We had an amazing night last night kicking off our Feministing tour in Kingston at Queens University in Canada. Miriam, Vanessa, and I were joined by super star Kim, a graduate student in human geography at the university (stay tuned for a guest post of her incredible talk, which earned her a standing ovation!). Thanks to the amazing Martha Polk for coordinating our visit, and The Women’s Empowerment Committee and other groups on campus for bringing us out.
Kim spoke about a range of local concerns, including the difficulty of investing sustainable activism in a town that most students are transient in, and linking theory with action. She also gave other students permission to be angry and encouraged them to pair that anger with humility, and not shy away from challenging and disagreeing with one another. Vanessa spoke about the feminist and not-so-feminist blogosphere, I spoke about the top five myths about young feminists, and Miriam talked about the gender identity crisis in contemporary feminism.
My fave quotes from my co-conspirators:
Miriam: I had to figure out who I wanted to be before I could figure out who I wanted to be with.
Vanessa: So much of the learning process has been through our readers–it’s about the conversation, the accessibility, and talking to other young feminists rather than at them.
The Q&A period following our comments was totally engaging. Students asked a range of great questions and made lots of insightful comments. Many of them centered around exploring why so many young women and men are resistant to the feminist label. Students shared their moments of “coming out” as feminists. There were multiple questions about the role of men in feminism, as well as some exploration of the legacy of the sex positive vs. anti-porn sentiments of 70s feminism. We also discussed strategies for dealing with anti-feminist friends and family.
So as you can see, a totally enlightening night! Unfortunately it took so long for us to get our food post-talk that we missed what I can only guess was an amazing after party: Dance, Dance, Feminist Revolution. Thanks Queens!