Womxn’s Herstory Month exhibit
In honor of National Women’s Month, the Women’s Center at the University of San Diego has organized an exhibit recognizing the intersectionality of women, a term that recognizes the intersection of various identities for individuals. Across from the USD Torero Store is the Womxn’s Herstory Month exhibit displaying this year’s theme of “Community at the Intersections.” According to the Women’s Center, staff created this display to honor the need for visibility of women, their achievements, and the obstacles they face.
Senior and staff member at the Women’s Center Maria Dimachkie explained the purpose for choosing this year’s theme.
“The theme of a lot of our stuff this year was on community and intersectionality,” Dimachkie said. “We want to honor all of the different, diverse women at USD who make it what it is. We want to honor how intersections of identities overlap and contribute to making our community what it is. We wanted to create a space to intentionally display that and focused on it being simple for people to visually see the amazing women this community is built on.”
As stated on the posters, the term “womxn” attempts to support those individuals whose experiences exist beyond the societal norms of “womanhood.” Their goal for using this term was to expand on the identities and experiences of women of color, transgender individuals, and non-binary/non-conforming persons. According to the Women’s Center, the term “womxn” is more inclusive than “women” because the “x” breaks apart the patriarchal standard of language, conveys that women are not a subset of man, and disrupts the concept of the gender binary.
Dimachkie described the significance of the implementation of the “x.”
“The ‘x’ is being intentional about who we are, including when we use the word women,” Dimachkie said. “The word ‘women’ has been used to describe a very specific idea and so the ‘x’ is to be inclusive of however someone identifies.”
The first section of the exhibit features a poster asking viewers to reflect on their different identities and write which ones intersect on the provided piece of paper. Participants posted their paper on the wall next to other people’s papers in an “x” formation.
Junior Miranda Maher explained that she enjoyed this part of the exhibit where people could write down their identities and add to the “x” formation on the wall.
“It is an attempt to deconstruct our patriarchal society,” Maher said. “It’s cool to see women on our campus celebrate the multiple layers of identities they have. However, I think visually the display could have been improved.”
Maher shared why displaying these particular exhibits on campus are important.
“I feel like oppression is rooted in putting people in a box,” Maher said. “When oppressed groups can show they have identities that lie outside of the box, they can work toward reframing society’s view of women in the workplace, at home, etc. Because women make up one group in society that has been oppressed, there are also subgroups of women experiencing more extreme or different types of oppression. By recognizing our intersectionality and those of others, all of us women can come together to appreciate our differences.”
Dimachkie also expressed that she believes it is important to recognize the intersections of individual identities.
“The first step for anything is to recognize the intersectionality within yourself,” Dimachkie said. “You have to take a step back and think about your own identities and privileges. You have to consider how they overlap, play into each other, or how they inform how you interact with other people. My intersections are different than other people’s, and it forms the way in which I experience the world. Once you develop that understanding, you can organically be respectful, mindful, and intentional of other people.”
Dimachkie emphasized that she believes it takes time and practice to be mindful of the complexity and diversity of individual’s identities.
The Women’s Center and its on-campus exhibit show the Torero community’s intent for understanding how the complexities of individuals can intersect.
Tayler Reviere Verninas | Asst. News Editor