Feminist Roots: Know Your On-Campus Feminist!

I met Amber Logsdon one chilly February afternoon last semester while hanging out with a group of friends. It wasn’t long before the two of us drifted towards each other, curious to meet the one odd face out, and got to talking. Now, months later, we’ve found ourselves sitting in Carrier Starbucks with two hot coffees on another another cool, chilly day outside. Only today, instead of awkwardly dancing around introducing ourselves, we’re talking about a subject much closer to both of our hearts – feminism.

Now, I consider myself a pretty active feminist. I write for ShoutOut!, I keep up to date with a lot of the feminist blogs, and I do my best to go to as many events on campus to keep active in the movement. And when it comes to role models I look up to? Amber is pretty high on that list.

As Co-President of Dukes for Choice (with Rachelle Rucker), Managing Editor and Vice President of Sister Speak, and a campus representative for NARAL (National Abortion Rights Action Leauge) Pro-Choice America, Amber does a lot when she’s not in classes. She’s one of those people who makes me want to better myself, and as much fun as we have when we’re just hanging out, sitting down and talking about feminism and her personal relationship with it fascinates me to no end.

Amber, like many college women, began coming into her feminism when she first came to JMU. By spring of her sophomore year she was regularly reading Jezebel and scrounging the feminist tags on Tumblr to help raise her own awareness. It was also around this time that she declared a Women and Gender Studies Minor after taking Women Studies 200 and found that it felt right to her. While she was tentative at first to use the word “Feminist” because of the negative connotations, she began to wear the title with pride. She realized:

[Feminist is] not a word people should be scared of – it just means that you’re a decent human being.

Amber was an avid reader of Sister Speak in her early days as a Women and Gender Studies Minor, but when some free time opened up in her schedule this year she pounced on the chance to join the writing staff. She found Dukes for Choice in the fall of her junior year through fliers hanging around campus. At her first meeting the club was looking for a new secretary and she volunteered herself – thus began her journey of making her own mark on Madison.

It was at this point in our conversation that I asked her what she hoped that final mark would be when we both graduate in the upcoming spring. She took a moment to cover her face and groan into her hands – the same way I do anytime somebody mentions the horror that is graduation – before she took a pause to think. What she came up with, was this:

I want people to know that they have options. Not just for their pregnancy – if it does happen – but for their prevention of a pregnancy. For their OBGYN options. For their clinic options. [If I could leave behind one thing] it would be a better understanding of how feminism affects everybody. Not just men, not just women, not just cis people. Everybody.

There are some people, who when you meet them and learn of all the things they do, you become cowed into inadequacy. Their domineering personalities and brash manners can make you feel like, not only are you not doing enough but that what you are doing is worth nothing.

That’s not Amber.

Her achievements within the feminist movement inspire me to do more and she welcomes any contribution that people are willing to offer. Attend a Dukes for Choice meeting or stop by their table at the commons during their Sex Education Week (October 31—November 1) just to talk, or simply have a debate about the failings of the current election campaigns to talk about women’s issues. Her bright and inviting personality ushers you in and makes you want to do more.

Ultimately, I’m grateful for that frosty day last winter – there’s no doubt in my mind that I’m the better for meeting this girl.

You can submit creative works (poems/stories/comics/artwork) inspired by feminism to sisterspeak@gmail.com!

3 thoughts on “Feminist Roots: Know Your On-Campus Feminist!

  1. This is a really great profile, I’m glad to see so many campus feminists being highlighted along with their organizations!

    However, I always hesitate to critique people who don’t take on the feminist label. For many women (and men) it’s not so much about being scared of the word, but not wanting to associate with a movement that has largely done nothing for them. Though I identify as a working-class feminist, I still struggle with whether or not I want to take on the label. Feminism has largely been about white, upper-class, cis women, so it is very understandable to me that women of color, lower class women, and others would not want to associate with the label. And there are many feminists who aren’t exactly decent human beings. So while I think it’s awesome that people like Amber choose to take on the label, I hesitate to comment on anyone that doesn’t.

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  2. I second what femistorian said. I think it’s great to show that feminism is accessible, particularly on college campuses. I think a lot of people, like Amber, get exposed to feminist literature and ideologies in the college setting. It’s important to profile these students so others can see how many resources are available to people considering feminism. SisterSpeak is definitely a valuable publication for feminism at JMU and I love that they accept submissions from anyone-DEFINITELY a great read. Thanks for posting!

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  3. Hello everyone! I have good news-I live in a big city and have just joined a fabulous Feminist organization. The panel last night was verry diverse-as well as the crowd:) We had African American ladies-Latinas-European-Asian-Caucasian etc! We are all in this TOGETHER. The patriarchy tries to keep mayhem between the races for anti-feminist’s delight. The patriarchy is sexist racist ageist and classist..There is power in numbers and there are an uncountable amount of women in this world! We must ban together and get involved with our local feminist groups asap. And men-you are NOT welcome to OUR meetings. Us ladies deserve to speak our minds in our own private spaces. The oppressor is NEVER welcomed to be with us Feminists. (Radfems-etc..) Everyone stay strong-united we stand-divided we fall…

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