Feminist Friday to bring improv to the stage


Feminist Friday speaker Jazzmine Brooks, the equity and inclusion coordinator for the Office of Equal Opportunity, led a discussion Feb. 14 over “Rural Black Doula Chronicles: Addressing Disassociation of the Body and Mind.”

Loretta Mcgraw

Editor’s Note: In the original publication of this article, Chuck Wongus was wrongly misgendered as he/him when they use they/them pronouns. The Iowa State Daily regrets this error.

This week’s Feminist Friday will feature speaker Chuck Wongus, a graduate student assistant and the leadership education and development adviser for the Office of Sorority and Fraternity Engagement.

Feminist Fridays take place nearly every Friday throughout the semester from 1 to 2 p.m. at the Margaret Sloss Center for Women and Gender Equity. Wongus will be leading this week’s discussion, which will be over applying the rules of improv to progress the feminist movement.

According to Improv Encyclopedia the top 10 rules of improv are as follows: 1) Say Yes-and! 2) After the “and” add new information. 3) Don’t Block. 4) Avoid Questions. 5) Focus on the Here and Now. 6) Establish the Location! 7) Be Specific- Provide Details! 8) Change, Change, Change! 9) For serious and emotional scenes, focus on characters and relationships. and lastly 10) For humor, commit and take choices to the -nth degree or focus on actions/objects.

Wongus said they began doing improv comedy four years ago and witnessed a similar discussion using improv on how to run meetings and discovered such an approach could be applicable to their discussion for Feminist Friday and other topics.

Before graduate school, Wongus was a community organizer and used a lot of the techniques of improv in movement building and garnering support for issues and mobilizing voters and volunteers. Due to this, they decided it would be an appropriate fit to apply how people can use the rules of improv to engage people and further progress the feminist movement.

“If I say ‘man this campus is pretty hostile to trans and non-binary people’ the conversation shouldn’t be ‘no it’s not,’” Wongus said. “What about ‘Yeah it is and we should do something about it.’ That’s how we can start putting that idea into peoples heads, how can we start mobilizing things rather than just ‘yeah it is pretty hostile’ that gets nothing done, you want to add something to it.”

This Feminist Friday will get a little more hands-on than the prior events as Wongus will be having attendees try out a little bit of improv themselves. 

“Times are kind of crappy now like let’s be honest, there’s ramped racism on campus, sexual assault crimes are on the rise here at Iowa State and it’s like maybe we should do something about it and something needs to be done like now, we can’t keep waiting for it,” Wongus said.

Next week’s Feminist Friday will feature Amanda Arp who will address the topic of “Embracing Fat as a Feminist and Rhetorical Issue.”