What’s in a Name?

“The challenge of social justice is to evoke a sense of community that we need to make our nation a better place, just as we make it a safer place.”

Marian Wright Edelman, Civil Rights Activist.

St. Cloud State University is part of an elite minority of colleges and universities that have an on-campus Women’s Center to address the unique needs of women and gender issues on campus. The university similarly recognizes the need for including gender identity in conversation and practice by offering Women’s Studies as a major area of study. However, these departments don’t exist just because they should: they exist because of student voices, activism, and hard, collaborative work to found and sustain them.

It’s often said that Women’s Centers are the practice of theory and academic work of Women’s Studies. We are natural partners, and our departments have a long history of collaborative work. Today, after so much dreaming, brainstorming, networking, editing, writing, considering, re-writing, contemplating, and challenging ourselves, we bring to you our newest collaboration. It, too, is a result of student voices, activism, and hard, collaborative work.

Take, for example, choosing the name of our blog.

Throughout the summer of 2015, our blog team of students, faculty and staff navigated the difficulty of finding a name that was inspired, inclusive, inviting, and representative of our goal to create space for feminist dialogue.

“St. Cloud State University Women’s Center and Women’s Studies Blog.” Well doesn’t that make you jump out of your seat full of inspiration and awe! No. And what a mouthful.

“St. Cloud Feminist Collective.” Closer…but feminist can be a divisive term (sometimes for crucial reasons related to access, opportunity and privilege, sometimes out of ignorance), and not everyone identifies that way. What if our readers or contributors are from outside St. Cloud? This is too exclusive.

“The Feminism Prism.” We loved this one. Until we said it out loud. “Feminism Prison?” Shoot.

And then came Collective Feminism, indicative of a diverse group working together to discuss the multi-faceted and complex issues related to feminism, social justice, race, class, gender identity, ability, age, national origin, sexuality, media representation, gender violence, body image, access, and so much more.

I’m so glad to welcome you to our blog.

This is a space for thoughtful analysis, networking, publishing student-generated content and original creative work, for learning, and creating space for dialogue that doesn’t always manifest in the classroom or in our personal lives.

This is a place for you to apply your feminist lens to analyze your experiences, movies you see, articles you read, and classroom conversations.

This is space for you to share your writing, your process of learning, your perspective, yourself and your stories.

This is a space for you to challenge yourself, to do the hard work that comes with self-analysis and learning, support your peers, and engage with your community.

This is Collective Feminism. We’re so glad you’re here. Share your stories by submitting content. Share your thoughts by leaving comments. Have a seat and stick around for a while.

Kate is a graduate assistant at the Women’s Center and a master’s candidate in Social Responsibility. She spends most of her time working on her thesis about the Tiny House movement. Her favorite ways to procrastinate are reading her favorite novels for the hundredth time, snuggling her cats, and creating original art pieces for her Etsy shop.

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