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Defining feminism

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Kristen Kolenz

on 16 May 2016

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Transcript of Defining feminism

The Third Wave
Pop Culture Feminism
A short history of feminist organizing and social movements
What is a feminist?
Defining feminism
Monday, May 16, 2016
What is a feminist to you?
Do you consider yourself a feminist?
Write a response in your journal. Explain why or why not and how you think your identification as feminist or not will affect your engagement in class.
Think about how the readings for today affect your self-identification and understanding of feminist values.
Freire and Reagon
Journal question: How do the politics that Freire and Reagon present contextualize the way we will learn together? Are their politics feminist?

Consider who does the teaching and learning in the classrooms that Freire describes. Where do we draw the sources of knowledge from?
What is the role of comfort for Reagon? When are we doing the best coalition work? What might the relationship between the coalitions that Reagon talks about and our virtual classroom?
Feminism is a method of INQUIRY and ANALYSIS
Do I have to be a feminist to do well in this class?
No. You must USE feminism as a method of inquiry and analysis.
We will talk more about what this means in the next lecture.
Remember that while your personal opinions are important and can aid us in learning together, we will be approaching the course topics from a scholarly perspective. We will ask ourselves how can we think in a feminist way and how feminism offers perspectives on equality and justice.
A few things to keep in mind:
The story begins around 150 years ago

The over-arching goal of this organizing has been to improve women's position in society.

The focus and priorities of the movements are diverse and always changing.
Why did women begin organizing in the 19th and early 20th century?
Right to vote
Access to education
Property rights
Access to divorce (right to custody of children)
What else is happening in the U.S. at this time?
The forced removal of Indigenous/First Nation peoples from their lands.
In 1866, the Civil Rights Act grants citizenship to black men.
The first successes of the movement came for married women and middle and upper class women who gained access to higher education.
What other social movements sparked organization among women?
The temperance movement

The abolition movement
This is very important as we look at the exclusion of black and other non-white women throughout the movement's development.
Did you know that the feminist movement has it's roots in the abolition movement?
Important Moments from the First Wave of Feminism:
1792: "A Vindication of the Rights of Women" is published by Mary Wollstonecraft becoming one of the earliest foundational feminist texts

1830: The Indian Removal Act is passed in the U.S. leading to the Trail of Tears.

1837: Women from 10 different states met in New York City for the Anti-Slavery Convention of American Women.

1848: The Seneca Falls Convention is held in New York and the Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions
1863: Lincoln issues the Emancipation Proclamation.

1870: Black men are granted the right to vote by the ratification of the 15th Amendment.

The History of Feminism
One way to organize feminism's history is the wave-model. This is not the ONLY way, but we will use it to delineate major moments and what they focus on.
The following slides include a lot of dates. Do NOT worry about memorizing them. Use the dates, names, places, etc. to gain a general understanding of the kinds of organizing that happened under each wave.
Important Moments from the Second Wave of Feminism:
1960: FDA approves and released "The Pill"
1963: Betty Friedan publishes
The Feminine Mystique
1963: Equal Pay Act
1964: Civil Rights Act
1965: An executive order institutes Affirmative Action
1965: Voting Rights Act
1966: National Organization for Women is founded
1967: Affirmative Action is extended to women
1968: Shirley Chisholm is the first black woman elected to Congress
1968: First National Women's Liberation Movement Conference
1969 Our Bodies, Ourselves, Women’s Health Book Collective
1969 Stonewall Uprising
1970, Sisterhood is Powerful, Phoebe Morgan
1972 Equal Rights Amendment
1973 Roe v. Wade legalizes abortion
1974 Combahee River Collective
1975 UN Conference on Women, Mexico City
1976 National Black Feminist Organization conference
on racism and sexism
1979 First National Third World Lesbian
and Gay Conference
Movement Timelines
1848-1920: Women's suffrage

1892-1955: Anti-lynching

1916-Present: Reproductive rights

1940-1945: Women at work

1944-Present: Anti-rape activism

1955-1966: Civil Rights movement

1966-1974: Black Power

1965-1975: Chicano Liberation

1968- mid 1970's: American Indian

1968- mid 1970's: Asian American

Many social movements occurred alongside and overlapped with the feminist movement. How might these movements have impacted each other?
Race and Class in the Suffrage Movement
Most active organizers are upper class white women advocating for women like them.
White women organizers often took advantage of racist and classist discourse to advance their cause.
Susan B. Anthony said, "What words can express her [the white woman’s] humiliation when, at the close of this long conflict, the government which she had served so faithfully held her unworthy of a voice in its councils, while it recognized as the political superiors of all the noble women of the nation the negro men just emerged from slavery, and not only totally illiterate, but also densely ignorant of every public question.
Why might this be?
Indigenous Influence on Suffragists
Did the suffragists invent their demands on their own or did they have an example of gender equality in practice?
Copy and paste the following link to read "The Untold Iroquois Influence on Early Radical Feminists" by Sally Roesch Wagner:

Think about the way Iroquois women dressed and what they did, violence in their communities, politics, and divorce.
Journal questions:

How does this information about early feminists influence the way you think about the history of the movement?

How do these histories change the way we study feminism and put in into practice now?

Black Feminism
In 1974, The Combahee River Collective released a statement speaking back to white feminists who were not addressing the issues most important to black women. This document marks a significant moment in the history of black feminism.
Copy and paste the link to read the "A Black Feminist Statement" http://circuitous.org/scraps/combahee.html
Think about the following questions:
What are the differences between white and black feminism in the 1970s?

What is at stake for black women versus white women?

Do the Combahee River Collective Statement and indigenous influence on early feminism challenge the common narratives we know about feminism and its history?
Required viewing through 2:30. The rest of the video is interesting, but not required.
Think about the production of knowledge changing by making women the subjects of study, including the perspectives of marginalized subjects, and expanding feminism to other fields like Gay and Lesbian Studies, Queer Studies, Ecofeminism, Disability Studies, etc.
(We will learn more about these categories later in the semester.)
Journal Questions: Third Wave Feminism Responds to Claims of "Universal Sisterhood"
What is "universal sisterhood and how did white feminists' claims to it hinder the past movement?
What ways can we see third wave feminists respond to the call to recognize the nuances of struggles of women at different intersections of privilege and inequality? How does this respond to claims of universal sisterhood?
Women's, Gender & Sexuality Studies in the University
What is important about taking a course in WGSS and having a WGSS department at Ohio State?
What does interdisciplinary mean?
How do you expect the course to interact with feminism's racist and classist histories?
Think about the feminist debates you see in film, on television, in news media, on your social networks. Do the same debates occur in academic feminist networks?
Copy and paste this link to see examples of feminism in pop culture:
Here are some more examples:
Pop Culture Feminism vs. Academic Feminism
Is there a difference?
Pop Culture Feminism
Read this short article by Janet Mock (prominent trans activist and culture critic) on the role of feminism in pop culture.
Aziz Ansari on what makes a feminist.
(excuse the Korean subtitles!!)
Journal question: Think about the examples of feminism you have seen on T.V., in movies, on your social media feeds, etc. What do you think about this?
Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche on what makes a feminist.
Make a list of what you have seen lately. Take some notes about what you think now and revisit them as we move throughout the semester. These examples and reflections will help you answer test questions!
You made it through the first lecture!
Be sure to post your reading response!
I understand that this video is quite long. Please watch as much as you can.
Full transcript