are currently with the struggle.

“Women today are facing a constellation of issues,” said Welch. “Single mothers worry over childcare, women in the work force deal with glass ceilings, women in politics deal with ideology. It’s different for each and every woman.”

Due to generational changes amongst women, it is noticeable that currently the feminist movement in the United States has taken a more social turn rather than political or legal. With the growing popularity of social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and Myspace a major obstacle for women is online bullying. It has become an epidemic.

Take, for example the recent death of 15-year-old Massachusetts girl Phoebe Prince. Prince was a student, daughter, sister and friend; she was brutally tormented by her fellow classmates at school and online leading up to her suicide. Whether or not the harassment was directly related to the tragic death no one truly knows, but it had to have played a role.

“We’re facing a whole new beast with social media,” said Jamie Alvarez, 2009 Flagler College graduate.

“It’s a new manifestation of the multi-headed monster that is discrimination toward women,” said Dr. Kristine Warrenburg, Assistant Professor of Communication at Flagler College. “The roots run deep.”

That same comfort of anonymity social media gives to online bullies can instead be used to jumpstart a social movement to empower women.

“Be careful how you define a social movement,” said Warrenburg. “Although bodies are important, you can be faceless and still make a difference.”

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