On Wednesday, Nov. 8, students and professors piled into the Harding Lounge in Welles to hear English professor Maria Lima's mini-lecture entitled "How I Became a Feminist." The talk was the first mini-lecture that the English honor society Sigma Tau Delta (STD) put together, and it was a thoroughly interesting occasion.
During her talk, Lima explained briefly why she became a feminist. She said that what she wanted to do in the seminar was to find out what the audience thought and questioned about feminism. "I really enjoyed the way she turned most of the seminar into a question and answer session between herself and the audience," said sophomore Matt See.
Lima did not avoid bold questions or statements, and instead responded in a very real, honest way. Nothing was out of line or inappropriate, either. Conversation topics varied from feminist views on pornography to motherhood and women in the work force. Lima was confronted by some of her critics, but she was also applauded by many of her advocates. One of her supporters, Heidi Wallace, expressed her appreciation for the mini-lecture when she said that "too often I feel the negative reactions of people when I tell them I am a feminist, so when I heard Lima speaking unabashedly about the oppression of patriarchy, it was very encouraging."
Lima was more than happy to hear audience members call themselves feminists, but was not too disappointed when some of the members of the crowd didn't buy into what she was selling. It seemed a few of her opinions were misunderstood by some, and Lima spent a significant portion of the time re-wording her opinions in different ways.
Lima had specific topics in mind for the mini-lecture. She wanted her students to be able to "challenge conventional gender, race, class, sexuality, socialization and to develop into full human beings in both private and public spheres." Lima wanted to explain feminism in a way that would help students learn and grow. Sophomore Ema Zoller reported, "I was able to gain a better understanding of feminism in practiced form."
Senior Ann Nicodemi, STD treasurer, said that Lima "definitely challenged some opinions that I held regarding feminism." Kahlee Sheehan replied, "I guess I never really thought about men being able to carry the title of feminist. Maria changed my previous notion about what a feminist was exactly."
With a turnout of almost 60 people, Lima's lecture was a success. She also invoked curiosity in some of her students. "I am interested in continuing to consider many of the issues that were raised during the lecture," said Nicodemi.