First “F Word” conference takes flight

First F Word conference takes flight

Jenna Liu

Yesterday afternoon, RBHS hosted the first annual “F Word” conference, an event that sought to teach about and celebrate the feminist movement. Organized by United Feminists Association president, sophomore Kat Sarafianos, the conference drew around 50 attendees, a greater number than Sarafianos was expecting.
“We started registration a week before spring break and this is only the week after spring break, so getting the word out was not my best part,” Sarafianos said. “But it’s a lot more people than I thought, there’s around 50 people here without us even putting up posters.”
Kathryn Fishman-Weaver, the gifted teacher at RBHS, aided Sarafianos in organizing yesterday’s event. She said the sophomore came to her a few months ago asking for some guidance, which eventually led to Fishman-Weaver, who minored in Women and Gender Studies at the University of Missouri, gaining a deeper role with the conference.
“We started talking logistics, and then it turned out she needed another speaker, so she asked if I would be willing to introduce the evening and definitions of feminism,” Weaver said. “I said yes, of course.”
Standing in front of a crowd composed of both young women and young men, Fishman-Weaver spoke of her own experiences with sexism, both in and out of the workplace.
“I built my remarks around ‘the personal is political’, which is a statement that was popularized during the second-wave feminist movement,” Weaver said. “I did that to share some of my personal experiences with gender discrimination, as well as several ways I learned about feminism and feminist scholarship.”
The conference was also attended by two other guest speakers, Joan Hermsen and Kelsey Mescher, both hailing from the Women and Gender Studies department at the University of Missouri. They, along with Fishman-Weaver, touched on a variety of concerns of the feminist movement, such as soft sexism, legal discrimination and the importance of diversity.
In listening to the various discussions the attendees had, Sarafianos herself said she gained a deeper insight into the perspectives of others regarding feminism. As such, Sarafianos said she is excited for both next year’s “F Word” conference and the future of feminism at RBHS.
“What I’m most excited about is the fact that so many kids in this conference are actually passionate about having equality in the world,” Sarafianos said. “It was the realization that other people have these thoughts too, and it was people I wouldn’t have expected.”
By Jenna Liu
Photo by Jenna Liu