Hello and welcome to the site. My name is Caitlyn Kennedy and I am the founder of SUU FEMS. I am a transfer student from University of California, Merced. In Merced, I had a chance to be an incoming freshman to a brand new campus. The faculty and staff called us "the pioneers" and that we were. I joined a small group of women my first year in school (now known as UCM UWMN - University Women of Merced Network) and that was the start of my career in true feminist activism. I had in junior high been in several girls groups but not one like this.
UWMN started the school off with a bang and performed Eve Ensler's "The Vagina Monologues" at the school. I was shocked when I first read the play. Simply shocked, but I stepped up to the plate and landed an amazing (and not so out there role.) The more I rehearsed, the more and more I realized that the character was speaking my secret story and the same for all the other actress. We began to ground and speak to each other about things we were always told not to. Things we had been taught to tough out, hide away, and forget. Some of the women's stories were beautiful and spoke about love and being love and happiness; some were silly and were about the figure out what their bodies were doing to them as they grew up from a girl to a woman. And yes some were sad, lonely stories about being forced, belittled and under minded. I realized then that there were other women out there with the same stories I had to share. That as women, we were all thinking the same things to ourselves but we were too afraid to say it to each other, until now.
By the next year, I was elected Co-President of the Women's Group and I was ready to bring all that I had to the table. Oct 15th, 2006 was National Love Your Body Day and the group put on a Fashion Show to showcase a large range of women of different ages and body types and to make the statement that all women are beautiful. At this event we also had a clothing drive for the local women's prison. Most of the women that get out of jail, don't have decent clothing to even go to a job interview, we made this possible for a lot of women.
Second semester, the group was busy as bees. The Vagina Monologues were done again in Mid Feb. to have a running theme with Valentine's Day. This time the group opened up the Monologues to allow student writers to submit their own works and stories about the subject. I was able to perform my own story, which change my life forever. It was a freeing and frightening experience. Then in late April, the group had a whole Women's Week planned and the activities had variety that is for sure. From a self-defense night, a movie night about advertisement and a women's self-image, to an aerobic striptease night, and ending with a community outreach with the local women's homeless shelter.
It was a good year and I gained many experiences and insight from it. Thus, I am bringing all this to SUU. Besides these activities I have even more ideas and plans that will unfold this coming year. I hope that this has sparked your interest and passion for feminist ideals and women's issues and that you to will make an effort to educate yourself and motivate others. Thanks for your time and have an amazing day.