With an abundance of clubs on campus, it can be difficult to keep track of all the incredible initiatives being pursued at McGill. This week, I had the opportunity to interview Andrea Gantous, the VP Media and Design executive for HeForShe McGill.
Maddy Evans for Her Campus (HC McGill): Hi Andrea, thanks so much for speaking with us today! First, can you tell us a little about yourself?
Andrea Gantous: I’m in U2, studying Honours International Development and minoring in Gender, Sexuality, Feminist and Social Justice studies. I’m the VP Media and Design of HeForShe McGill so I create the promotional material as well as run our social media and oversee media projects.
HC McGill: Thank you! Now, what is HeForShe, for people who may not be familiar with the organization?
Andrea Gantous: HeForShe is a UN Women organization that strives for gender equality, with an emphasis on getting people from all genders involved. It’s distinct from a lot of other feminist clubs on campus because of the focus on involving men in particular. We try to promote awareness about how gender inequality persists today and how equality benefits everyone.
HC McGill: How and why did you decide to get involved with HeForShe at McGill? And, what are the sorts of projects and initiatives you do through HeForShe?
Andrea Gantous: I got involved with HeForShe in the Fall of my first year when the club was first founded at McGill after hearing about it in high school. It stuck with me in particular because it strives not only for female empowerment, but also breaking down toxic masculinity and opening doors for people of all genders. Some of my projects include Portraits for Equality, an ongoing photography project for which we interview people from the McGill community about their personal experiences involving gender inequality, and last year I spearheaded a video at a primary school in Montreal that illuminated how early on gender stereotypes are ingrained in the minds of children.
HC McGill: What do you think are some of the biggest misconceptions surrounding feminism or the gender equality movement?
Andrea Gantous: I know a lot of people are scared off by the “feminist” label. It’s, unfortunately, a loaded term because of the “feminazi” idea and the root being “fem”—many think it’s a women-only movement. But feminism isn’t a movement solely focused on women. It’s definitely not trying to raise women above men or the suggestion that all men are pigs. It’s not just for far-left-wing Gen Z liberals. Feminism is simply the belief in the equality of men and women.
HC McGill: And lastly, do you have any advice for anyone looking to get involved with HeForShe at McGill, or with the gender equality movement in general?
Andrea Gantous: Don’t be afraid to reach out! Check out our events and message us on Facebook! Taking the first step to join a movement like this may seem daunting, but we’re all just people who share a common goal. I urge anyone passionate about the cause to make little changes in their lives that promote gender equality, like setting a good example in the ways you treat those of other genders, calling others out for misogynist comments, and speaking up when you see people encouraging toxic masculinity! The little things go a long way.
Images Obtained From:
Other Images Provided by Interviewee.