LMU’s club I Am That Girl began in 2015. The organization, based on Alexis Jones’ book “I Am That Girl: How to Speak Your Truth, Discover Your Purpose, and #bethatgirl,” has been growing stronger. This year, the club has over 70 students enrolled in their LEO page.
Lila Roades, a sophomore history major, is this year’s co-president. In an effort to increase inclusivity, she helped to re-write the mission statement to call the club “a safe space for women and underrepresented genders.”
The club focuses on having empowering conversations around social media, self-confidence, goal setting, future planning, academics, self-care, relationships and spending. Additionally, they focus on raising awareness about energy usage, intersectionality, sexual harassment and ways members can overcome gender-based obstacles. Roades believes the club offers students a space to be “heard and validated.”
Last year, I Am That Girl had a meeting on rape culture where men from LMU were invited to listen to women speak about their experiences. According to Roades, this was one of the most powerful moments the club has had, as it facilitated valuable discussions. This year, they hope to get more involved with service work focused on women.
“We get really deep into issues that affect us every day. It’s just really refreshing to go and have people who understand you and want to listen to you,” she said.
For Roades, “that girl” is “someone who lifts up other women, empowers other women and is confident in herself.”
Isabella Lopez, a sophomore theatre arts and management double major who has been in I Am That Girl since her freshman year, agreed. She said “that girl” is “someone who inspires you to be better and encourages you to get out of your comfort zone and [be] really confident.” Her favorite part of the club is the sense of community that comes with vulnerable conversations.
Both women also acknowledged that some words, such as the word “feminism,” can bring with it negative connotations.
“There’s a lot of women who don’t want to use [the word] because they don’t want to be like, ‘Oh, I’m a crazy feminist,’” said Roades. “And also, on the flip side of it, feminism can become this term that’s used for white, straight women … We do have to be careful to really define what we mean.”
According to Roades, feminism is the “complete equality of all genders.” In an ideal world, Roades believes people should experience no political, social or economic barriers to achieving what they want to achieve.
“Feminism is good for everyone,” said Lopez. “People shouldn’t be freaked out ... No one [should have] to compromise themselves due to gender roles,” she said.
Feminism can be as simple as standing up for yourself and everyone feeling comfortable sharing their emotions, according to Lopez.
Roades assured those scared to join because of social connotations: “You will have such a strong community [as a feminist] that it’s really not going to matter that there are a few people on the sidelines saying that feminism isn’t important,” she said.
Both Lopez and Roades encouraged women and gender non-conforming students to give I Am That Girl a try, as the club does its best to be empower and encourage students to speak up in a safe environment.
They currently meet on Tuesdays from 9-10 p.m., in St. Robert’s Hall 355.