Helping You To Love Yourself As You Are; Ewha Women"s Committee
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Helping You To Love Yourself As You Are; Ewha Women"s Committee
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  • 승인 2003.04.07 00:00
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All purple! The door, the walls, and even the ceiling! The room of the Women"s Committee is painted all purple. Somebody who doesn"t know much about feminism might think that the color has something to do with feminism symbolism. But the reason is much more simpler.

"We just like the color purple and we thought that it would look nice. So, we painted it ourselves." The simplistic answer gives us a peek at the down-to-earth attitude that the Women"s Committee assumes towards making feminist issues known to people everywhere.

Feminism has always been an important matter to women. Especially to the students of Ewha, who regard feminism as an unavoidable matter. Yet at the same time, feminism seemes to have distanced itself from the students. However, the Women"s Committee, a self-government body founded in 1996, was established to reduce the gap, to make feminism friendlier, and bring out participation from Ewha students.

As you may have already guessed from the color of the room housing it, the Women"s Committee is notable in several ways. One example of the committee"s originality is the way its members are called by nicknames such as "To-ma,"""Ban-zak," "Nu-ae," "Chocolat," "Ddo-rang." To the members of the Women"s committee, a name is something that is chosen, not given. They therefore believe that when they wish to reveal who they really are, a new name, chosen by the individual, is needed.

One of many defining characteristics of the group is that members do not know each other"s age or grade, or at least, do not place importance on them. "In elementary school, one or two years" difference could be overcome when making friends," says Volfield. "But from middle school onwards, the one or two years" difference made somebody a senior, and the other a junior. I realized the authority that came with the age, and I saw myself grabbing on to it," she adds. For this reason, the committee members began to ignore age.

Another special fact is that the committee does not have a chairman. There is nobody to give orders, and no one standing around to follow them. "We do everything spontaneously," says To-ma. "Even when hanging posters, the members do so only if they want to. But eventually everybody participates, because our passion towards the women"s rights movement gives us the motivation," she adds.

These unique attitudes governing the Women"s Committee represent the characteristics of the women"s rights movement that the committee is hoping to define. The committee does not tolerate any kind of authority that can exist among women. They respect the individual and her choices. To them, acting spontaneously and giving motivation to self is always the basis of all their actions.

"Many people face discrimination as women in daily life," says Chocolat. "But not many even realize its unfairness. Discovering discrimination and trying to improve the situation is the start of the women"s rights movement. The women"s rights movement isn"t anything more," she adds.

The women"s committee holds a yearly Feminism Festival. Some of themes covered over the years were "The world seen through the eyes of women," "The power to affirm you, the power that changes the world," and "The journey to find the real me." The latest festival, which was held from March 25 to 28, was about "Looking at the differences, but hoping for the same thing." The Women"s Committee went a step forward this time around. They tried to address the discriminations against physically challenged women and even prostitutes. "Feminism means opposing all the violence that is inflicted on all women," believes Chocolat. "The fact that we are all women is our common denominator."

The "A-woman-should-be-like-this-or-that" mentality is not tolerated by the members of Women"s Committee. To them, this amounts to sexual violence against women. "Women are being treated unfairly by the society, and it is a complex matter," says Ban-zak. "But we believe that trying to see the world through the future of women, and loving ourselves as we are, can be the key to reaching equality."

winstraight@ewha.ac.kr

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