New club inspires controversy, discussion

New club inspires controversy, discussion

By Ridah Syed

Tweet sent. Sophomore Spencer Kahn takes a deep breath. He waits for the inevitable backlash that is bound to come from what he’s done. His phone buzzes with notifications of favorites, retweets and a slew of replies. Kahn scrolls through his Twitter timeline to see the hashtag #SHEBRON appearing all over, some in support, some in curiosity, some in contempt.

What Kahn has on his hands now is a movement.

Sick of hearing about the constant competition between males and females, Kahn decided that it was time to start spreading word of equality between genders. Cleverly named “Shebron,” the new feminist club at Hebron High School is designed to educate the school’s student body about the importance of women’s rights and the fight to have a voice.

Beginning his endeavor on Twitter, Kahn made an account for the club to help promote it. Responses ranged from die-hard support to utter derision.

“There’s always going to be a positive and negative reaction to a group that challenges the social norm,” Kahn said. “I took it as an opportunity to teach [people] what feminism is really about and what it could do to help out the community.”

Despite the negativity, according to Kahn, there was a larger presence of support. News of the club spread not only through social media, but also word of mouth, sparking debates in classrooms and the cafeteria of the club’s potential.

“After going on Twitter, I started getting a little concerned about the size,” Pre-AP English I teacher and club sponsor Kathryn Gaughan said. “I was surprised by how many people were actually interested. There were also concerns about mature behavior.”

Despite the bigger amount of support, the few negative comments still struck a chord for Kahn. Feeling discouraged at the prospect of having less members in the group, he considered not moving on with the club. But Gaughan helped motivate him not to give up and continue his efforts.

I want [everyone] to feel involved. Moving forward, we need to find ways to include the whole group. ”

— Gaughan

“It’s all about balancing the positive with the negative and looking at the positive as a blessing,” said Kahn.

According to Kahn, the first Shebron meeting had an attendance of about 90 people, overfilling Gaughan’s small classroom. The unexpected turnout has given a new glimmer of hope for Kahn and the future of the club. However, it’s also cause for concern at the prospect of dealing with such a large group of people.

“I want [everyone] to feel involved,” Gaughan said. “Moving forward, we need to find ways to include the whole group.”

Some of the goals that Kahn has in mind for the club include activities outside of school. He hopes for members to be motivated enough in their mindset to attend protests and have discussions beyond their peer group with adults as well.

“I want us to be able to talk about controversial topics without constraint,” Kahn said.

According to Kahn, though he is currently the only facilitator of the club, “it’s really a student-led movement. I’m happy to host it and be an advocate, [but] I want it to come for the students, by the students.”