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Demonstrators march down College Street during The Athens Women's March on January 20, 2018.

The Longest Walk to spread women’s voices

Women, nonbinary and female-identifying people are invited to participate in The Longest Walk on Thursday. The walk aims to reclaim the contested site of the female body while providing a platform for intersectional feminism. 

Intersectional feminism is advocating for the rights of others including women of a different race, class, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation, according to USA Today. This is in opposition to “white” feminism, which focuses more on issues that are expressed by white women while ignoring the issues that affect people of different races, classes, ethnicities, religions and sexual orientations.

The walk will be held on Howard Green, which is located at Union Street and College Street, from 5:45 p.m. until 6:15 p.m. The movement includes a “group of participants holding space for a period of 20 to 30 minutes with stylized cycle of forward and backward steps,” according to the walk’s Facebook page.

Athens held its own Women’s March, where more than 300 residents marched and chanted through College, Union and Court streets.

The walk follows the Women’s Marches taking place across the country. Those walks aimed to “harness the political power of diverse women and their communities to create transformative social change.”

Participants are invited to personalize their walk by writing their intentions on printed posters that read “We Hold Space For ____” posters from previous events will be placed on display in the Ohio University Art Gallery as part of the Temporal Corporeal Exhibition.

Megan Young, an educator and artist, coordinated the event which first took place in 2016 at the Republican National Convention. It was initially a monument constructed in response to all the groups that were being exclusionary.

“The actual piece encompasses art and visual art, not just performance,” Young said. “This is almost like erecting a monument for half an hour.”

The prime objective for the walk is to make a space for women’s bodies and conversation. Young does not consider the walk a formal protest.

“One of the things that’s different is that it is an art installation, so there is an aesthetic or a thing that looks a certain way and it has a look and the look is important,” Young said. “Secondly, I’m considering myself to promote a framework rather than an answer so I’m not coming up with a platform and not promoting one particular perspective, but promoting that I do believe that women’s voices should be heard.”

Young collaborated with Angela Davis Fegan, who created print artifacts for the event that will be on display.

By using the posters, “people can take it upon themselves and fill it in what they feel like they need to make more space in public and political settings,” Young said.

People are welcome to join the walk or watch the 20-minute performance. People can also watch and join if they feel comfortable, as the steps are easy to learn. 

“I feel like it’s very important for us to have these events,” Gabriella Schoch, an undecided freshman, said. “It is important for women all around the U.S. to come together and fight for what’s right.”

Schoch said she considers herself an intersectional feminist rather than a “white” feminist. Schoch believes it’s important for people to come together and educate others on issues that people are facing in today’s society. 

“We just have to educate people and get not only women involved, but also men, people of different races and just fight for everybody,” Schoch said.

Another student, Lily Gephardt, a freshman studying media arts, said it is “fascinating to see people coming together for a common cause and supporting one another.”

“I think that these movements are great and we should keep doing them because it’s helping to spread the word,” Gephardt said. “Especially through social media because other women, and just people in general, are hearing about this and it’s really empowering to hear about.”

Gephardt also considers herself a feminist, as she believes that women should be treated the same as men are. 

“Not even just women, but also minorities. Especially in the workplace or other places where there’s still issues like the wage gap and things like that,” Gephardt said.

Gephardt noticed that gender inequality still happens today, even though it may appear to be becoming more equal.

“I think gender inequality in today’s society is pretty prevalent” Gephardt said. “Some people could argue that it’s getting better but there’s still definitely more things to be done and there’s still clearly unfair treatment that’s still happening.”


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