intersectional version of rosie the reveter!

A Feminist Resolution for 2017: Making Marginalized Voices Your New Normal

2016 has been a year we’d all like to see the back of, and it’s been the toughest for marginalized people: women, people of color, indigenous people and activists, refugees, and so on.

In 2017, we all face an uphill battle: to rally ourselves to organize and fight for a safer community in the face of authoritarian right wing terror. To do this, we need to be informed, aware and attuned to all the communities that are threatened most by the new regime. One way we can prepare ourselves is to amplify and normalize marginalized voices and ensure our personal consumption of media – whether for news or entertainment – is representative.

Of course, individual action doesn’t correct systemic disenfranchisement. Our choices as consumers of political or entertainment media won’t shift who owns the means of production and whose interests they serve. But it’s important not to let the tyranny of systemic oppression paralyze us from building our own rich world where we amplify, and give rightful importance and credit to, each other.

And this exercise isn’t an attempt to build a ‘safe space’ or ‘echo chamber’ (two terms that the right bizarrely equates) to block out conflicting opinions or wall ourselves within a bubble. It’s an active attempt to step out of the echo chambers we find ourselves already in: where white male voices dominate, are awarded for their mediocrity, and are amplified disproportionately to their importance.

This isn’t about empty identity politics, either: to claim that is to suggest that it’s an intellectual, social or moral downgrade to choose to consume media that is at the very least proportionally representative of female and WOC voices. And, by the same token, though, committing to female media doesn’t mean a blind commitment to the likes of Ann Coulter or Katie Hopkins. The idea behind creating a rich culture of marginalized voices to tap into is to seek out marginalized voices that speak to the interests of their communities, not to the interests of the rich, powerful, cis white establishment.

Here are five resolutions to get you started on how to make women’s voices the norm, rather than the aberration or the token, in your home or community in 2017:

1. Amplify female journalism. The tirade of angry, un-intersectional, and mark-missing think pieces by boring white men on even trusted leftist news sources has made a nuanced and intersectional approach to politics hard to find. Their cloying and superior tone also makes it hard to approach a world that is so fucked up with the care, kindness, thought, balance, confusion, and resolution that we need. Follow your favorite journalists on Twitter and keep up to date on their politics, writing, and musings. Develop a trove of female voices that you can go to and trust, to report on, but also muse about, all the issues that will continue to plague our world. Support these female journalists by amplifying and sharing their voices.

2. Reject all-male echo chambers. The political podcast has risen over the past few years as a great source for people to listen to roundtables on political issues. There’s absolutely no excuse for all male roundtables and all male podcast editions in 2017, however — we don’t need men bouncing their ideas off other men, validating other men, and ignoring and silencing female voices. Whether it’s the ‘dirtbag left’, Democracy Now! interviews, or NPR, make a feminist pledge to give no time to the spaces that exclude women.

3. Resolving to read more fiction this year? Commit to female authors! People often resolve to read more books, come the new year. If you’re looking to make a commitment to reading more this year, whether it’s a book a week, month, or year, why not resolve to actively seek out female authors? Sexism in literature — i.e., what is considered worthy literature, and who is considered worthy of publication — is well documented and rampant. Reject rewarding the mediocrity of misogynistic male voices and fill your shelves with female authors, famous and niche, in 2017.

4. Looking to read more nonfiction, or engage in academic research? By the same token as above, if you’re looking to read more to expand your knowledge on anything — whether it’s history or politics or current affairs — why not make an attempt to seek out women authors to help you out? Female academics face sexist bias, are cited less, and receive less credit for their contribution to collaborative group academic projects. Whether it’s your personal reading list or your research paper bibliography, in 2017, fight the bias favoring men in academia.

5. Check your activist spaces. Organizing and activist movements should take up much of our time, energy, and emotional and physical space in 2017. But any of us who have been involved in these spaces know the perils of lionizing and hero-worshipping the men in those spaces, and the potential that opens up for abuse, sexism and misogyny, even in spaces that profess to be against those things. Reaffirm, amplify, and put at the forefront women, especially women of color, in your activist movements — whether it’s in person, at teach ins, sit ins, demonstrations, or published online.

A new year’s resolution to fill ourselves with the richness, nuance, and critical thought will benefit and expand our own worlds. It will also be a meaningful way to uplift our own, and other, oppressed communities. In 2017, it’s crucial way to help us fight on.


Meg is a law student in California. She's interested in law and politics, intersectional feminism, criminal justice, human rights, freedom of the press, the law and feminism, and the politics of South Asia.

Meg is a law student in California. She's interested in law and gender, race and criminal justice, human rights, cats, and sports.

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