A total of 56 people wrote signs expressing their views on some aspect of women’s rights issues, then allowed themselves to be photographed for the Women’s Issues Photo Shoot, a project that can now be viewed on Facebook.

A total of 56 people wrote signs expressing their views on some aspect of women’s rights issues, then allowed themselves to be photographed for the Women’s Issues Photo Shoot, a project that can now be viewed on Facebook.

“It was wonderful to see how many times this album has been shared,” said Rithu Chillal, Pittsburg State University psychology student. “We’ve been posted to several websites and blogs.”

She said she got the idea for doing the photo shoot after Laura Washburn, PSU English faculty member, posted a link on Facebook to a similar project.

“That project was specifically about women’s reproductive rights,” Chillal said. “I thought  it would be great to do something  similar at PSU, but also focus on women’s issues in general, not just reproductive issues.”

That’s when Hannah Martin got involved.

“I graduated last May from PSU with a sociology degree and a minor in women’s studies,” Martin said. “I’m a little bit of a photographer and an
activist.”

“Around two weeks ago we sat down and figured out where we were going to set up and getting a camera,” Chillal said. “Last week we stationed ourselves by the bronze gorilla and did the photo shoot. I wasn’t quite sure what  to expect, but I knew that what we were doing was a positive thing.”

“People showed up and some stayed a few hours,”  Martin said. “One man from Saudi Arabia said I should go and try to help the women there. I almost cried. There was no opposition at all and nobody yelled at us. It was very upbeat.”

She said that women were allowed to write anything they wished, just so long as it pertained to some aspect of women’s issues.

“One woman wrote ‘Real Men Respect Women,’ and a little girl wrote ‘This Is What a Feminist Looks Like,’”  Martin said.

Chillal is especially pleased that some people are talking about doing a similar project to the photo shoot.

“It’s good to inspire other people to do something like this,” she said.

Chillal, who expects to be at PSU for another couple of years, said she would definitely be interested in continuing to do women’s issues
projects. She’s already got a background in organizing activities, and twice served as director for productions of  “The Vagina Monologues” at
PSU. In 2007 the PSU Women’s Studies Council honored her with the Excellence in Social Justice Award for her work as organizer, director and cast member of the 2007 PSU V-Day. That event included a production of Eve Ensler’s  “The Vagina Monologues,” which helped raise $2,000 for the Crisis Resource Center of Southeast Kansas.

Originally from Coffeyville, Chillal hopes to go into mental health counseling.

“I think it would be great to do counseling in the area of helping victims of abuse,” she said.

Martin, from Edna, left Wednesday to head for Washington, D.C.

“I’m starting an new job, and working on progressive campaigns,” Martin said.