How does FAU’s National Organization for Women (NOW) describe themselves on Instagram?
“Feminist as fuck.”
NOW is a feminist club dedicated to raising awareness about and fighting against gender and racial discrimination.
“Our goal was to build a community of like-minded people so that no one would feel alone on campus,” said FAU NOW President Joi Dean, a sophomore marketing major.
NOW was founded in 1966 and currently has hundreds of chapters across the United States. FAU’s NOW chapter has been at the Boca Raton campus since November 2017 and is attracting women and men with their mission.
Founded by former student Tiffany Walter, the club’s members discuss common misconceptions about feminism by providing an open forum where everyone is welcome to discuss their ideas.
“I think there is this idea in society of what a feminist is, someone who hates men or who wants to destroy society because they don’t agree with how they’ve been treated. All we want in the end is for everybody to have equal opportunity in life, but we think that that message is often lost,” said FAU NOW Director of Communications Kamea Unger, a sophomore political science and philosophy major.
In spite of these misconceptions, the club has been successfully recruiting both male and female members.
“There are probably about 35 to 40 people who come to our meetings on a weekly basis, and probably five to six of those members are guys,” Dean said. The club primarily uses social media to recruit, but also passes out flyers and occasionally sets up a table in the Breezeway.
Despite their name, NOW values the input of their male members just as much as their female ones.
“I think feminism issues are also issues that men should be concerned about. We had a ‘men in feminism’ event, and it was really interesting to hear their perspective,” said Unger.
The group does not focus solely on women’s rights, but rather on how everyday issues, such as race, religion and mental health, affect women’s lives. FAU NOW prides itself on advocating for “human rights of all kind, for all kind,” according to their mission statement.
A major part of FAU NOW’s philosophy is to hear and respect all viewpoints, not just those that they agree with.
“Last month we went to a Turning Point USA meeting, which is a politically conservative organization on campus, because we want to be open to everyone. It’s dangerous to live in your bubble and not get any outside information because then you demonize people that don’t agree with you, rather than seeing them as human beings,” Unger explained.
The majority of the club’s meetings are discussion-based, where every attendee is encouraged to provide input on a certain topic. The group discusses issues such as immigration, human trafficking, and gun violence.
“We’ll usually do an icebreaker or some kind of game, then we’ll make any announcements that need to be made, and then we’ll start the discussion for the week,” Dean explained.
In addition to these weekly meetings, the club also facilities monthly bonding events, such as brunches and picnics.
“Despite the stereotypes of feminism, all we really want is equality for all people,” said Dean. “It isn’t about hating anybody or bashing anybody. It’s simply about believing that all people are equal and that they should be treated equally no matter what they look like or believe in.”
The FAU Chapter of NOW meets every Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. in the Palmetto Palm Room on the second floor of the Student Union.