Feminist Student Union spreads female empowerment through Galentine’s Day celebration

Those in attendance of the FSU’s Galentine’s Day gathering left the event with a new appreciation for the strong and supportive women in their lives.

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Galentine’s Day is an unofficial holiday, the origin of which many attribute to “Parks and Recreation” character Leslie Knope. In the 2010 episode named for the holiday, Knope goes out of her way to honor the gals in her life. Since then, women around the world have adopted the celebration, often on the day before Valentine’s Day, as a way to equate platonic female relationships with romantic love.

The Feminist Student Union followed this trend, hosting a Galentine’s Day celebration at 6 p.m. on Feb. 4 in the Women’s Center. Many members of FSU, as well as a handful of guests, gathered for a night full of reflection and sweet treats. The holiday aligned well with the message FSU aims to promote on campus.

“The main goal, I’d say, would be basically to bring everyone together, not just feminists but other people as well,” FSU co-President Sarabjit Kaur said. “Once they’re here, our goal is to have a discussion about feminism and what’s good about feminism.”

The group celebrating Galentine’s Day started off with an icebreaker, Two Truths and A Lie. After learning more about each other, guests were encouraged to write and decorate love letters either to themselves or to another strong woman in their lives. As they worked, the group engaged in casual conversation, finding common ground and making new friends.

Once completed, guests shared the content of their letters and explained why they chose to write them. Some wrote to themselves and some wrote to roommates or best friends, but everyone was able to gain some appreciation for the impact female relationships have on their daily lives.

“You don’t really think about who you have in your life and how grateful you are for them, and I’m guilty of that,” FSU Secretary Sophie Lamb said. “We’re bettering ourselves through each other.”

The atmosphere in the Women’s Center embodied this environment of empowerment the organization aims to create through all of their events. For Social Media Chair Hannah France, finding a strong community that offered her that support was not always easy.

“Feminism is important to me because when I was younger, I really did not feel empowered as a young girl,” France said. “When I was introduced to ideas of feminism and feminist ideology, it really helped me become more confident.”

Each member of FSU in attendance had unique reasons for valuing feminism in their personal and academic lives. However, they all agreed that Galentine’s Day has become relevant to that cause, however silly the holiday might seem to some.

“As a culture, we put a lot of pressure on women to have a boyfriend for Valentine’s Day,” France said. “I think it’s important to know that if you don’t have a romantic partner, that doesn’t make you a loser or deficient in any way.”

Setting aside the focus on romantic love that comes with Valentine’s Day, guests and FSU members were able to identify a more relevant source of support and happiness they have in their lives: their gal pals.

Edited by Sophie Stephens | sstephens@themaneater.com

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