The Fire This Time: Young Women and the Future of Feminism
Courtney Martin, our amazing Editor, writer and activist extraordinaire and Charreah Jackson, Associate Editor at Essence.com
The Personal is Still Political
Feminist upbringing: Feminist mom, founded the longest running women’s film festival in the world (Rocky Mtn Women’s Film Fest).
But I needed to reject this upbringing, because feminism was not cool in high school. I wasn’t owning my feminism yet.
I went to Barnard college–and was shocked by the unhealthiness around me. One of the things my parents thought me was to trust my outrage–that’s why I wrote Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters. Our mother’s told us we could do anything, and we decided we had to be everything. Why? The answers could be found in feminist books.
Gloria Feldt: A movement must move. I move it in my writing, at Feministing, as a columnist, in my books. Sometimes I think we need to have a systemic analysis.
I move my feminism in unlikely places–with my often well-meaning and very confused guy friends.
I grew up in Atlanta Georgia and I always saw amazing women running things. I read about feminism in my history books but I thought, we’ve made it past that. We’ve arrived. I read about Sojourner Truth and feminists like Audre Lorde and Lorraine Hansberry. Strong communities start with strong families, which start with two people being a couple. That’s why I focus on healthy relationships. Journalism and Women’s Institute, where I met amazing women who have broken so much ground as journalists. People think it’s a dated word, but it’s not. As long as we’re still getting paid less, it isn’t over.
Where are young women and what the heck are they doing?
Courtney: Feministing has 500,000 unique readers a month. That matches Ms. Magazine at it’s largest circulation. 652 Women and Gender Studies programs in the US. All of those young people are getting exposed to these ideas. Young women participate in Take Back the Night, Vagina Monologues.
The amazing young people I’ve profiled for my book really understand intersectionality. None of them are working at NOW or are identified narrowly with feminism, but all of them are doing intersectional feminist work.
What are our challenges?
Charreah: Intersectionality. Money, Power and Respect. Women still don’t get paid what men do. We are really concerned with our reproductive rights–all of them. Technology is revealing what’s going on all over the world and connecting us. We are a generation of identity seekers.
They ended with an awesome joint poem, Power in Prose: To the Feminist Foremothers. “We thank you.”