FIA President reflects on club’s history

Feminists in Action President Bri Voyton, Courtesy of Rob Varney

Lillian Vila Licht

Feminists in Action (FIA) is an organization that addresses and advocates for feminist causes, and in the past it enjoyed considerable interest. However, this spring semester, Feminists in Action is on an indefinite hiatus.

The organization previously met in Olin with snacks. Everyone was welcome to join the conversation. Senior Bri Voyton, the president, explained, “We usually have a topic set, so we just talk about whatever the topic is that night and especially if it’s a problem or a feminist is-sue local to campus then we brainstorm ways to solve that issue or what we could possibly do to address it.” Some hot topics in the past were porn and Reimert’s par-ty culture at Ursinus.

When asked about FIA’s future plans, Voyton explained that, “Over winter break we had a lot of discussion about this and we decided that FIA is going on a hiatus this semester.” Previously FIA had a large following of consistent members, but last semester they faced lower attendance. Voyton says that in their freshman year there was a larger interest and dedication from students. Some notable student members are Vice President Abby Peabody and Claude Wolfer, the Treasurer and Secretary.

Voyton explains that, back in 2016, “tensions were high because of the 2016 election. And so all these hot button issues were being debated very publicly, and ever since Trump is in office interest in debating these things publicly, fighting for these things decreased because everything that he’s done is now normalized so people aren’t as fired up as they were.” On top of that, Voyton is graduating this year. “My hope is that for next year that some underclassmen decide to take it up and form their own club with their own take on it,” Voyton explained.

After becoming a FIA member their freshmen year, Voyton joined the executive board as Secretary in their sophomore year, and finished up their college career as President. Voyton recalls the “Slut Walk” as being very impactful event in her freshman year. Voyton explained, “The slut walk is reclaiming the word ‘slut.’ You march around. Anyone can come and join.”

Voyton continued, “You can wear as much or as little clothing as you like and the idea is that it’s not the victim’s fault if they’re raped no matter how much clothing, how little clothing, whether they were drinking or not drinking. It’s never the victim’s fault and that women’s bodies are their own and other people shouldn’t put their judgments on other people.” As President, Voyton has gotten FIA to support “Take Back the Night” in Spring 2019, an inter-national night where women reclaim the night and for survivors to talk about their experiences and support them. Voyton had also gotten FIA to support Ursinus’ first pride in Spring 2019.

FIA’s fate is in the hands of Ursinus students. “[FIA] is there to be made into some-thing new,” Voyton said. “Whoever may decide to join the executive board would be able to make it entirely their own—to add events, to put a new spin on events or conversations that they want to have. I hope that some-one will be willing to take up that mantle.”