Adler Bowman, features writer

The most popular accessory at the 2016 Friendship Dance will not be a designer diamond necklace or a pair of shiny golden earrings, but a $2 piece of pink rubber. The Webster Groves High School (WGHS) Feminist Coalition reached out to KHS Coalition to sell bracelets that depict the female gender symbol and the slogan “femfriends.” This is a shortening of the words “feminist friends,” a phrase the two clubs created to promote women’s rights and unity between KHS and WGHS. This idea, originally thought of by Webster Feminist Coalition, is based on the concept of friendship bracelets, which are the perfect accessories to capture the essence of the Friendship Dance.

“What we want to do is show both our unity between Webster and Kirkwood by having students from both schools wear bracelets, but also show unity for feminism and supporting women’s rights,” Julia Wunning-Zimmer said, co-founder of the KHS Coalition.

The proceeds made from selling the bracelets will be donated to Dignity Period, an organization that provides feminine products for impoverished women in Ethiopia. Supplies are essential to these women, allowing them to go to school while menstruating and continue the education they are fighting so hard to receive. WGHS and KHS coalitions have raised $400 for this charity so far, and hope to donate more in the future.

Students who buy these bracelets are encouraged to wear them to the Friendship Dance on Saturday, Nov. 5 at KHS. Casting all rivalries aside, the leaders of the gender equality clubs at KHS and WGHS hope these bracelets will stimulate conversation and raise awareness for the women’s rights cause. If you attend Friendship sporting one of these fashionable and trendy bracelets, Tweet a photo of you before, after or during the dance with #femfriends.

“With this specific movement, we’re saying that women’s rights matter because we need to highlight that issue right now,” Wunning-Zimmer said. “However, in the future we are going to advocate for people who are gender neutral and for people who are transgender, and that is another main part of our club.”

The female gender symbol can be misleading because the KHS coalition supports equality among any and all genders. Wunning-Zimmer said she was offended by the symbol at first, but now realizes it only applies to feminism because that is a cause that needs attention.

Nora Anderson, another founder of KHS Coalition, believes wearing these bracelets to the Friendship Dance takes a lot of courage. There are many negative opinions and stereotypes about feminists that exist in both high schools.

“It’s kind of hard to be an open feminist in high school because there is a lot of hate and misinformation,” Anderson said. “So ‘femfriends’ means feminists can come together and support each other.”

If you are interested in promoting gender equality, come to the KHS Coalition meetings on Wednesdays. The time and location alternates weekly, which means there will either be a meeting in Dr. Barker’s room (W-122) after school or a meeting at Kaldi’s in Downtown Kirkwood at 7 p.m. Follow @thecoalitionkhs on Twitter and Instagram or join the Remind101 by texting @thecoaliti to 81010 to receive updates on the weekly time and location as well as information on projects and events.

Nov. 6