The Wednesday Weigh-In: Coping with grief and trauma

a young girl mourns in Norway after the deadly shooting

A woman mourns after a deadly terrorist attack in Norway.

This week’s Wednesday weigh-in deals with grief, trauma, and how to cope.

76 are dead and dozens more injured after a devastating terrorist massacre took place in Norway on Friday. These numbers are hard for me to comprehend. The loss of life, the violence, the ensuing shock and fear, can feel pretty unbearable, especially when details have emerged demonstrating that the Norway killer hated women.

For this reason and more, this episode has struck a raw nerve with many feminists. As Jill pointed out on Feministe, he uses a lot of the same tropes as Men’s Rights Activists. Nona Willis Aronowitz has written a great piece for Good Magazine about when anti-woman rhetoric and violence hits home.

It seems like an appropriate time to examine the relationship between feminism and grief.

A few months ago blogger TopHat wrote an excellent post about feminism and grief:

Where do the angry feminists come from?

…Angry feminists exist because we have experienced a loss in our worldview and are grieving. We can deny the sexism in our culture for only so long. Then we are hit with pain and fear: and we get angry. Yes, I was angry last week, last month, last year, but sometimes anger comes back because I haven’t finished grieving and I need to cycle through it again.

I love the idea of leaving room in feminism for a grieving process that occurs after an awakening of consciousness. It’s useful for me to think of feminism as a kind of coping mechanism for the pain of living in an unjust or unequal society. With these thoughts in mind, this week’s Wednesday weigh in question is:

What role does grief play in your feminism? What do you do to cope with grief inspired by personal or public tragedy?

Brooklyn, NY

Lori Adelman started blogging with Feministing in 2008, and now runs partnerships and strategy as a co-Executive Director. She is also the Director of Youth Engagement at Women Deliver, where she promotes meaningful youth engagement in international development efforts, including through running the award-winning Women Deliver Young Leaders Program. Lori was formerly the Director of Global Communications at Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and has also worked at the United Nations Foundation on the Secretary-General's flagship Every Woman Every Child initiative, and at the International Women’s Health Coalition and Human Rights Watch. As a leading voice on women’s rights issues, Lori frequently consults, speaks and publishes on feminism, activism and movement-building. A graduate of Harvard University, Lori has been named to The Root 100 list of the most influential African Americans in the United States, and to Forbes Magazine‘s list of the “30 Under 30” successful mediamakers. She lives in Brooklyn, NY.

Lori Adelman is an Executive Director of Feministing in charge of Partnerships.

Read more about Lori

Join the Conversation