Feminist Friday director reflects on semester


Katlyn Campbell/Iowa State Daily

The Margaret Sloss Center for Women and Gender Equity.

Loretta Mcgraw

Feminist Friday this semester graced audiences with an array of topics ranging from “Jesus Was a Feminist,” “Uncle Sam Wants Who? Women and the Draft,” “Mentoring Women of Color in Graduate School” and “Queer Fashions and Styles.”

Speakers throughout this semester included: Kelly Reddy-Best, Tera Jordan, Shannon Coleman, Jahmai Fisher and Maddy Scott, Anna Carter, Danny Cook, Amy Rutenberg, Chloe Clark, Rachel Seale, Jen Hibben and Jeremy Withers.

Feminist Fridays take place regularly throughout each fall and spring semester from 1 to 2 p.m. Fridays at the Margaret Sloss Center for Women and Gender Equity and provide attendees with the opportunity to not only learn but actively get involved in the discussion. If that is not enough incentive, they also provide snacks.

Next semester’s schedule will run at the same time and place. The speaker schedule is set to release in early January a week prior to the spring semester’s start.

Sandra Looft is the program coordinator and director at the Sloss House and is responsible for directing events like Feminist Friday throughout the year with assistance from coordinators, associates and interns on staff. 

“I think we were able to engage a lot of different speakers across a broad spectrum of topics, which is always our goal, and we didn’t often see the same audience with anyone, which I think speaks to the point that different topics bring in different audiences,” Looft said. “So ideally we’re offering a lot of chances for people on campus to come in, to hear something they’re interested about, and learn something new.”

While this semester brought a lot of different topics to the table, the most notable in Looft’s opinion was the discussion she attended titled “Uncle Sam Wants Who? Women and the Draft” delivered by Amy Rutenberg, assistant professor of history, because it brought to light new information about U.S. military history she said she had no earlier knowledge of.

She said she also learned a lot of great information from the “L’Ecriture Non-Binaire” discussion by Danny Cook, senior in communications studies, which taught her about queer texting. As an avid cyclist Looft said she was especially excited for the final talk, “Gender and Bicycles in 1980’s-Nostalgia Science Fiction,” led by Jeremy Withers, associate professor of English. 

“I’m excited about a lot of our speakers, including a session on restorative justice and incorporating that into your everyday [lives],” Looft said. “I feel like that is a term that comes up a lot on campus in a lot of different spaces with our student protests and the Students Against Racism and the demands, and what does restorative justice look like? So I’m super excited to see Liz’s session on that.”

Next semester will see a range of topics all the way from restorative justice to refugees and micro communities, navigating identities and self care topics. Many are academic and literature characteristically while others are more practitioner-based.

To nominate future presenters, check out the Sloss House website at  https://sloss.dso.iastate.edu, fill out a speaker interest form and submit. Self nominations are accepted. All speakers are selected in the semester prior to the presentation, so to have a hand in creating the fall 2020 schedule you can enter a nomination today.