How to be a feminist
t was definitely a weekend for social activism. I spent yesterday afternoon with Harvestbird at a seminar titled “How to be a Feminist”. The first hour of the seminar was live-streamed from Sydney, where a panel of notable feminist figures such as Anita Sarkeesian, Roxane Gay and Germaine Greer were talking about what feminism means in 2015, and whether any progress has actually been made in the last 30 years (the panel’s conclusion was no, but I don’t agree – yes, there have been a lot of backwards steps lately, but there’ve also been some big forwards ones. Two steps forwards and one back is frustrating, but it still adds up to slow overall forward movement).
In the second hour of the seminar, a panel of local women (in person this time rather than via the internet) responded to some of the points raised in the first part, and to questions from the audience. I knew almost all of the women by name and reputation if not personally, so it was great to hear their takes on the topic (and especially on the presence of Greer on the Sydney panel, given that she’s made herself rather unpopular lately with her comments about trans* people). And it was inspiring to see the range of ages both on the panel and in the audience – sometimes it feels like feminist is becoming a dirty word to some young women, so it’s nice to see not all of them share that view.
Afterwards, Harvestbird and I retired to a nearby cafe for cake and to further the discussion. There’d been so many interesting ideas raised that I think we could have continued talking about them for many more hours if she hadn’t had to go and retrieve her children.