Women Empowerment: One Scrapbook Page at a Time


Huma Manjra

“To make a change is to reach out to people and to put yourself in [an] uncomfortable situation.” Carolyn Dodenhoff, President of the Tolerance club, stayed true to her mantra, strolled out of her comfort zone, and is now embarking on a journey to impact the lives of other young women around her.
Dodenhoff is currently working on a project that screams “women empowerment”–in big bold letters. Her goal is to compile pieces of artwork, poetry, and reflections from all the young women at Culver City High School and turn it into a beautiful scrapbook. The collage of all these multimedia art pieces will represent the powerful voices of women from different age groups, ethnicities, religious backgrounds, and sexual orientations. She will also work alongside the Muslim Student Association Club and the Black Student Union to gather as many different viewpoints from students around the school.
After the results of this year’s election, Dodenhoff was appalled and concerned at the way things were looking out for the fellow women of this generation. “It is heartbreaking to see this much misogyny in our society and to see how much women are undermined and degraded”, she explains. Dodenhoff being a passionate feminist and strong believer in women empowerment, she is now even more shattered to know that words like prejudice, discrimination, and objectification will be thrown around against women like piercing knives, cutting up and reopening the scars of sexism that have been buried so long ago.
At one point, Dodenhoff felt completely hopeless and let down. However, she soon realized that what’s done is done and decided to put all her energy into focusing on women and the changes she could make for them. “I wanted to convert all this negative energy into positive energy,” Dodenhoff says while talking about plans to start small and focus on the women at her school and in her community. She wants to later on showcase this scrapbook to the community and give it as a gift to local places around the community.
Her whole point in producing this scrapbook is to “showcase diversity” and “women empowerment”. She hopes to reach out to all the young Muslim women, Black, Latino, and white, and lesbian or bisexual women, and every other woman with a voice and a desire for change. She hopes to dig deep within them and help them pull out the fight they never knew that existed within them. She hopes to make their cries and voices resonate throughout the community; make their actions and proposals taken seriously; and–most importantly–their identification and representation be recognized and accepted with peace.
Being a white women in a sea of diverse races, Dodenhoff strongly owns her identity and hopes to use her “white privilege” as a way to lift up and encourage women–to show them that, even in times of despair and hopelessness, every woman has her own voice and her own vibrant beauty to offer. But most importantly, that every single woman has the right to proudly look sexism, androcentrism, and misogyny in the eye and defy it while holding her head high and leaving a path of footsteps resonating for all the female generation afterwards to follow.