Aug 09, 2020

Strutting the catwalk for peace

Juan Villa / The Collegian

Camouflage, peace signs and anti-war images will adorn the models at the Runway Peace Project fashion show April 14 as students groups challenge militarism in today’s society.

The women’s studies feminist activism class, People Organized for Women’s Empowerment and Representation and the Femicide Action Committee will join forces for the fashion show. Publications from these groups state their mission to “offer thought-provoking fashion and images that will challenge the normalized status of a military doctrine in our clothing and ultimately in our society.�

Dr. Janet Slagter, assistant professor in the women’s studies department, expects the show to spark discussion about the controversial issues surrounding the military and war.

“Students, faculty and community members attending the show can expect to be entertained and to be challenged,� Slagter said. The clothing and other costumes are meant to “poke fun at, raise questions, and present information about war and its effects,� Slagter added.

In addition to the fashion show, the event will include live music, a poetry jam, speakers and art on display. Musical acts lined up for the evening include the all-female band Needy Eevy, Persian musicians Keyhan Faez and Faroukh Ezadee, and a group called the Raging Grannies.

“There is going to be a lot going on at the show,� said Rachel Goerzen, a member of the feminist activism class. According to Goerzen, each portion of the event has a specific purpose to tie in with the anti-war themes.

“The first part is to show how militarism has influenced the clothes we wear and the toys children play with,� Goerzen explained.
“The second part is going to feature outfits that portray stats or realities of war, and outfits that just make you think about war and its effects.�

The feminist activism class and P.O.W.E.R. learned of the Runway Peace Project from a women’s group in Oakland, Calif.

“The Runway Peace Project originated from the Women of Color Resource Center based in the Bay Area,� Eddie Torres explained, who is also part of the feminist activism class. “Their goal is to give women of color a united voice against war and militarism.�

Torres also hopes the event will bring to light the effects of “military idealism� beyond the soldiers and their families.

“Images will show the effects of militarism on the poor, women, children, minorities, the environment, and humankind all over the world,� he said. “I also hope people will become motivated to put a stop to war and militaristic ideas everywhere.

Mypang Thao, another member of the feminist activism class, expects the fashion aspect of the event will be the attention-grabber.

“Most young people don’t care too much for politics, but when it comes to pop culture and fashion they are completely involved,� Thao said. “This fashion show is no typical fashion show.�

The MySpace page created for the Runway Peace Project displays the progress of the students groups as they put the event together. One of the male group members is shown wearing a T-shirt containing the words “This is what a feminist looks like.� A playlist of peace-encouraging music plays in the background, featuring such song titles “Dear Mr. President� and “America’s On Sale.�

Slagter encourages the public to bring any questions they have the organizations that will be tabling at the event.

“Attendees can expect to begin to question practices that promote militarism,� Slagter said. “They can also expect to laugh and sing, too.�

The Runway Peace Project will be held free of charge at 7 p.m. at the Satellite Student Union.
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