F-Word Conference aims to increase dialogue on feminism

The sixth annual F-word conference took place on May 2 in an effort to increase UBC’s dialogue on feminism and activism.

The event featured presenters, workshops and keynote speakers, including UBC’s own Lau Mehes and Phanuel Antwi.

Fourth year GRSJ students and conference co-chairs Emma Kuntz and Zoe David-Delves scheduled various activities to examine issues relating not only to gender and sexuality but also to racism, colonialism and activism.

“Feminism, activism and community, and a way to bridge the gap between the academic work that we do in class and the community work and activism that happens through organizations to create a space of dialogue,” said Kuntz.

David-Delves also said that the conference could assist with “the sort of general undermining of feminist thought and discourse in the university…. I think UBC students are sometimes not encouraged to critically analyze the world around them.”

“[Attendees] can come together and discuss and share ideas,” Kuntz said, speaking to the purpose of the conference. “We can work together to think through these issues and to build a bridge between academia and activism.”

According to David-Delves, feminism takes a stance against the oppression of marginalized group but is necessarily about more than one group.

“What the conference does is raise awareness to the intersectional approach of feminism,” she said. “I think UBC sometimes does not take feminism seriously, and I think there are a lot of misconceptions around feminism.”

An intersectional approach to feminism means considering multiple points of oppression. In other words, intersectional theory examines how various social prejudices are interrelated.

“[The conference is] also a place to bring together these ideas and discuss what we’re going to do to create a better world that is fighting oppression…sexism, racism, and colonialism,” Kuntz said.

According to David-Delves, a common misconception about feminism is that it relates the complete liberation of all women. She argues that that the reality is that different women have different problems and must be addressed differently.

“As people who are fortunate enough to have post-secondary education, we should be engaging with ideas and critically thinking about how we want the future to look.” Kuntz said.