EHS welcomes new anti-sexism club to the scene


Photo by Alice Adams.

Alice Adams, Photo Editor

This previously ran in our December 2022 print issue.

Ever since her early days in school, Britney Cordero has observed glaring differences in the treatment of her and her male classmates by members of the school community.

Cordero, a junior at Emmaus, has faced inappropriate comments and physical contact from her peers; also upsetting was what she believed to be incorrect handling of the issues by the staff.

“My teachers didn’t react properly,” she said. “The staff didn’t have a very strong protocol for sexism, and I kind of just had to sit and not have my problems to be resolved. I had to do a lot of self-reflection on my own because nobody could provide me with that guidance that I needed.”

Cordero’s experiences, coupled with her drive and determination to make positive change within her school, led her to create a forum for students affected by sexism. The club Students Against Sexism in Schools (SASS) kicked off on Dec. 5, with the initial meeting focusing on information and icebreaker games, ultimately finishing with a group discussion on what the members would like to talk and learn about.

Junior Cece Christ attended the meeting, motivated to do so by her close friendship with Cordero and Cordero’s co-founder, fellow junior Sarah Greene, as well as a desire to create a safe space for victims of sexism at EHS.

“I have a very supportive group of friends that are very [against] sexism,” she said. “But I do see those groups of people that do not have that kind of support. And this is me wanting to spread my arms out and welcome those people who don’t have that supportive group.”

Christ felt welcomed by the other members and officers.

“It was very comforting, and it felt familiar and very real,” she said. “Everyone kind of bonded together; there wasn’t really a sharp divide between people, and we all got along very well.”

The club has plans to incorporate lessons, field trips, discussions, and speakers into future meetings, focusing on topics such as biological and social definitions of beauty, masculinity, and femininity, as well as the gender bias present in educational and workplace institutions and day-to-day interactions. According to Cordero, the group intends to serve as a place of education and a way to amplify the voices of the afflicted.

“I want to make sure that other students have a voice within our district,” she said. “I would like to create an impact within my school, and hopefully the district, to raise awareness as to what sexism actually is.”

Additionally, Cordero wishes to bring people of all genders into the discussions, so as to include the voices of everyone affected by sexism, not just women.

“I also want to spread the message that men do experience sexism,” she said. “I don’t want them to feel like they don’t have a voice, which is why this is advertised as an organization against sexism rather than a feminist organization. I want people of all genders to realize that it is possible for them to be treated differently and it’s not right. And I want them to have confidence that the staff at Emmaus High School can do something about that.”

In starting a club, Cordero faced hard work and a lengthy process, but not without the help and encouragement of advisors and fellow students.

“I’ve had a lot of support from staff members,” she said. “But it’s a lot of work that I have to put in. And it also helps that I’ve had a lot of interest from other people in the club.”

Cordero is teaming up with science teachers Briana Luancing and Kristin Susens, who hope to aid her in her mission. Luancing feels strongly about the need for such a forum.

“It’s something that I personally really care about,” Luancing said. “These are things that matter, and I want to provide a space for people to be able to talk about it.”

Her role in the club, she says, is to guide the officers and supervise the meetings but not necessarily direct the club’s pursuits.

“This whole thing is driven by the officers and by the students,” she said. “We’re just here to steer the ship if need be, but it’s them.”

Susens, too, feels strongly about the club’s goal and the necessity of a forum focused on this particular topic.

“I think it is filling a niche that has not been filled in the school,” she said. “The majority of our population identifies as female or male, roughly half and half. So looking at that dichotomy and being able to give voice and space for people to express their experiences and learn and grow together, I think is really important.”

Cordero feels satisfied with her efforts to make Emmaus High School a safer place for people of all genders.

“It’s a very rewarding experience,” she said. “I’m grateful that I was able to do this during my high school years.”

Students Against Sexism in Schools meets every second and fourth Monday of the month in room 418. The club is always welcoming new members from all walks of life who are engaged in furthering gender equality at our school and making Emmaus High School a safer community for all.