Women’s History Month speaker: “Let’s be authentic”

Ashley Gaddy speaks in Webb Hall Tuesday about being unapologetically true to yourself as a woman. Gaddy was the Women’s History Month guest speaker at ESU.

Women’s History Month guest speaker Ashley Gaddy spoke last Tuesday about being unapologetic for who you are as a woman.

Gaddy’s theme was based on the Disney Pixar movie “Inside Out.” She discussed how emotions may affect us one way on the inside, but must be portrayed outward while keeping in mind the space and the company you are with.

“The way you speak to people in those different spaces and realizing what you need to say in different spaces, not all spaces have the same response,” said Mati Alford, junior political science major, about keep-ing those spaces in mind.

One feeling that seemed to resonate with the crowd was the feeling of disgust. Instead of showing the emotion on our face or saying something offensive, Gaddy encourages people to say, “I cannot stand by someone who demonstrates hate.”

“I really like the breakdown of the emotions” said Abigaile Weiser, senior sociology major and Diversity and Inclusion student ambassador. “It was a really cool analogy...This makes sense and it’s also connected to a cool movie that we know.”

Gaddy encouraged individuals to be unapologetic for their true selves. As an employee in collegiate student affairs, Gaddy said she wanted to empower students to find their voices in a way that does not disrupt systems so badly that they are never heard again. 

“The embracing all of your story, not just the ‘My name is this, my major is this, this is what year I am in school,’ but embracing every piece of who you are and letting that be your narrative,” said Kaiesha Serbin, KU graduate student in higher education. 

She then discussed being unapologetic about systems of oppression. Gaddy included gender inequality and paid wage gaps, gender norms, white supremacy, islamophobia, heterosexism, the idea of superiority in ableism, and transphobia.

“I encourage you to be unapologetic with yourself...and I encourage you to be unapologetic about these systems of oppression and hold your peers accountable for them to be unapologetic for these systems of oppression and I encourage you to be brave,” said Gaddy.

Gaddy said that people should not just pick one system to stand against and preach hate for all the others. Individuals also should not ignore the others. She says all intersectional framework is important and it all matters.

“In fact, the work of gender equality and equity matters to society, but...we also have to be mindful that if we truly want to do the work, we have to broaden the umbrella to ensure that more women are being assisted or helped or gained this power of equality and equity,” said Gaddy.

Gaddy answered questions after her keynote. She discussed microaggressions, how to get involved and how to keep an open mind about expanding your umbrella of systems of oppression.

Gaddy ended her time presenting at ESU with six words: “Protect yours. Love yours. Be brave."

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