April 27, 2017
Last week the Womxn’s Center hosted “Womxn’s Energy Week,” an event stemming from a Kirkland College tradition that has been dormant for years. Janika Beatty ’17 and other Womxn’s Center members revived the week this year.
According to Beatty, “Women’s Energy Week began in April 1977 at Kirkland College. A cohort of students, faculty and staff came together and collaborated on an event in order to ‘talk about, learn about and celebrate their experiences as women.’ The inaugural WEW took place over a three-day period from April 15-17 [of that year] and featured such events as open-mic performances by women poets and musicians, a campus-wide dance, a picnic and discussions led by faculty and staff focused on: Women and Law, Lesbianism, Witchcraft and the Anatomy and Physiology of the Human Female.”
When asked why it was important to bring back WEW this year, and hopefully for years to come, Beatty responded, “We’re at a point where women’s bodies are not only being heavily regulated, but also incredibly shamed. When we have a bigot and sexual predator win the presidential election on a platform positioned against the masses, it seems important to have a series of events to celebrate our experiences, unwind, and educate each other.”
The week kicked off on Monday, April 17, with a screening of the film How to Lose Your Virginity and a discussion of how social concepts of virginity and sexuality affect our society and how sexuality is ever-evolving. On Tuesday, the Womxn’s Center’s weekly meeting focused on “Feminism and Witchcraft” in a discussion led by Beatty. The discussion spanned from the history of femininity and witchcraft to the colonization of communities of color’s traditions of witchcraft and magic.
Wednesday and Thursday featured guest speakers on campus. On Wednesday, Kiran Gandhi, who ran the 2015 London Marathon while “free-bleeding” — not using pads, tampons, a menstrual cup or any other sort of menstrual control product while on her period — gave a talk about her experience titled “Running 26 Miles On My Period.” Her marathon run was an effort “to critique the state of ‘feminine hygiene’ products and its rhetoric,” according to the event schedule’s description. Her talk discussed how to talk about periods despite stigma and how to best take care of ourselves and our bodies. On Thursday night, comedian Karmenife Paulino came to campus to perform comedy covering her experience as a woman of color during her time at Wesleyan University. Her set covered topics of race, intersectionality, sexual assault and classism as well as the problems that come with the culture of most predominantly white liberal arts institutions like Wesleyan and Hamilton.
Finally, on Friday, the Womxn’s Center invited people to the Days-Massolo Center for “Hygge: Cookies and Chill,” where people could come and enjoy face masks, music and snacks while doing work or hanging out with friends. “Some of the programming was inspired by the first WEW, like the Witchcraft and Feminism meeting, while other programming ideas just came into fruition,” says Beatty, “The feedback has been great! We’ve enjoyed our events this week, and we’ve heard that many others have as well.”