Talk Like a Girl Adds to Feminist Discourse

Excitement buzzed in the air as students across the 5Cs dressed their best for Thursday night's Athenaeum talk.

Megan Falley and Olivia Gatewood, the creators of “Speak Like a Girl,” an interactive poetry performance, took topics surrounding gender inequality and presented them in a way that reflected the dual nature of feminism. They argued that these are not only genuine issues affecting all people today, but also that gendered microaggressions and macroaggressions play a role in their lives. This innovative duo showed the variety and the extent of the inequalities a person can face in an eloquent, blunt manner.

“I knew the talk was going to be about feminism, gender inequalities and issues related to those, but I didn’t know what to expect in terms of what the show would be like,” said Janelle Shiozaki CM '16.

The event began with a slam poem about how the world markets would collapse if all women stopped wearing makeup. The poem was hilarious in its crudeness, but also insightful in its exploration of the human psyche and the way we label, stereotype and interact with others. From the video game industry to the United States military, Gatewood and Falley exposed the multitude of avenues in which feminism and queer inequality manifest themselves in our society, laying bare the ugliness of humanity and telling the audience that they had the power to counteract it.

Speaking both as a duo and individually, Falley and Gatewood vocalized the multitude of issues that both men and women face, highlighting how these issues arose due to a collective negligence to say no. But we can take back what we created by raising awareness and letting our “no’s” be heard. 

This talk aimed to celebrate how all people are unique and thus should be celebrated for their differences. Both speakers offered their vastly different experiences that were somehow similar in their dedication to helping others understand femininism.

“I don’t think you can underestimate the power of that type of honesty, humor and passion that Gatewood and Falley showed onstage,” Shiozaki said. “Their performance was empowering and made me seriously reconsider rape culture on the Claremont Colleges campuses and how gender plays a role in our everyday interactions.” 

It was a powerful performance that many audience members will remember, laden with passion and zeal: two women on a stage, being honest about their experiences, urging students to tear down walls and build bridges, providing an experience underscored with respect.

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