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July 31, 2017 | by  | in The Queer Agenda |
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Queer Agenda

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”

Romeo and Juliet, Act II, Scene II (William Shakespeare)

 

This famous quote might work when trying to persuade someone that there’s no need to buy expensive brand names when the knock-offs are just as good, but when it comes to the realm of identity, names are important. Juliet goes on to tell Romeo to cast off his name, “which is no part of [him],” so that he is able to marry her. She argues that his qualities  would stay the same if he wasn’t called Montague — and yes, this is true. However, by doffing the identifier Montague, Romeo would be shedding a negative association, and reshaping his personal identity as a man not tied to the family Montague. He would be perceived by others differently. His name matters, otherwise why would so much hang in the balance of his changing it?

Bear with me in this pretentious close text analysis — there is relevance! This year, the previously named VUW Women’s Group rebranded itself as the Victoria University Feminist Organisation (VicUFO). To better reflect the group’s mission, they should get rid of the “Women” identifier in their name — especially since the group had never been just about women in the first place. VicUFO de-gendered their organisation, making it more inclusive to people who don’t identify as women but still share the same goals, or exist under the gender minority umbrella.

Importantly, VicUFO chose to include “feminist” in their name in an attempt to further de-stigmatise a term that has become fraught with negative connotations. They are making their statement of advocacy clear. More than that, by saying that VicUFO is open to students of all creeds, genders, races, and ages, the organisation is expanding the term to include gender minority and intersectional representation, a goal that UniQ heartily approves of.

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