January 21, 2011

Young — and not so — feminists speak out in Santa Monica

Written by Hugo Schwyzer. Originally posted at Hugo Schwyzer. Cross-posted with permission.

Last night, I went with some friends to the Young Feminists Speak Out event in Santa Monica, co-sponsored by Ms Magazine and other progressive organizations. I knew several of the organizers through Ms and the Feminist Majority (the offices of which are walking distance from my house).

The gathering was at a fun and funky clothing store. Boys with long hair were jamming on guitars when I walked in and made my way to the “bar” for a diet Coke in a plastic cup. I joked to my friend Monica that it was like going to progressive events in the Eighties: the same music, the same plastic cups, the same sorts of flyers on tables. I had a flashback to Berkeley, circa 1985: back then the flyers at feminist gatherings decried militarism and encouraged organizing to support the Sandinistas and divesting from South Africa; today, they decry militarism and demand withdrawal from Afghanistan and the closing of Guantanamo. It’s a mighty over-used cliché, but plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

But the speakers were terrific, including Melanie Klein (of Feminist Fatale and a fellow community college women’s studies prof); Morgane Richardson, Brie from Revolution of Real Women and Miranda Petersen and Myra Duran, both from Feminist Majority. (I’m sure I’m leaving someone out.) I got to meet some great folks whose work I admire, like Pia Guerrero, the founder of Adios Barbie. We had many of the heavy hitters of SoCal feminist activism all together, and that was wonderful.

Events like these, as several people pointed out, are less common in Los Angeles than they are in San Francisco or New York. Angelenos famously have a reputation for refusing to drive long distances for events on weeknights, though that’s more a stereotype than reality. I had students who came from the northern San Fernando Valley and from east of Pasadena, spending more than an hour on freeways to get to the event on Lincoln Avenue. Whatever the reason, gatherings like this are rarer than they probably ought to be.

The discussion got off to an awkward start, as the older folks in the room picked up on what we know was unintentional ageism. One panelist in her twenties said that an “older generation of feminists had fliers, we have Twitter.” My forty three year-old self looked at my dear friend and collaborator Shira Tarrant, who was standing with me in the back of the room. Shira and I are old enough to be the parents of most of the speakers – and we were the ones with our iPhones and Blackberrries in hand, tweeting live updates. (Check the hashtag #femla.) It was an innocent but annoying mistake that we hear a lot: the speaker had confused the kind of tools we used for organizing when we were their age with the kind of tools we use for organizing now. At least in my circle of activists, some of the most social-media savvy feminists (the ones with heavy Facebook, blogging, and Twitter presences) are old enough to remember Watergate. We don’t stop learning new tricks when we turn 40, people!

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January 13, 2011

Young Feminists Speak Out: Los Angeles

Miranda Petersen and I will be moderating a kick-a$$ panel that continues the conversation More Magazine began last November with their article, What the New Feminists Look Like. Join us for music by the Sun Warshippers, a panel discussion + Q& A with LA-area feminists followed by fun feminist mixing.

CREATED BY:

Morgane Richardson, Myra Duran, Alexandra Garcia and Miranda Petersen

TIME:

Thursday, January 20, 2011 @ 6:30PM

LOCATION:

Livity Outernational @ 2401 Lincoln Blvd, Santa Monica CA

FEATURED PANELISTS:

Myra Duran – Young Feminist Organizer, graduated from the UCLA with a B.A. in Women’s Studies with a concentration in  women of color feminism and a minor in Labor and Workplace Studies. She  began her journey fighting for women’s rights as an intern for AF3IRM.  She continued to pursue women’s issues and empowerment when she became a campus team intern for the Feminist Majority Foundation. The beginning  seed for activism had been planted there and later developed into a  heavy love for exposing the truth where she spearheaded FMF’s Campaign  to Expose Fake Clinics at UCLA with Bruin Feminists for Equality.  Serving on the Bruin Feminists’ executive board helped her increase  campus and student awareness on women’s rights, women’s issues, and  women’s empowerment. Most recently, Myra worked as a research organizer for the UCLA Labor Center’s California  Construction Academy and served on the Young Women’s Leadership Council  for the Pro-choice Public Education Project. She currently works as a  National Campus Organizer for the Feminist Majority Foundation.

Tani Ikeda – Director and Filmmaker with  ImMEDIATE Justice , is an award winning director who creates narratives, documentaries, music videos, and commercial projects. She is the Co-founder and director of  imMEDIAte Justice, a program that trains young women in media literacy  and sexuality education, and was named one of the 25 visionaries of 2010 by the Utne Reader.

Jollene Levid – is the National Chairperson of  Af3irm the Association of Filipinas, Feminists, Fighting Imperialism, Re-feudalization, and Marginalization. AF3IRM a transnational feminist, anti-imperialist women’s organization with chapters in NY, NJ, Boston, the Bay Area, San Diego, Orange County, Riverside, and LA. AF3IRM, formerly known as Gabriela Network, has been active for 21 years and its 3 campaign areas include Immigrant Rights, the fight against US imperialist wars, and the Purple Rose Campaign against the trafficking of women and children.

Morgane Richardson – Professional feminist,social media firm and Founder of Refuse The Silence: Women of Color Speak Out. Her reflections on women, race  and education have been published in numerous blogs and magazines
including, Bitch, Feministing, University of Venus and More Magazine. Aside from earning a degree with an all-too lengthy title Morgane spent her time at Middlebury College shaking up the status quo and demanding respect for her peers’ rights.  After graduation Morgane put her experience as a campus organizer, Posse Scholar, and her innate awesomeness, to use toward a career as a professional Feminist.  In 2008 she founded Refuse The Silence, an initiative that encourages women of color who are currently enrolled in or have attended elite liberal arts colleges in the United States to share their stories. In 2009 she co-founded a successful social media  firm, Mixtape Media, which works on pro-social campaigns for clients like Russell Simmons  and the United Nations.  And in 2010 she has taken on a new role as  Workshop Genius, traveling the country working with students and  administrators to reconcile the existing hegemony within elite academia  with the desire for diverse campuses.

Morgane is fourth wave antiracist feminist – approaching her generation’s  inherited economic, environmental, and social issues with an innovative  flair, a progressive mindset, and a practical implementation.

Brianne ‘Brie’ Widaman (a.k.a. ‘Brie’) – President and Founder, Revolution of Real Women™, a global movement advocating the empowerment of females in reclaiming their freedom of individuality, self-esteem and unique beauty. RRW™ was created out of Brianne’s diverse background in a broad range of areas from politics and broadcast journalism to her experiences in acting, modeling and working in the music industry. Since graduating from the world-renowned Berklee College of Music in Boston with her Bachelor’s Degree in Music Business and Management, her work has taken her to Nashville, Las Vegas and finally back to LA where she grew up. As a survivor of her battle with anorexia and bulimia, she now serves as a leading public advocate for those who suffer from eating disorders, self-esteem and body-image related issues. Today, REVOLUTION OF REAL WOMEN™ has grown to over 20,000 members across the web and serves as a sound voice of reason within the image-making machine that is ‘Hollywood.’ RRW™has truly come to embody its slogan – ‘Be the MEDIA you wish to see in the world.™’