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College Events Offer Opportunity to Reflect on Women's, Gender Roles

Morgan Fuller
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Women's History Month 2015 at EMCC.

Estrella Mountain Community College has many exciting events planned for the month of March. Rita Zaragoza, chair of EMCC Women’s Leadership Group, and a volunteer member of the Women’s History Month planning committee, says the month’s events seek to “promote learning with all students, faculty, and staff.”

On March 5, at the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL), the college will host From the Burka to the Thong—Control of Women’s Bodies at 10:00a.m. The presentation is led by Dianne Post, an attorney that has represented women and children in the family and juvenile court trials.

As the chair of Legal Redress for Maricopa County’s NAACP and coordinator for the Central Arizona National Lawyers Guild, she will be speaking about the standards society imposes on women. The ideas of women in the media have shifted from culture to culture, describing the disrespect of the women’s body and how society determines how they dress and what is socially acceptable and what is not.

Steven Peist, co-chair of the Women’s History Month planning committee states these conversations are important because “society gives unequal benefits to males and females.”

This event will be informative and very profound to the listener who wants to learn about the social injustices on women within the work force and within society, particularly their appearances.

James Bond is an iconic crime-fighting secret agent, created by Ian Fleming in 1953. When many people think of special secret agent 007, they think of the charismatic crime fighter, cracking the most difficult of cases, and the most dangerous, but what he is just as well known for is the number of hearts he has stolen throughout the years.

No matter which popular actor played Bond, whether Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Rodger Moore, or Daniel Craig, each one emitted a suave and charming aura when in the company of a female counterpart.

What you don’t hear the details of, however, is how these women were treated and viewed by the public, and by Bond.

On March 9 from 10:00am to 11:30am at the CTL, Summer Cherland, co-chair of the Women’s History Month planning committee, will give a presentation on the topic and discuss the treatment of women in the 007 movies over history.

On March 10 at 10:00am Meha Trivedi, computer information systems faculty, will lead a question and answer session about a controversial children’s book published in 2010 that recently made the internet explode with negative comments and feedback.

Barbie: I can become a Computer Engineer tells the story of Barbie learning how to be an engineer and how while working on a project  “…she needed two men’s help to actually get the game running, and, when all went wrong, to fix the game for her, and help her out of the mess.”

A National Public Radio podcast outlines the story of the book and why this story was so controversial. In this on-campus event, Trivedi take on the Barbie: I Can Become a Computer Engineer

Another event that showcases both the power and struggles of being a woman is the dramatic reading of The Vagina Monologues, written by Eve Ensler, which discusses aspects of being a woman from the perspective of the vagina.

“Estrella Mountain has done this event for several years now” explains Ri’Ann Holmes, a student who is directing the staged reading. “The creator of the Vagina Monologues went all around the world to gather all the stories of what hardships woman have gone through” she explains. “Here, we use the vagina as the main topic of the discussion and it is symbolized as female empowerment. We take the title of ‘woman’ and turn it into something of power and inspiration.

The play touches on various other experiences that are socially associated with the female experience. Be prepared for a very blunt play. This is a play that does not ‘sugar-coat’ anything.”

Signs will be posted around the ceremonial plaza stating ‘Adult Content Ahead’. “It is all about perspective” Holmes states, “you have to keep an open mind about the topics, and be aware that these are actual stories about woman and who they were and what they went through.”

The Vagina Monologues also counted as an honors-sponsored event, will take place in the Ceremonial Plaza on March 24 throughout the day. Specific times will be announced soon.

Rita Zaragoza explains why it’s important to promote events like these, especially on college campuses. She sates we need to “get to a point where it is not a surprising event that a woman wants to become a politician or a scientist, or pursue a career in engineering.” This event is a must attend and will shed some light on the stereotypes of women in the STEM world.