WHAT SIMILARITIES AND DIFFERENCES DO YOU SEE IN THE FEMINIST MOVEMENT FROM THE 70S TO NOW? I think the essence of feminism is being politicized by the realization that something you face as an individual -- like street harassment or being unable to access reproductive health care -- is in fact a collective political issue borne of a system that values certain lives over others. The Women’s Liberation Movement of the 1970’s organized consciousness raising groups to bring women together to talk about the issues they experienced to both make those important connections and foster relationships amongst women by showing them they were not alone. My generation’s consciousness raising groups are often online -- we use Twitter and Facebook and blogs to share our experiences, learn about those of others, and make connections with other people. I think the internet has changed both how feminists are politicized and how we organize. The barriers to participation, while they still exist, are much lower, which means that we are able to benefit from a much deeper and diverse range of voices and experiences. We are shaping the our movement’s ideology by dialoguing in real time and supporting and learning from organizing around the world that we might not have known about without the internet. It’s also much easier for many folks to sign an online petition or participate in a feminist Twitter chat like #sheparty than show up to a protest or engage in a sit in. The point is not that the Forth Wave, which is what I call my generation of feminism, doesn’t do offline organizing to reach our goals. But I think it’s quite fair to say that most effective organizing has an online component.
NECESSARILY CONSIDER? As part of the backlash to feminism, our culture has siloed women’s issues into those that relate to parenting, reproduction, and quantifiable inequality like the pay gap. But every issue is a feminist issue. Feminists must be antiracist because racism colors how all genders of people of color live in the world. We must work against homophobia and transphobia because both are rooted in sexism and gender essentialism. We have to be vigilant about tech policy because free and open access to the internet is imperative to connecting and organizing. The fight for immigrant rights is our fight because women and their families are the most impacted by discrimination against immigrants. The environment and food policy are feminist issues because women globally are most responsible for providing food, water, and shelter for their families. If you’re interested in an issue, it’s a feminist one because they all are! ARE THERE ANY MUST-READS (OR WATCH!) FOR BUDDING FEMINISTS? I think a classic place to start is Feminism is For Everybody by bell hooks because it lays out how oppressions and therefore feminist fights are connected. Another great resource for young feminists just coming into their own is Click: When We Knew We Were Feminists, which is a collection of essays edited by Courtney Martin and Courtney Sullivan by feminists of a diverse range of identities discussing the experience that made them identify with the word. Finally, some of the great writing I’ve seen recently by young feminists is online by the girls of SPARK Movement. That can be found at www. sparksummit.com.
HOW CAN WE CHANGE THE NEGATIVE STEREOTYPE OF FEMINISTS INTO WHAT ARE SOME ISSUES RELATED ONE OF POSITIVITY, CHANGE, AND TO FEMINISM THAT MOST DON’T EMPOWERMENT? DECEMBER 2013
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