This past Wednesday, my sorority was told that there would be a discussion entitled "Girls Night Out" for which attendance was mandatory. The sorority with the most representatives in attendance was to receive a $500 donation toward their philanthropy, a feat that would greatly beneficial to the projects that we sponsor. In anticipation of the talk and not knowing entirely what its content would be, as sisters, we concluded that the talk would be of the feminist variety, empowering women to be themselves and to be cautious in all environments, as this is a common, frequently talked about issue. About an hour prior to our attending the event, we received a text from the President of the Panhellic Board informing us of the true nature of the night's event. The message made evident anti-feminist undertones of the talk with an extreme emphasis on Christianity and anti-abortion feelings.
Up in arms, our chapter took to our group chat, after which it was decided that it was no longer required for us to attend the event, given the misconstrued message the coordinators of the event had sent to the Panhellenic women who agreed to present it to the Lehigh community. The further we delved into the works of this woman, the more medieval and shameful her stance seemed to appear. Freedom of speech is one of the most fundamental rights in our Constitution, that I will not argue with. What I will contend with is the deceit behind the talk.
As a community, we were under the impression that this talk would not be biased, but rather, one to inspire free-thinking and self-awareness in order to ensure safety and self-respect within young women. Further, to use this donation as a way to mask the speech's true directive and receive unwarranted support is frankly disgusting. As young, impressionable women, we should not be subject to women such as this reprimanding us for controlling our bodies and the ways in which we choose to conduct our lives, both socially and otherwise. This quality within 21st century women should be embraced, rather than frowned upon.
I do not abhor the idea of the primary backing of this woman's argument being religious, as that is the case with many controversies in most all political and social realms. But as a Jewish woman, I do not feel compelled to waste my time as a woman with whom I share no relationship belittles my choices and my religion by virtue of holding hers in a superior light. Faith is faith is faith is faith. There is nothing wrong with being avidly religious, nor is there anything wrong with being reform or perhaps even atheist. But there is something to be said for those who publicly surrender to their Gods in the name of that which they find to be sinful, pointing crooked fingers at those who do not align with their values.
Ultimately, I am extremely delighted to have found out the true intentions of this woman prior to my listening to her gab for an hour and a half, as I am quite sure I would have stood up and left the auditorium. I do hope that for those of you who chose to go, you kept with you a sense of who you are, and that the way you choose to go about your daily lives is no reflection of a person of poor character or someone who does not deserve the praise of your messiah, whomever that may be. Your decisions are yours and yours alone, and no one has the right to decry you for that.