Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Why We Need Feminist Coming Out Day

Why We Need Feminist Coming Out Day

Isabel Arenivar, Guest Blogger

The other day a friend of mine sent me a joke about feminism, saying that when he heard it he thought of me. Now, I don't usually mind hearing jokes about feminism, depending on the context of course, but something about this particular incident bugged me. I realized that it wasn't the joke that annoyed me, but the second part--that my friend immediately thought of me. I am happy to be known as an out-and-proud feminist. Being the token feminist, however, does not make me happy.

I know I'm guilty of this too. When I find a particularly interesting feminist-leaning blog post or news article, I'm more likely to send it to my few friends who also identify strongly as feminists than to, say, post it to Facebook. It’s easier to share things with people who you know will agree with you, rather than to open your opinions up to challenge. It can be frustrating to have to constantly explain and defend your beliefs about anything, let alone such an important, personal issue like feminism. So it’s incredibly tempting to take the easy, validating route and only share your feminist thoughts with other feminists.

However, this insularity does not allow us to build support for the feminist movement. Sharing a potentially controversial article with your non-feminist friends may invite conflict, but it will also initiate important conversations and the give you the opportunity to show others what feminism is really about. The feminist movement is plagued by stereotypes of the “typical” radical, militant, man-hating feminist, and the only way we can end those stereotypes is by showing people who we really are. This is why Feminist Coming-Out Day is so important. By publicly announcing that you are a feminist, you can help show the diversity and ubiquity of the movement.

While the official 2011 Feminist Coming-Out Day has passed, I encourage all who are reading this to make today your Feminist Coming-Out Day. I don't want to be the token feminist anymore, and you can help make that happen. Tell a friend or family member that you are a feminist and encourage them to do the same. Or go public! Instead of posting your bra color for breast cancer, use your favorite social networking platform to come out as a feminist. If we all come out of the woodwork, none of us will have to feel isolated or tokenized by our wish for equality, and maybe more people will be encouraged to evaluate their own beliefs about gender equality and come out as feminists too. I would love it if the next time my friend comes across a feminist joke his dilemma will not be whether or not he should send it to me, but rather which of his many feminist friends he should share it with.

Feminist Coming Out Day 2011

If you attend Sarah Lawrence College
 or live in the Westchester area, please attend 
Sarah Lawrence College's First Annual Feminist Coming Out Day! 
The event will be held on
Tuesday, April 26th, from 5-9:30
in The Black Squirrel. 
Refreshments will be served. 

Friday, April 1, 2011

The Facts Speak for Themselves

Congress is almost a week away from voting to either fund or defund Planned Parenthood; stand with PPFA. The facts speak for themselves.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Standing With Planned Parenthood, Standing Up For Our Rights

Please stand with Planned Parenthood this Saturday (February 26th) in Foley Square, NYC from 1:00-3:00 pm. I'll be there, alongside many other women and men, feminists alike. Come and support the Planned Parenthood Federation of America; come and support all of the American citizens in need of HIV and STD testing, pap smears, breast exams, and contraception. And, if you haven't already, please consider adding your name to the PPFA's petition, Stand With Planned Parenthood. To RSVP to the rally in Foley Square, please follow this link: Stand Up For Women's Health.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Reading, Workshops, & More

Considering it's been almost a month since I last posted, I thought I'd offer an explanation to my readers. In the past month, I have returned to school from winter break, chosen a course schedule combining my love of poetry with my academic interest in women's studies, and begun feminist volunteer work. In short, I've been a busy girl!

This semester, I am enrolled in two social science courses and a writing course; all of which will allow me to pursue a study of feminist thought. I plan to construct an essay centered around women's health advocacy and contraceptive equality rights, and indulge in the rather feminist poetry of Sharon Olds. Additionally, I am currently in the process of putting together a version of "Feminist Coming Out Day" on our campus. FCOD was originally started by feminist blogger Lena Chen, a graduate student at Harvard. Furthermore, I am also looking into attending the Young Feminist Leadership Conference held in Washington D.C.

And, last, but not least, I've provided a reading list produced by Bitch magazine for anyone interested in a little feminist reading: Young Adult Feminist Fiction.