Category Archives: Activism

SBF Shout-out: The Feminist New Crew

This Is What A Feminist Looks Like buttonAs brilliant friend of SBF, Sofia Quintero, said recently, “The face of feminism is far more diverse than the same names and faces that keep getting traction.”

True dat.

We are constantly amazed at the smart and creative feminist thinking, writing, and activism happening–online and offline, in classrooms and nonprofits, on blogs and in self-published books–all around us. And we are disheartened that many of the most insightful people we know are neither name-checked nor used as sources for analysis often enough. There are so many perspectives beyond those of the lions of second-wave feminism and the handful of third-wave feminists whose voices are amplified.

So, we decided to compile a list of feminists we love–voices that you really should know.

Now we tried to stick to brilliant folk who don’t get lots of shine for their work, so you won’t see names like Melissa Harris-Perry, because, come on, everybody already knows she’s great! But we did list a few people we are sure are on the cusp of the kind of mainstream recognition they deserve. (Janet Mock, we are looking at you!) Also, included in this list are some folks who emphatically do not embrace the label “feminist” for valid and understandable reasons, but who are still fighting the good fight on behalf of gender equality and against an oppression that is intersectional.

Also, we are fully prepared to wake up tonight in a panic, remembering someone we left off the list. We apologize in advance. Feel free to suggest more names in the comments. And look for this list to evolve.

Now, here it is, in no particular order, Squeezed Between Feminisms list of the Feminist New School:

Tressie McMillan Cottom

TF Charlton

Janet Mock

Dr. Yaba Blay

Carolyn Edgar

Maegan La Mala Ortiz

Lindsey Yoo

Aiesha Turman

Aishah Shahidah Simmons

The Feminist Wire crew

The Crunk Feminist Collective

Sikivu Hutchinson

David J. Leonard

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Geographic Scapegoating: It’s Not The Place That’s The Problem

Courtesy of Miakosamuio on Flickr

Courtesy of Miakosamuio on Flickr

When I told one friend of mine that my family and I would be moving from Chicago to the Indianapolis area, she asked worriedly, “Will you be safe there?” She, a liberal, white woman, was certain that a black family moving to the heart of a red state would be greeted by open hostility or worse. Her comment betrayed a flaw in the way society often thinks about issues of inequality, relying on geographic scapegoats to avoid addressing widespread, systemic “isms”.

In the United States, the so-called “flyover states” serve as regional boogeymen for a host of social justice issues. The South and the Midwest are the places that denizens of the coasts can smugly identify as the source of all the country’s racism, homophobia, sexism and transphobia. And while it is true that some places have unique histories of injustice and hostility toward marginalized peoples. It is also true that America as a whole has a unique history of injustice and hostility toward marginalized people–no city or burgh within our borders is immune.

In the case of my worried friend, her cartoonish idea of conservative Midwesterners, chasing black families with sticks and torches to the soundtrack of a cackling Rush Limbaugh, allowed her personal racism to go unchecked. More broadly, a national focus on the imagined rampant and open bigotry of geographic scapegoats allows real inequality, especially the less overt kind, to fester both in the flyover states and everywhere else.

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Sirius XM: Does That Umbrella Come With A Pink Slip For Babchik?

By Guest Contributor Alison Roh Park; originally published at Race Files

“I want to buy an umbrella [that comes] with an Asian girl…In my experience, girls who stand next to me longer than 20 seconds get a creampie.” Mike Babchik, Host of “Man Banter” on SiriusXM to an Asian American woman at Comic Con, October 2013

Mike Babchik. Image via 18 Million Rising.

Mike Babchik. Image via 18 Million Rising.

You may have heard about the racist misogynist Mike Babchik who sexually harassed at least one Asian American attendee at Comic Con this month, right here in my hometown of New York City. Mike Babchik is a creep. But we’re all familiar with creeps like him. All you have to do is walk outside or Google “Asian women” and these kinds of messages about Asian women’s servility, hypersexuality and availability to White men (and really all men for that matter) abound.

Here in NYC, I’ve experienced racist sexual harassment from [insert any expletive you want] like Babchik since I was 11 years old. And with 20 years of experience under my belt, I can tell you it isn’t about “free speech” or “irreverent humor” or any of the whitewashing terms that his corporate guardians at Siruis XM might throw at the public who is demanding Babchik’s termination—if they would even respond. How many APIAs and allies will it take for Sirius XM to even acknowledge the nearly 1,500 people who have demanded action?

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The Space Between

By Guest Contributor Aimee Thorne-Thomsen

Feminist buttons

I turned forty earlier this year. Unlike some of my friends and colleagues, I looked forward to entering middle-age. In fact, to celebrate the big event, I went on a two-week vacation to Italy and Spain with my nearest and dearest. What an amazing affirmation of life and love! It was the perfect way to launch the next decade of my life.

All that’s to say that I am really comfortable with who I am at forty. I’ve worked hard on myself and continue to take the time to reflect on myself and identify areas that I want to address. I have earned every gray hair in my curly mop of hair, and I have also earned every extra pound. (That’s one of those things I’m working on, btw). And despite the fact that lots of people try to convince me that I am not middle-aged or console me about middle-aged, (which I’m okay with, really,) I’m in a good place in my life.

But I’m also in a weird place. Because in addition to being middle-aged in my personal life, I’m also middle-aged in my movement life.

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