“I haven’t heard of any negative feedback”

Women’s Officer defends turning down thousands of free goody bags

bags exclusive feminism goody officer womens

Feminism is the hot topic at the union this year.

From Robin Thicke to gendered goody bags, everyone’s talking about their genitals. We got in touch with Sheffield’s Women’s Officer, Kat Chapman, to get her defence.

We tried awfully hard to chat to Miss Chapman in person, but she felt there wasn’t ‘any need for an interview’ on the union’s policies.

Women’s Officer Katherine Chapman

So Kat, the Union took a bold decision to not re-order the free goody bags for the Freshers’ Fair. Why is it in students’ interests not to have goody bags?

Goody bags were not ordered last year because they only provided gendered bags which can be inappropriate for trans students as well as only including white woman’s make up.

No change to the goody bag was made so they were not ordered again. Providing students, who come from diverse backgrounds and ethnicities, with only white makeup is extremely inappropriate because it would insinuate that not being white is abnormal.

Were you concerned about getting negative feedback from students who liked the goody bags for more than just the foundation?

I have not heard of any negative feedback from the fair.

Well I think we’ve heard something

The impenetrable fortress… we weren’t so welcome

A lot of feminist debates and campaigns use the phrase “self-defining” for women. What does self-defining mean to you?

Self-defining as a woman is an inclusive term. The NUS allows anyone ‘who self-define as women, including (if they wish) those with complex gender identities which include ‘woman’, and those who experience oppression as women’ into their women’s campaign.

Well that certainly clears things up.

But by taking away his and hers products students are missing an opportunity to define themselves. Doesn’t taking away the freedom to choose make everyone a bit more uncomfortable?

You may never have struggled with your gender identity, however many students have and requiring them to decide which goody bag is more appropriate for them can put students in very difficult situations. For the same reason, we provide gender-neutral toilets in the SU.

I do not believe that I am depriving any students of defining their gender identity. There are a huge number of ways students can enact their gender every day from the clothes they wear to the toilet they use.

Well not if they’re gender neutral…

Finally, do you think the SU does enough to tackle inequality?

The Students’ Union has inclusivity, equality and diversity in the forefront of its mind in almost everything that is done. We work extremely hard to deal with equality issues as and when they arise.

There are of course still issues, however I believe that the SU do the best that they can with the resources they have available.