Growing up in a household with a working mother and a stay-at-home father, Corinne Singer ’15 experienced the effects that inverted gender roles can have on a home, developing a clear sense of equity and an urge to promote justice at a young age.
The Feminism Equals Equality movement (F=E) was started during the Spring Term of Singer’s Lower year, allowed her to understand what she was experiencing on a systematic level.
“It was a big ‘aha’ moment for me. I finally understood how to essentially connect all those things that I had observed in a way that made sense and had a really big impact,” said Singer.
Since the movement was first initiated, Singer has been a self-proclaimed feminist. Her role as a Lower in the F=E movement ranged from attending weekly forums and meetings at the house of Jennifer Elliott, Instructor in History and Dean of Abbot Cluster, to interacting with Seniors in charge of organizing and planning the F=E faculty presentation at the end of Spring Term 2013.
“Through having conversations with older students about these [issues] and faculty members, I was completely transformed as a person in terms of feminism and my overall character. I think that dissolving the movement has been effective in that more people feel comfortable accessing it, but the issue with dissolving the movement is that it sent a message that feminism is more a lifestyle than a collective movement,” said Singer.
“While feminism can and does exist on an individual level in terms of people using it as a lens through which they perceive everything, it’s vital that people still recognize feminism as a collective global movement, otherwise individualistic interests on a person-to-person basis take priority,” she added.
Singer has faced criticism for her feminist beliefs. She believes that activists can be an easy target for criticism.
“It’s quite easy for people to directly attack activists because their entire lives have been conditioned by these really oppressive systems that construct a certain reality that activists directly challenge. For a person’s entire reality or notion of reality to challenged in such a strong way is quite a jarring experience,” said Singer.
In dealing with criticism, Singer recognizes the importance of other activists’ support, as well as the importance of creating safe spaces where people can challenge each other’s beliefs, but have their beliefs be respected.
Singer hopes to continue to fight for social justice an gender equality at Barnard College next fall, and work on her photography.
“[Barnard] is an all-women’s college, and they’re becoming more inclusive. I think that women’s colleges should eventually evolve into places that are open to anybody that experiences gender oppression,” said Singer.
Currently using photography as a medium through which she can communicate feminist ideas, Singer hopes to continue working artistically on feminism at Barnard.
“I read a lot of feminism theory and let it inspire my photography. I think that transforming popular feminist theory and some of my own experiences in conjunction to that theory through photography is really helpful and powerful for people to see through a visual lens. It’s easier for people to look at photographs than to read tons of theory, so I’m hoping that I can introduce feminism to people just through that work,” said Singer.