Negotiating Boundaries in the #MeToo Era
The #MeToo era was heavily discussed at a recent all-day event planned by WGST and WILL Directors, Dr. Lisa Martin and Dr. Francine Banner. This program was made possible with a grant from the Institute for Research on Women in Gender (IRWG) in Ann Arbor.
Award-winner author and professor at Columbia University, Morgan Jerkins, began the program with a rousing discussion on Capitalism and Abuse: How Ecosystems of Power Create Victims. Her talk touched on how race plays a factor in the #MeToo era, citing historical and contemporary examples. Jerkins fielded questions from the audience and signed copies of her book This Will be My Undoing: Living at the Intersection of Black, Female, and Feminist in (White) America.
Faculty from UM-Dearborn presented their own perspectives on the #MeToo era via a panel discussion that included interviews and in-depth research in the fields of Sociology, History, Women’s and Gender Studies, and Psychology.
During lunch, guests screened the award-winning film Am I Pretty? by Journalism and Screen Studies Professor Jennifer Proctor, M.F.A., which combined the voices of teens and tweens discussing the meaning of prettiness, and was purposely devoid of the girls’ faces.
The afternoon workshops were facilitated by alumna Benita Robinson, who’s the Director of Crisis Services and Outreach of Wayne County, and certified self-defense instructor Heidi Sproull.
Here are comments from guests:
“I left today's program reminded of the incredible genius among us and the valuable work that our faculty do to address real social problems using the highest levels of academic and ethical integrity. This work should make us all so proud to be part of UM-Dearborn.” – Maureen Linker, Ph.D. Professor of Philosophy
“This event helped me to realign my intersectionality in our society and collaborate with those committed to sharing the narratives of the #MeToo movement. The presenters and speakers at this event helped open dialogue for further examination of #MeToo and how this movement will remain a continual process for years to come. Having the opportunity to openly discuss, critique, and analyze a variety of topics related to sexual assault and #MeToo was an experience that I’m thankful to have been a part of. –Omitra Gates, CASL 2018 Alumna
"Incredibly emotional, solidified the powerful way that #METOO has inspired so many necessary conversations and consciousness-raising in communities all over the world!" – Elissa Gonzalez, CASL Student
-By Leah Olajide