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Dr. Amy Aldridge Sanford

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Inspiring Feminism in Today's Students

Dr. Amy Aldridge Sanford, Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Communication and Media at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, is not only a champion for women’s rights, but she is also working to break down the misconceptions of feminism and the feminist movement.

“When most people think about feminists, they think of angry women who want to get even with men and dominate them,” said Sanford. “Feminism is really about equality and opportunities for any oppressed groups of people. In fact, men can be feminists and also call attention to unfair situations.”

Sadly, Sanford believes the misconception can often lead to students not wanting to get involved in reversing that oppression, and Sanford set out to find out why.  She began her search for answers by conducting qualitative in-depth interviews of students enrolled at a regional mid-western university. In those interviews, students expressed several factors such as fear of confrontation, lack of support from conservative parents, financial and family responsibilities, a lack of leaders and supporters, and a dislike of politics as just a few of the perceived barriers to feminist activism.

Those interviews, says Sanford, led to the inspiration to write a book.  The book titled, “Turning Left:  Newfound Liberal Consciousness and Everyday Activism,” is scheduled for completion by summer 2016. In the book, Sanford will explore terminology, social movements, stories about activists, and the risks and rewards that come from becoming an activist for women’s rights. She will also share pieces of her own journey to activism, as well as the importance of communication skills for healthy dialogues.

“It's a book I wish I would have read as a college student when I first became aware of marginalization, oppression, feminism, and my voice,” she said. 

Sanford was the Founding Director of the Women’s and Gender Studies at Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Okla. She joined the faculty at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi in the fall of 2013.