Femiss is Ole Miss’ first feminist society

They held a cabaret night at The Shelter on Wednesday

Femiss is new to campus this spring semester and is the first feminist society to be established at Ole Miss.

Feminism – put simply – is the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social and economic equality to men. The event at The Shelter focussed on the social aspects of the equality women are working to establish.

The problem is that us girls are complicated, so when it comes to social matters we don’t just ask for exact equality with men.  We wish to understand ourselves and our differences from men in order to gain our own sense of individual empowerment.

Don’t get me wrong I love men, I just don’t want to be defined by them.

This last Wednesday in recognition of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, Femiss held a “Cabaret Night” at The Shelter raising money for the Violence Prevention Office. The event location fit perfectly with the relaxed mood of the evening. Many chose the lavender choice coffee whilst others like myself went round the front of the bar to order one of the beers on tap, before wandering to take a seat nearer the stage.

The narrow rectangular shape of The Shelter, complete with sporadic lighting, created a tunnel like vision towards the stage where poetry was being read aloud.

After introductions from the three leading Femiss members Elizabeth Fielder, Holden Hays, and Isadora Wagner, there were a selection of poems read out by Holly Baer, Sarah Sgro, and last but not least Maddy Baldwin, as well as a stand up skit by Ines Joris.

The theme was female sexuality, its limits, self knowledge, and how this should influence the sexual relationships we embark on.

Some poems were fairly graphic, whilst others focused on the emotional and vulnerable feelings that can become dominant in any close relationship.

It impressed and excited me that these women were being so bold on stage and expressing themselves so freely, especially in a state that has just passed the controversial Religious Freedoms bill.

The evening winded down as the band Catfish Pie took to the stage. As the music played the murmur of voices continued, discussing hot topics as well as just general chit chat. The informality of the event was perfect and reflected the importance of having feminism present in our everyday lives, rather than a taboo or controversial subject.

Feminism is just as much about an internal feeling of self worth, as it is about how women are treated within society. It is therefore essential that we feel safe and conformable to discuss matters of sexuality and  self uncertainty publicly in order for us to grow.

I think the event at The Shelter is the start of something exciting, and I hope that the Femiss society continues to expand and grow at Ole Miss.

Ole Miss: University of Mississippi