The sound of snaps and words of affirmation filled the Bruce Pitman Center Thursday night as 11 poets shared their ideas on various aspects of feminism.
Roughly 200 students and community members attended the annual F-Word Live Poetry Slam put on by the University of Idaho Women’s Center 7 p.m. Thursday in the International Ballroom.
The event cost $5, and all proceeds went to Alternatives to Violence of the Palouse, a local nonprofit organization that supports victims and survivors of violence.
Bekah MillerMacPhee, one of the event emcees, said this was the first time F-Word Live has been a fundraiser.
MillerMacPhee’s co-emcee, Traci Craig, whose slam poetry name is DocTraYC, began the event with a poem titled “Fickle Feminist.” Craig’s was one of multiple poems that mentioned people’s tendency to shy away from being a feminist in public.
Although the overarching theme of the night was the f-word — feminism — each poem presented the authors’ personal feelings and experiences pertaining to feminism.
Nicole Skinner, the ninth performer of the night, shared her poem “An Ode to Mansplainers.” Skinner, a senior at UI, said a “mansplainer” is a man who thinks everything needs to be explained to a woman.
Skinner said she hoped her poem would point out the problem to both women who haven’t realized how big of an issue mansplaining is and to well-intentioned men who mansplain without realizing it.
“You don’t have to explain everything to us,” Skinner said. “The mansplaining needs to end.”
Skinner said inspiration for most of the examples in her poem came from specific moments she had dealt with, but she also asked women in her life to explain their experiences with mansplaining. It’s something women experience on a day-to-day basis that people don’t talk about enough, Skinner said.
Skinner said she has been writing personal, private poetry for a while but has never shared any of her work before.
“This was kind of a bucket list thing,” she said. “Now I can cross it off.”
She said it was fun to share her work with so many people and that she is interested in performing again. Skinner said although much of the poetry she writes is related to feminism, she would be open to performing in other venues.
Skinner, who has worked for the Women’s Center since 2016, said she enjoyed all the poems performed this year. She said people often become numb to the statistics about sexual harassment and assault, and hearing real people speak on the issues is helpful.
“The more stories that are being shared the better,” Skinner said.
Trista Goodenough, a senior at UI and first-time attendee of F-Word Live, said she really enjoyed the variety of the poems and the mix of seriousness with some sarcasm. Goodenough also said she appreciated that one of the artists was a man.
She said one of her friends who performed in the event motivated her to come this year, but Goodenough said she was impressed and will come again next year. She said she enjoyed the slam poetry and liked that all proceeds went to a good organization that was pertinent to the topic of the night.
“It was totally worth the $5,” she said.
Jordan Willson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org