A new Facebook campaign under the name Oxford Women Self-Care has been founded, with the intention of providing a safe space for self-identifying women to “share tips about self care, vent about crappy mental health stuff and generally help each other out”.
This campaign, founded on 14th April, is modelled on a similar project at Cambridge University, and has over 300 members.
One of the founders and admins, Rowan Davis, commented: “A brief glance at the hastily added women’s toilets in old departments and colleges, the harassment policy that was only updated in the last year thanks to the work of women campaigners, the lack of basic accessibility (from ramps to hearing loops to decent lecture halls), and an attitude to suspending status and mental health that harks back to the dark ages clearly demonstrates that we go to a university built for neurotypical, able-bodied, men (I would also add that the archetypal Oxford student is white, heterosexual and cisgender).
“Living in the confines of such an institution it is a radical act for women to come together and share ideas and techniques for overcoming stresses that so many of us face. With that in mind a group of us set up the women’s self-care group to mimic the success of the CUSU one in the hopes that we would be able to collectively overcome some of the struggles that Oxford Uni puts in our way.”
Alexander Hill, a first year History student and feminist, added: “I think it’s fair enough. I don’t think men should be totally excluded from feminist discussions, but in some cases men in groups such as Cuntry Living can be overly aggressive in their comments. It makes sense that there should be safe spaces for women, especially because there are some issues such as sexual abuse which people might not be comfortable discussing in a wider group.”
The foundation of Oxford Women’s Self Care comes following accusations of trolling and inappropriate behaviour by some members of the Facebook group Cuntry Living, including the ejection of OUCA President Jan Nedvidek.
One anonymous commenter added that, although “a self-care group is a great idea, it does seem slightly like a women’s only Cuntry Living which has been made to escape the (normally male) trolls. This is quite a sad reflection on how many men in Oxford view student feminism.”