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What Have YOU Done for the Feminist Movement Lately?

You've heard it all before. Feminism is dead. Third wave feminists are politically apathetic individualists. Third wavers blog and pole-dance and post drunk photos of themselves on Facebook and call it feminism. The latest proclamation of feminism's death/irrelevance/apoliticism/weaknesses comes from a Guardian article titled Sex, drink and fashion. Is this the new face of American feminism?

Like Jessica at Feministing, I'd love to rip this article to shreds, but following her lead I'm going to focus on what feminists all over are doing for the movement...starting with you. What have you done for feminism? Whether it's speaking up when you hear sexist or homophobic jokes or organizing a rally for immigrant women's rights, I want to know what you've done lately to keep feminism alive and well.

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Movie screening

Recently, at my liberal arts college, my Feminist Theory and Methods class organized a movie screening of Marleen Gorris's "A Question of Silence" and held a discussion afterwards. It was pretty successful, with a surprisingly large turn-out.

The Small Things

I like this post. Sometimes, I have to start small...but consistent. And I think speaking up when you hear something ludicrously sexist, ignorant, idiotic or otherwise is a good thing to be consistent about. I'm not talking about being negative or critical/judgmental of a person's every word or action. I'm talking about "keeping feminism alive and well." So what have I done? Starting with my band, of which I am the only female member, it can feelcounterproductive to speak up regarding remarks and jokes, when there is a fine line between the guys being casual and consciously clever in a male-dominated territory and being sexist and ignorant in their conversation or action. I like to make it my business to see that fine line, and point out trash when trash is present. Sometimes it feels so insignificant to them or they didn't even realize the sexist undertones of a comment, an adjective...you know the drill. So I show them. And the progress is theirs to make, but it does get made when the issue is addressed.

I love feeling the difference between someone pretending to care what s/he says to get you off one's back, and someone who now thinks of the implications of what s/he says and reduces the amount of sexism they perpetuate in everyday speech. In the music world, it seems ominous to care, but I do, so I speak the fuck up.

I, too, speak up on the little things ...

I live in a place that's pretty politically conservative (read: predominantly Christian in a regressive way, controlling hetero-normative culture, etc. etc. etc.). So I find that the best way to handle anti-feminist, destructive attitudes/comments/behavior is with humor and by being non-aggressive but firm in correcting things that are just wrong when I see/hear them. One example? When I'm with friends and someone says she's not a "feminist" because she's not a lesbian, or angry, or a man-hater, or because she wants women to work to be equal but not superior (all ridiculous reasons I've heard for women not calling themselves a feminist) I let her know that I consider myself to be a feminist, and what I think the term really means, and I demonstrate by being reasonable / friendly / informed just how normal, healthy, and right-on it is.

what one does

As a dude, I try to hold my dude friends accountable for things they say and do... I'm sure I could do more, but if I totally alienate everyone I won't be able to do anything, right?

I find myself defending the concept of feminism to young women who have been turned off of the term by an unsympathetic media but whose values are very much in line with any functional definition of it that I understand... I promise I don't try to tell women HOW or WHETHER to be feminist, though.

As a rapper, I try to contradict the sexist, misogynist, homophobic, heteronormative messages that saturate our culture at large... when I had a radio show, I would talk about records with messages I had problems with before or after playing them... but again, I have to be careful not to alienate everyone lest all of my efforts backfire, and maybe sometimes I err on the side of complacency? I don't know.

Heh, this question makes me feel defensive and also sheepish. I don't think I've done enough to really toot my horn, I just figure it can't hurt to present as a guy who tries to be helpful. Right?

Sex Positive is the new black...

Oh I feel the need to quote one of my favorite buttons (not sure of the author):

Those who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.

I am one of the many sex positive feminists who are helping women and men re-frame the way they think about sex, relationships and gender. Sex is healthy and pleasure is good for you. My friend Matie and I along with many a feminist across the world are helping people feel better everyday about their bodies, gender identity, sexual orientation or simply pursuing an orgasm. That is feminist and good for the universe. From Nomia in Portland, Maine, to The Rubber Rose in San Diego, CA there are women leading the way in giving healthy sex advice, providing non-toxic sex toys in an unregulated industry and providing books that will shed light on sexual satisfaction.

I can't help but still be buzzing, too, from meeting one of my heroes this past weekend... Betty Dodson (left) with Carlin Ross (right). me=middle.
She first published Liberating Masturbation in 1974... and we're still trying to spread the good word :)

Feminism in South Africa

Yesterday one of my very good friends,he is a gay man, saw that I have Bitch magazine as one of my bookmarks, and he asked me "Are you THAT serious about feminism?". I just looked at him, astonished, and thought to myself that he, of all people, should know what it feels like to have people put a label on you.
Unfortunately that wasn't the first time some one questioned my feminism, or the fact that I'm not a lesbian, but still believe in woman's rights. People, or my friends at least, don't seem to grasp that fact. I was lucky enough to grow up with a mother who taught me what it means to be proud to be a woman, and my father and brother respects us and are proud to call themselves feminist. I just think the negative attitude toward feminist is a major problem in my country, especially where i live, Stellenbosch, Cape town, South Africa. I came to University with the hope of meeting other feminist who are passionate about woman rights, but i find myself being dissapointed.
I will do more for feminism. Starting with my friends and telling them about the every day struggles woman all over the world have.

Magazines like these are the first step to a change. well needed change.

Visual Stimulation

I have just recently gotten a tattoo on my inside lower arm that says Feminist with a cupcake because vegan wheatfree cupcakes and feminisim is awesome. I feel that by having it known to people that I am a feminist, it will hopefully make them think about their everyday life and how they treat people, or ask me about feminisim if they feel like they don't know about it or have any misconceptions. I also work in a locally owned toy store and encounter a lot of sexism all the time and commenly address my customers about it, via "girl toys" & "boy toys"...I think everyday is a feminists struggle in this culture/world by addressing it as respectfully/ as much as possible I feel like I'm doing a pretty good job (could always do better though right?).

girls in STEM

As a female scientist, one of the things I feel most strongly about is getting more women into STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields. Depressingly, some of the worst culprits when it comes to making girls feel as if math and physics are "for boys" are teachers and parents. A colleague and I are developing a girls-only science summer workshop program for girls from poorer backgrounds, we enlist the help of female role models in science and engineering to come out and lead them in projects on complex systems and mathematical modeling. Society does a very good job of discouraging girls from these subjects, and many parents subconsciously feel that females are just not as suited to them as boys. This is obviously bullshit (and has been proven to be bullshit in many large-scale studies), and I would like to make a plea to all the mothers and fathers out there to actively encourage your daughters to get involved in science and ignore the incredibly boring curriculum taught (often incredibly badly) in schools!

STEM is fun!

This is awesome! I'm 28 and all my life thought that I couldn't do math and that sciences were for boys. This year I had two amazing profs at my college and have completely changed my mind about what I want to study. It turns out I love math and am good at it. If I had the opportunity to study math and science in a female focused environment with real women role models I might have figured it all out sooner. Being in sciences in a small college in a small city I have lots of opportunities to discuss feminism with people who don't understand it. I usually am the one pointing out when the only pronoun used is "he" and when the small jokes start to cross the line. One of the guys in my class mentioned to me that he thought is was cool that I pointed these things out and that he had never thought of it before. That made me feel great and like all the times I thought no one noticed were worth it!

STEM is fun!

This is awesome! I'm 28 and all my life thought that I couldn't do math and that sciences were for boys. This year I had two amazing profs at my college and have completely changed my mind about what I want to study. It turns out I love math and am good at it. If I had the opportunity to study math and science in a female focused environment with real women role models I might have figured it all out sooner. Being in sciences in a small college in a small city I have lots of opportunities to discuss feminism with people who don't understand it. I usually am the one pointing out when the only pronoun used is "he" and when the small jokes start to cross the line. One of the guys in my class mentioned to me that he thought is was cool that I pointed these things out and that he had never thought of it before. That made me feel great and like all the times I thought no one noticed were worth it!

Feminist collective

A group of young women in my town and I have organized a young feminist collective. We meet twice a month, with one meeting for young women-identified feminists only and the second meeting open to all feminists/anyone interested in feminism. We've had movie nights, discussions and learn-ins, and plan to have all kinds of fun, celebratory events where we can activist it up in the near future. I think it's important to join together with others who also consider themselves feminist, whether that's in groups or organizations, with friends, or online.

FEM Newsmagazine!

It's a sad thing when articles like that pretty much dismiss the many feminists out there doing what they can to combat sexism, racism, classism, homophobia, and the many other -isms of the world. I do my part by being involved in the UCLA feminist publication FEM, of which I am currently editor-in-chief. Our publication shows that there are plenty of up and coming young women doing their part to get the word "feminist" out there! Check out our website at www.femmagazine.com. Our newest issue will be up there soon!

What I've done.

My dad doesn't let my little sister (13) shave her legs, so when I got the two of them together I questioned him and explained to her that her body belonged to her and no-one else, and explained to them that no-man should ever have the right to tell her what she can and cannot do with it. Yeah, I know it's something pretty small, but every little step counts.

I've been challenging

I've been challenging misogynistic, homophobic, etc. comments, protesting for gay rights, organizing (somewhat) at my school and online, and questioning EVERYTHING.

Once I'm old enough I'm planning on doing much more. First step- radical cheerleading in college.

If feminism supposes

If feminism supposes fighting sexism- then I'm a true feminist. I'm always taking tiny steps in "helping" the feminist movement, and I really want to go to the next level. But I wonder who can tell me where do I go next? Drinking, running around nude and f*cking around- like it was mentioned in "feministing" isn't for me and this image is entirely false. So, put me on the way!