St. Edward’s University’s first ever feminist book club, Anonymous No More, made its debut in the Student Life lounge and is aimed to explore feminism in literature.
According to the Multicultural Leadership Board (MLB), members of this club analyze the historical significance of female authors and characters in literature and film in a safe space where every identity is honored.
Students were drawn to the first meeting on Sept. 21, for a number of reasons. Some felt a deep connection to feminism, while others wanted to read about topics outside of the classroom. These students were attracted to the club’s female-centered narrative.
Pioneered by English literature major Jackie Gonzalez, a junior and MLB’s women’s event coordinator, the club employs practices to help shape the organization into what members want.
“I want this club to be the space for diverse opinions,” Gonzalez said. “If [students] want to discuss what they disagree with the movement, I want that opinion as well.”
Gonzalez began the meeting by clarifying the point of the club and its ideals. She established the meeting area as a respectful, open space to discuss issues within the feminist movement.
She cited the authors J.K. Rowling and Virginia Woolf who are traditionally of as thought leaders that paved the way for such spaces to exist. Gonzalez concluded by defining feminism as the political, economic and social equality of the sexes.
The name and mission of the feminist book club stems from the words of Virginia Woolf who wrote, “[Who] would venture to guess that Anon, who wrote so many poems without signing them, was often a woman.” Woolf is referring to the silencing of female authors throughout the history of literature that led women to write under pseudonyms.
Below are works by female authors that will be explored this semester:
– How to Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran
– A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf
– The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan
– The Color Purple by Alice Walker
After speaking about the background of the club, Gonzalez opened up the floor for potential members to ask questions and express concerns.
Students raised the issue of the accessibility of books, in regards to textbook prices on campus.
The club recognized that many feminist works are classified as textbooks, thus creating challenges for potential members in acquiring reading material.
The responsibility for purchasing books falls on club members, although a monthly raffle was set up to remedy this.
Some alternative book suggestions were made to shoulder the weight of book prices and coincide with other feminist organizations on campus such as Half the Sky and Women Empowerment.
Students are encouraged to join the book club, whether or not they identify as feminist. Anonymous No More next meets Oct. 20.
“Student Life is a space to get in touch with what makes others uncomfortable,” said Gonzalez. “It’s important that the modern form of feminism is for everyone — not just women.”