The Number One Reason You Should Be Excited For OWN Already

  Put on by our Gender Equity Center, the Original Women’s Narratives (OWN) is a show several months in the making. It begins with a collection of spoken word pieces written by students here at Cal Poly. These pieces range from serious and emotional to downright funny and entertaining. Some showcase the culture and personal struggles that students come from, while others discuss the bodies and mental health journeys that have shaped them into who they are. 

After being accepted, each performance is practiced for several months by women identifying students who have the privilege of stepping on stage to perform something that culminates into a woman's experience on a college campus. OWN is an attempt to create a more inclusive space that lets students into the woman's experience at Cal Poly, told by the “powHerful” voices of storytelling. Both developed by and promoted for women identifying students, this show gets honest just as quickly as it gets comical. Either way, this one is something you don't want to miss.

After last year’s major changes with the #MeToo movement and the increasing demand for gender equality throughout the nation, shows like this one allow for us as students to understand the intersecting identities people hold on our campus. OWN takes a moment to showcase part of someone's identity that you may not have seen before. If you want to know why you need to see a show like this, ask yourself one question: how well do you really know your peers?

Here, there are no boundaries limiting the methods of storytelling or the people who need to tell them. While you might think you know the people around you, often times they have unique experiences related to their culture or struggles, that you have not been exposed to yet.

Not only does this show remind us of that, but it also lets us in on a little secret... We're all not as different as we think. As these pieces are performed on stage, the lights are low over an audience constantly snapping for performers and every year, it just gets better.

It began in 2016 as a one night show, but last year so many people wanted to see it that they extended it to a weekend event with several shows throughout. As something that countless people put a whole lot of time and dedication into, there are always new pieces to be seen and voices to be heard. Maybe some of your friends or peers will be up on that stage this year, either way, they need your support. 

Beyond the performances, the show leaves room for all kinds of expression. There's a collection of buttons in the back (I mean, who doesn't love buttons?), a photo booth and an art gallery of mixed media that you can venture through. There is a multitude of options to see in the gallery, from collages and photos to paintings and structures. Every last one of them helps to outline a woman's identity, in the way that society sees it and the way we see it ourselves. Between the buttons and the gallery, you are sure to find something that catches your eye. 

Every bit of what this show does leads back to the same conclusion—a woman has no single definition. Women are many things, from the cisgender to the transgender, from the outspoken to the quiet. This show is for every single woman identifying student to find a home in.

But... What about our male identifying students?

For every one of you, trust us when we say you’ll regret not going too. Every one of you has women in your lives, from your friends and your professors to your sisters and your mothers. This show isn't just to give women a platform to speak out about who they are, it's also about empowering the women you personally know. 

Everyone has a story to tell. We can all take a couple hours out of our day to discover a little more about them and realize all our lives aren't so different. And if you really need the push, there are snacks too.

Our campus is made up of a plethora of students who come from different cultures, perspectives, and intersectionalities. OWN empowers women at Cal Poly and gives them a platform to share their stories. It opens our eyes to this campus and the people in it, so take one night to join in, to understand a little bit more about what it means to be a woman in the 21st century.

Join us at OWN 2019, April 13th and 14th for a truly unforgettable show. 

So we'll see you there?