Students learn the challenges and choices in feminism


Cesar Villa

Suzanna Casillas talking about challenging societal norms.

Cesar Villa

A presentation was held by Suzanna Casillas on femininity and feminism and how women’s choices are being challenged by both sexes.

This presentation was held last April 26 at the Business Education Building and was accessible to those that saw the event on the schools website or if they were in the community organizing and activism class.

“Women’s choices are now being challenged and stigmatized on both sides, on the side that’s meant to stigmatize them which is the patriarchal side, and also on the feminist side which is meant to empower us,” said Casillas.

She touched on many subjects like: kids wearing makeup, how society is damaging women’s perception on what a woman should look like, internalized misogyny, devaluation of femininity and women empowerment.

Casillas expressed that femininity is nothing to be ashamed about, that it doesn’t mean an individual is oppressing herself or adhering to the male gaze “It doesn’t mean any of that, you can enjoy femininity without that connotation,” she said.

“Our society gives feminism a bad connotation […] for two reasons one out of ignorance and two out of internalized misogyny.

“They feel that feminism includes hating men, devaluing men or worrying about being bad feminists and it’s never been seen by the public eye as positive and it doesn’t have to.

“I have a huge problem with watering down my feminist ideals so that they’re more palpable,” Casillas said

Zion Flores, public relations major, said she found out about the guest speaker through her professor, Dr. Mariam Youssef.

Flores believes it was a “wonderful” presentation because of the conflicting topics Casillas discussed about, “The rise of the beauty industry and the internet, females are objectified but also objectifying themselves.

“Even though we may have Instagram and want to put out our best selves, we’re kind of restricting ourselves to be perfect, and there is no such thing as perfect,” Flores said.

One thing she learned was the history of heels and how they were originally created for men to assert authority and now they’re for women’s daily use and have no value besides fashion.

Flores related to the presentation in the sense of limiting yourself in keeping up an image to the public on social media.

Flores admitted like most girls, she herself indulges in the world of makeup and even admired Casillas’ makeup style.

Although she believes makeup is a form of expression she also thinks that it contributes to her own oppression of having to wear it to appeal to society.

Teressa Martinez, undecided major, also heard about the guest speaker through Dr. Youssef.

Martinez enjoyed the presentation and had already thought about some of the topics beforehand especially when it came to expectations of women in society.

Like Flores, she also liked the little history on heels, and also recognizes the pressure social media puts on women.

She admitted that her younger sister who attends middle school, is already proficient in wearing makeup she said, “This generation of children are exposed and a lot of their innocence is being taken away as they’re more exposed to oversexualized from a young age.

“I think there should be education in self development before their exposed because their at a vulnerable age — they should learn about the real elements of the world before they’re exposed to the fakeness,” Martinez concluded.