Be respectful to those trying to make a difference

Abigail Carlin, Columnist

This week, in an effort to support our friends in the Vagina Monologue Show, EIU FEM has been asked to sell Vagina Pops.

Both the cast of the Vagina Monologues and EIU FEM have worked to dismantle stigmas against feminism, including exploring one’s sexuality responsibly, overcoming the trauma of sexual assault and harassment and finally and embracing intersectionality to create a world that is safer for all.

In addition to this work, FEM works tirelessly to raise enough money to support SACIS and HOPE, which are two local organizations that provide services to women and families affected by domestic violence and sexual assault.

Our group volunteers out of free will. We are not obligated by any organization to make goods to sell, spend time selling and giving majority of our proceeds to groups off campus.

That being said, I would appreciate it if the student body could quit it with all of the death glares.

I love selling Vagina Pops, as do the other members of FEM. We love the shock value, we love helping others and we feel good about making a difference for women in need.

Perhaps it is not as cute as a see saw or bake sale, but we do what we can to reclaim the exact thing everyone seems to be sweeping under the rug.

However, our purpose and mission with these chocolate pops seems to be overshadowed by the word, “vagina.” It is a part of the human body, not an obscene phrase or offensive term.

I spent almost 2.5 hours selling Vagina Pops in Coleman on Wednesday morning, and in that time, I sold 6 Vagina Pops.

Normally, this would not bother me, as I understand most people do not carry cash on them at all times, but the amount of disrespect I received was incredible. The glares, the ignorance, and the looks of pity drove me insane, as they did my constituents. It would be so easy to just lie and tell us that you simply forgot your money or you did not like chocolate.

You being uncomfortable with feminism, vaginas and speaking out against sexual assault and domestic violence is not a viable excuse for being disrespectful.

I am proud of the work FEM does for this campus. Perhaps we do not have the greatest turn out for our meetings and movie screenings, but things like the S.L.U.T. Walk tend to really resonate with the student body and raise awareness of sexual assault on our campus, as well as grant survivors a space to grieve and celebrate their recovery and progress.

We do these Vagina Pop sales for them, and we do them for you, too, even if you cannot spare us a second glance. Activism is not about glory, recognition, or award, but rather, feeling at peace with the knowledge that one is contributing to something bigger than themselves.

So please, next time you see us on campus, keep your rude remarks and side eyes to yourself, we are too busy trying to save the world to pay any mind.

Abigail Carlin is a junior English language arts major. She can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].