“Speak Like a Girl” Comes to BC

About 50 students, mostly female,  erupted in laughter, snaps  and  applause  after hearing the statement, “Just because you hold the door, doesn’t mean I’ll hold your dick!” in the penthouse of the Student Center around noon on Tuesday. The comment was made by Megan Falley who stood next to her equally raunchy and unapologetic partner Olivia Gatwood as they educated and entertained Brooklyn College students during an interactive poetry show entitled, “Speak Like A Girl.”

The two hour long show also highlighted student voices and featured the women of the official Brooklyn College slam team.

“I’ve  been  getting  cat­called since I was  ten,” said Jenna Carter­Johnson,  a BC slam  team member, during one of her poems.

Following the slam team’s performance the duo of spoken word artists, Falley and Gatwood engaged students while sharing their stories in  an  attempt to  “trick  people into learning  about feminism.”  The  team  of  two  are  both  national  poetry  slam  winners,  published  authors  and currently  tour the  nation spreading  awareness  about women’s issues  and the representation  of women in the media and in society. During the show, they asked students to raise their hands if they  ever felt  violated  or  unsafe when  being  cat­called  in  the street,  or  if  they  had  ever  been followed home by an unwanted suitor. Only one or two hands weren’t raised enforcing the need to address the “high levels of sexual assault on college campuses.”

The issues were heavy as “Speak Like A Girl” included various poems on topics such as rape, sexuality, relationships,  body shaming,  the  female  orgasm  and  more, but students  were  kept laughing and cheering  as the two poets spoke on the very themes used to oppress women and turned them into literary weapons for inspiration and empowerment. One of the poems was from the  perspective  of Princess Peach,  a main  character from the  classic  video  game Super Mario

Brothers.  Although  comical  and  dramatic,  the  poem  touched  on  some  very  real  issues  that women face when being recognized  as only useful or relevant in the storyline of a man. They also read comments from their YouTube page aloud to emphasize how this society affects not only women but how men treat and respond to women who stand up for themselves and say no to unwanted sexual advances. Students responded to the outlandish comments by gasping loudly and applauding the two women for sharing their stories with the world.

“The  more  we start  to  portray  feminism  as  a  positive,  empowering  and  ultimately  happy existence, the more people will start to identify as feminists,” said Gatwood, after the show.

She  believes  education  about  feminism  is  important  for  “college  students  in  particular, considering these are the faces of the next job market. These are the people who are going to be working in corporations in art and media and right now, the media is largely controlled by white men,” added Gatwood.

Falley and Gatwood who identify as two “cisgendered, able­bodied white women”were more than  willing  to  admit  that  “feminism  has  been  whitewashed”  and  acknowledge  the  different struggles  of women of  color  and women who  are transgendered. This gave them  all the more reason to encourage women everywhere to speak out about the many issues that all women face.

The event was put together by the Women’s History Month Committee and sponsored by the Women’s Center which will be celebrating their 40 year anniversary in an upcoming gala being planned for the end of the month. In addition to the 40 year anniversary, the Women’s Center will  also be hosting  a yoga  event focused on women’s health next Thursday in the Glenwood Lounge of the student center.

In their  closing statements, Gatwood  and Falley offered resources to women in the form of educational  pamphlets  with  links  to  the  National  Hotline  for  Sexual  Assault  and  a  list  of recommended poets.

Their very last poem was dedicated to selfies (pictures you take of yourself usually for social media) and self love. “Today pride is no longer a sin,” Falley and Gatwood chanted together in an attempt to lend their voices to empower women all over the world.

For more information on the “Speak Like A Girl” tour visit www.speaklikeagirl.com

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