Feminist VOICE active at BYU

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    By Jennifer Ripplinger

    VOICE gives male and female BYU students and members of the community the chance to discuss gender issues and feminist theories, the club”s former faculty advisor said.

    “VOICE is devoted to increasing the use and understanding of feminist principles,” said Dr. Diane Spangler, a clinical psychology professor. She was the advisor until recently, a position she occupied for four years.

    Spangler said the club was organized about 12 years ago by a group of students who had experienced date rape on campus. They wanted to meet together and do something about the problem.

    VOICE, Visionary Organization Intent on Creating Equality, sponsors an annual abuse conference to educate people about abuse, help victims heal and prevent abuse.

    However, Spangler said the club is broader than abuse.

    The club participates in community service, such as providing training for breast cancer awareness, organizing food drives and donating the food to women”s shelters, she said.

    The club receives support from BYU students and also members of the community. “People are interested in feminism and how it relates to life both on and off campus,” Spangler said.

    She said that feminism is a group of theories, and that although all the various feminisms share a core concept, different forms of feminism exist.

    “VOICE is obviously a really conservative type of feminism, but nonetheless, it is feminism,” said Jennifer Nations, the club”s co-president.

    Nations said the goal of VOICE is to promote the status of women and show that women have the same capabilities as men.

    She said the club wants to show that everyone is equal in God”s eyes and that everyone has equal rights at BYU.

    “VOICE also seeks to clarify the consistency between many feminist principles and gospel principles and how they relate,” she said. “We try to dispel a lot of myths that are held in Mormon culture,” she said. “There are a lot of unanswered questions”

    VOICE sponsors lectures each week, usually Thursdays, during fall and winter. Past lectures have been given about birth control and eating disorders.

    “The lectures create a sense of community, trying to bring us together so that we know what we can do, what our rights are, and it”s all in line with the gospel,” she said.

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