Belmont University announced it Women’s History Month celebration with a number of campus-wide events. To kick-off the month, the university’s Women’s History Month Committee hosted “This is What a Feminist Looks Like: Men Feminists at Belmont University,” a panel of five male faculty and staff feminists that spoke to students.
Made up of Professor of English Dr. Doug Murray, Telecommunications Services Manager Gary Hunter, Director of the Center for International Business Dr. Jeff Overby, Associate Professor of Religion Dr. Andy Watts and Associate Professor of Sociology Dr. Ken Spring, each panel member told the story of how they became a feminist and what identifying as a feminist means to them.
For Murray, progressive feminist ideas were first introduced by a colleague in college who challenged his comments and opinions by saying, “You think you’re thinking, but you’re not really thinking.” After that realization, Murray said it was his dealings and love for literature that further expanded his thinking and has resulted in the feminist he identifies as today.
As the father of two daughters, Overby said his feminist ideals began when he started questioning traditional gender roles as a child and then heard his wife’s experiences as a woman in corporate America. After his two daughters were born, Overby said it became even more important that feminist ideas were discussed at the dinner table. “You don’t define yourself by a man,” Overby said he tells his daughters. “I want [my daughters] to know that they can do anything they want to do.”
The panel engaged the audience in a question and answer session where topics including feminism in religion, society and specific disciplines were discussed. Overby ended the event by encouraging attendees to continue similar discussions with their peers, classmates and coworkers saying, “It’s dangerous to let things go unchallenged. When you hear something you don’t agree with, challenge it.”
Belmont’s Women History Month celebration will continue with a number of events that are open to campus and the community including:
- Keynote Address, Surviving the Silence: Dr. Charlotte Pierce-Baker at 10 a.m. at the Wedgewood Academic Center’s (WAC) 4th Floor Conference Room on March 16
- First Responders: A Pedagogy for Writing and Reading Trauma: Dr. Amy Hodges-Hamilton in WAC 1034 at 10 a.m. on March 21
- Invisible War Screening and Discussion: On March 29 in the Bunch Multimedia Hall from 6 – 8 p.m.
- Julius Caesar (All Female Cast): On March 31 at 7:30 p.m. in the Blackbox Theater