Regardless of your political or personal beliefs, the Gender Politics Club (GP for short) is a safe place where any and all opinions are welcomed and appreciated. The club, completing its first year as an official group, was founded by students Kelly Bruce, Bella Rodriguez, and Katie Maclean, along with teacher Andrew Apperson.
The club, according to Maclean, was founded because “We thought ORR should have a club or a community where you can express opinions and ideas, no matter what you like or who you vote for, regardless of party.”
Maclean and Apperson would like to stress that the club is not exclusive and that everyone is welcome to join.
The club’s usual activities include conversations about current events, debates, and presentations on various topics. They even prepared TedX Talks for the students to listen to.
“We love having debates, especially with people with different political viewpoints and different opinions on each issue,” said Maclean.
Without funding, the club bases most of their meetings inside either the school’s library or Apperson’s classroom. Independently, many members of the club arranged to meet up at Boston’s Women’s March 2018 on January 21, bringing with them their signs and spirit. The students in the club wish to do more of these activities next year.
Although they have leaned towards feminism this year, with the #MeToo and #Time’sUP hashtag social media movements, the club covers various other topics as well, including mental health in relation to gender and gender roles in films.
Payton Lord, freshman and next year’s club representative, explained one of many characters that the club discussed. She said Ursula, from the movie The Little Mermaid, “…is made to be fat and ugly and that’s not how people should be portrayed. They used her physical appearance to show the fact that she is an evil character.”
According to Apperson, he would like to see the club focus more on activism next year and have the students become more involved with the world around them.
“I would also like to pair up with the GSA (Gay Straight Alliance) and other clubs in the school for various things if possible,” Apperson said. “Mr. Allain and I were discussing the possibility of some sort of connection between the Sci-Fi Club and Gender Politics.”
With most of the club consisting of seniors and freshman, they are hoping to gain new members from the incoming freshman and from current students.
When asked whether or not he believes the club is a confidence builder, Apperson proudly said, “Absolutely. I have a freshman this year who is going to be a club leader next year. As a sophomore, she’s going to be leading and running the club.” He continued, “I have seen people become empowered and find their voice very early on in high school.”
“It was a great experience, and everybody was really passionate and really enjoyed it,” said Maclean. Although she is a senior, she has high hopes for the club’s future. “It doesn’t matter … your political views or where you stand on gender issues. Gender politics is a place to educate yourself.”
Lord added “Even if you don’t necessarily agree with what we are talking about, come to a meeting and talk to us about how you feel about it. Talk to us about your questions and your standpoints.”
While the club has ended for the year, Apperson and the Gender Politics Club invite you to join them next year.
By Grace Mastroianni