On Thursday, Apr. 22, Students Alliance for Gender Equality (SAGE) partnered with Panhellenic and the Office of Student Diversity (OSD) to watch and discuss the “Belly of the Beast” documentary. This documentary uncovers the illegal and non-consensual sterilization of women, primarily women of color, in prison facilities. The “Belly of the Beast” documentary also touched on how older practices of eugenics and racism in medicine affects women’s health policies today.
“Due to the nature of the film and its recent release, we felt the need to spread awareness of the issues it portrays,” said SAGE vice president, Audrey Elmore, organizer of this event. “One of SAGE’s advisors recommended a watch party and I recommended we pair with OSD and Panhellenic since it refers to women’s issues and women of color’s issues.”
Emily Flores, Assistant Director of Student Diversity Programs, said it is important to bring issues like this to light on campus and hopes students can feel more informed after watching this.
“I hope that students continue to feel a sense of empowerment in knowing this information,” Flores said. “There has been a recent spike of enlightenment of where different systems fail us and where we have the tools and the voice to do something about it. This event, this documentary, is important. It’s important not to turn a blind eye to it. I know we have many compassionate students who will go on to be great advocates for those individuals who feel unheard. These aren’t isolated issues-we are all connected to this somehow, we all are affected by this in some way.”
Ragan Abernathy, a nursing sophomore representing Tri Sigma at this event, said awareness is half the battle with these issues because people don’t know the problem that needs to be resolved, since nothing can be fixed if people don’t know there is an issue.
“I hope students walk away with an awareness of these issues and a drive to want better, whether this personally affects them or not,” Abernathy said. “Especially, as this is a predominantly white area, these types of race-based eugenics aren’t occurring as often here so it’s likely not something on most people’s radars. By having a showing such as this documentary, PSU is actively bringing attention to issues students may have not known to care about otherwise. Nothing can be fixed if people don’t know there is an issue.”
Elmore hopes those who attended were able to learn more about the issues brought up in the documentary, and more.
“I hope students get a broader knowledge of these hot button issues and take away more than what they initially came in with,” Elmore said. “I hope that they interpret these issues on their own terms and come to an understanding of what it means.”
For future events or more information about the Office of Student Diversity, Students Alliance for Gender Equality, or Panhellenic groups on campus, please visit Gorilla Engage or pittstate.edu.