For students at California State, Monterey Bay (CSUMB) looking for a different kind of workout class, look no further than to Feminist Fitness Fridays put on by the Otter Cross Cultural Center (OC3) at CSUMB. The program starts with a 10-minute discussion on a feminist icon, theory or topic. This is followed by a 50-minute workout where participants follow a dance video.
Each week the event has a different theme pertaining to feminism. The theme on Dec. 4 was Indigenous Feminism, which was particularly timely following Indigenous History month in November.
Coordinator for OC3 Bianca Zamora highlighted some of the main issues facing Indigenous women and the causes Indigenous feminists fight for. The talk centered around gender equity and decolonization. According to Zamora, it is important to understand that Indigenous women today are affected by patriarchal and colonial violence.
She noted the murder rates for Indigenous womxn are extremely high and concerned feminists highlight this violence by painting a red hand on their faces at women’s marches and using the hashtag #MMIWG (Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls).
Indigenous feminists are rising up to make their voices heard and receive liberation. Zamora discussed the portrayal of Indigenous people in the media. An example she presented was non-Native people appropriating Indigenous culture on Halloween as costumes. Other issues, according to Zamora, are misrepresentation, #NativeWomensEqualPayDay, climate change and sovereignty. Zamora referenced the Dakota Pipeline across Native lands as an example of climate change and sovereignty.
Zamora finished her talk by encouraging participants to research these issues further to become more informed.
“We find it important to offer social justice education that is accessible and to create a space for community building and fun,” Zamora said. “There can be a stigma around feminism and we want to provide a space to explore various feminist movements, leaders, and theories.”
“We see feminism including self-care, joy and body positivity,” Zamora said.
For students looking for an educational workout in a friendly and welcoming environment, they can check out Feminist Fitness Fridays biweekly next semester beginning Feb. 12.