On a recent Monday, students, faculty and staff gathered in Franklin & Marshall College's Steinman College Center to participate in the making of a photography exhibit, "Faces of Feminism."
Organized by the center's director, Mikaela Luttrell-Rowland, and local artist Erica Miller, the photo series is part of a larger, global artistic movement, the "Inside Out Project." Created by a French photographer, "Inside Out" aims to use the public display of portraits, causes and identities to help individuals achieve more personal connections with each other.
The "Faces of Feminism" exhibit opens Tuesday (March 10) in the Alice Drum Women's Center in Steinman College Center. The event is part of the larger celebration of International Women's Week at F&M. Among the events is a keynote address by Dyan Mazurana and Carol Cohn titled Gender, Security, and Mobilization" (Monday, March 9) and a Girls' International Right to Learn (GIRL) Fundraising Dinner (Wednesday, March 11). The proceeds of the dinner benefit the Lux et Lex Cambodia School.
For "Faces of Feminism," Lancaster photographer Michelle Johnsen took portraits of F&M community members who self-identify as feminists. Some arrived ready to discuss their particular brand of feminism with the photographer, while others arrived quietly and left with a wave or a smile.
The Women Center's project of connecting faces to the concept that has caused discord and misunderstanding in today's society gave the word "feminism" a personal power that made it much more difficult to simply dismiss without critical consideration, Luttrell-Rowland said.
"Since I’ve come to F&M, one of my goals for the Women's Center has been for students to connect with the Lancaster community," Luttrell-Rowland said. "We have hosted a series of local female artists, and the face of feminism project fits into a larger theme at the center of using art as a vehicle to foster connection and spark discussion.”
Like "Inside Out" -- which inspired groups worldwide to photograph various themes, from hope and diversity to violence awareness and climate change -- "Faces of Feminism" focuses on human element of ideas, to illuminate connections among all people.
Students at the Women’s Center chose self-identified feminists to demonstrate the inclusiveness of the word "feminist" as well as combat misconceptions about the term. The F&M community members that took part were a diverse group, and all agreed that they wished more people had an understanding of feminism.
"I'm proud and excited to be here, I only wish I could get my entire team to come with me," one student said. Another expressed how frustrated he was with the controversy of the term – "It's equal rights, people!"