Ladies Are of Worth, or LAW, was founded in 2013 by senior Alanna Bledman in order to create a safe space for girls and boys alike to discuss aspects of the patriarchy that affect both genders, in addition to important current events.
Meetings are held during lunch every last Friday of the month. Discussions in LAW aren’t just limited to feminism. Other discussion topics include gun laws, abortion, and the current presidential candidates’ ideas.
“We start off each meeting with a quote of the week, and discuss the relevance of that quote to current politics,” said sophomore Rashmika Veturi.
LAW is among one of Veturi’s favorite clubs because of its unique set up.
“The board members don’t just talk at you, they talk to you,” she emphasized. “It’s a comfortable space where we can truly express our thoughts.”
Often times people shy away from aligning with feminism, which has a negative connotation, whether as a result of misunderstanding, or discomfort with the polarizing nature of the topic itself. To the skeptics, feminism brings to mind whining, unreasonably, erratically-tempered, bra-burning protestors. A common misconception is that feminism is concerned solely with the rights of women.
Feminism, in short, fights the patriarchy. While it is not explicitly stated, the United States is a patriarchy, “a social system in which power is held by men, through cultural norms and customs that favor men and withhold opportunity from women.”
What is less apparent is that while men are favored in this system, the masculinity that is expected of men manifests itself in various insidious situations.
For example, men are denied the right to vulnerability. They are expected to be stoic, although suicide is the single biggest killer of men aged 20-45 in the U.K. Fathers often lose child custody cases because of the assumption that women are inherently better mothers. The belief that men cannot be sexually assaulted results in the failure to provide adequate care and treatment for male survivors of sexual assault.
“Feminism is for everyone. People often think it’s only for girls, but feminism fights for everyone,” explained senior Aseel Ali.
“To me, feminism means equality. If you want equality for both genders, then you’re a feminist,” said senior Victoria Ghulam.
As for the future of the club, Bledman has high expectations for Ladies Are of Worth.
“I just hope that the club grows to be as big as Key Club or Interact,” she said, referencing two significant clubs at West. “I hope that people will want to be a part of this club as much as any other big club on campus.”
The inclusive and diverse monthly conversations fostered by LAW show how feminism does not exist in a vacuum, and is relevant to all.