The Venus Society Apollo Club Focuses On Challenges For Women And Girls

By Angela Oliver
Messenger-Inquirer, Owensboro, Ky.

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) “The Venus Society” — named after the Roman goddess of love — is a club at a Kentucky high school club whose purpose is to spread love, dismantle stereotypes and raise awareness about challenges for women.

Messenger-Inquirer, Owensboro, Ky.

Feminism (noun) fem·i·nism 1: the belief that women and men should have equal rights and opportunities. 2: organized activity on behalf of women’s rights and interests.

While feminism makes room for anyone who supports equal rights and treatment for the sexes, many see the the term as threatening or exclusive. Feminist was part of the original name of a club Lyric Payne established at Apollo High School, but harsh pushback from some of her schoolmates led her to change the name.

Now the Venus Society — named after the Roman goddess of love — the club has kept its purpose as an empowerment tool for young women at the forefront.

“We got a lot of hate for that name,” said Payne. “It’s still about female empowerment but we changed the name to show everyone it’s not just open to women.”

Each week, the group draws a topic from a box — from women’s rights to poverty to gun violence — then scribbles their immediate thoughts on the boards, and social studies teacher Lauren Goffinet facilitates the discussion.

Goffinet seems easygoing and humorous. Her classroom walls are covered in quirky posters and quotes and student drawings. Her connection to her students is apparent.

They told her she was the first teacher they thought of when they were looking for a club sponsor.

“If they wanted a safe space to voice their opinions and be heard, I wanted to provide it. How could I say no?” she said. “It can be difficult to express your thoughts and beliefs when they’re seen as different, especially in this area. You can face a lot of resistance, a lot of ridicule. But these kids are brave. They have very strong, meaningful discussions here.”

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