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Photo Courtesy of Michelle Wen '19

March 16, 2017

#ReadMyLips Campaign Allows Students to Respond to Trump Policy

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Uniting with students nationwide to publicly voice their opinions about women’s rights, reproductive health and the Trump administration’s policy, Cornellians are joining in on the #ReadMyLips campaign.

Members of the Cornell Marketing Organization’s Mogul project team are bringing the #ReadMyLips campaign — which encourages people to share their grievances, hopes and opinions in the form of letters to President Donald Trump — to Ithaca.

The #ReadMyLips campaign is one of several created by the technology platform Mogul. With hubs on 24 college campuses nationwide, Mogul establishes a network that enable women to share their voices, connect and access information.

So far, the Cornell community has seemed receptive to the campaign, according to Michelle Wen ’19, president of Mogul at Cornell. The group plans to hold an event — from 4 to 7 p.m. in Mann Library on March 27 — for students to add their individual contributions to the campaign.

“Recently we decided on a date for our university-wide event … We’re going to have individuals write their messages and we’re going to collage them on a larger lip-collage,” Wen said. “We’re hoping that this event can create even more awareness for the campaign.”

One of the CMO members involved with Cornell’s Mogul Hub, Estefani Romano ’19, said that she felt the #ReadMyLips campaign provided a uniquely open platform for “expressing how we feel about the Presidency … what we hope, what we want to see in the next four years.”

The letters will be printed and delivered to the White House on April 21, 2017, “in [the form of] a beautiful statue,” according to their website. One unique feature of this statue: it will be in the shape of a giant vagina.

For one member of the Cornell Hub, Jenny Gray ’18, the use of vagina imagery was initially worrying, because it excluded women who don’t have vaginas.

However from contact with Mogul, Gray gained confidence in the campaign, recognizing the importance of emphasizing this imagery especially in the wake of the 2016 election.

“There was a lot of buzz about the whole ‘grab them by the pussy’ thing, and I think this campaign is a way to combat that,” Gray said. “I think it also is specifically in response to the fact that vaginas are very taboo.”

Gray added that “the overall goals and the way that Mogul has approached this has been all about inclusivity” and mentioned the importance of diversity in movements like #ReadMyLips.

“Even for things like feminism right now, we’re starting to focus a lot more on intersectionality, and even though that confuses some people … it’s good for feminists because then we acknowledge more and more people and ultimately can unite and be stronger,” Gray said.

Like Gray, Wen also emphasized the openness in Mogul’s platform from the supportive network it provides.

“All individuals out there … you don’t have to identify with a certain gender or religion or any political background — we’re all there to support women and we feel that equality is something we want to strive for,” Wen said. “And it’s an issue that President Trump should really take into light as well.”

For Gray, the involvement of all students in the campaign is key.

“I think that all college students, no matter what they’re studying, if they’re passionate about something, especially something like women’s rights, they will be able to build on their studies based on that passion,” she said.

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