Category Archives: Feminism

We Rise Together: Resisting White Institutional Culture In Publishing

By Daniel José Older; originally published at his eponymous blog

Journal and Coffee

Had coffee with Saeed [Jones] today and we were talking about how, as people of color, we are socialized to feel gratitude to even have a seat at the table in the publishing industry, and how silencing that discomfort can be, the challenges of knowing how and when to push, how to gain and maintain a strong footing and sense of self while navigating the swamps of the literary world.

Then I went home and looked over a contract, noticing how every part of me just wanted to say, “It’s fine! It’s fine! Whatever you got for me is fine!” because I’m still just so happy to be paid for writing something, aghast at what that is and, even though I know I’ve earned it and I know it’s my path, there’s always that voice trying to barge its way in saying, Stay in line, be careful how you come across, don’t ask for too much, because it’s fragile, the weird world of publishing, the undefined, over-defined, never full, outlined beast called success.

And so WTF is success, right? I prefer the term “victory” because that’s what it feels like when shit comes together, but “success” is the word we hear most after the word “literary,” and what we believe to be “success” and “not success” matters. It matters a whole lot and what we’re never taught to do, not in MFA programs, not in [ridiculous] online how-to-be-a-writer-troll-ass blog posts, not damn anywhere–except maybe if you go to VONA–is that we have to, have to–as in it’s-a-matter-of-survival have to–deconstruct the fucked-up narrow version of success that we’re spoon-fed and create for ourselves a new understanding of what that means. Each of us has to do this, and we have to do this as a community.

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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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Community Comment: Cussing Out And Forgetting Feminist Foremothers

Editor’s Note: This quote came as a response from Friday’s post about Jezebel and ageism online. Reposted with permission and edits.

Second Wave feminist Flo Kennedy. Image credit: Jo Freeman.

Second Wave feminist Flo Kennedy. Image credit: Jo Freeman.

“Well, the worst sign of ageism I noticed was a Jezebel writer forgetting a groundbreaking feminist author in her list of feminist scholars. There was a lively comment [thread] about it. To add insult to injury a young feminist came on and attacked the author herself for complaining about it (and hijacked the [thread] and promoted herself)! I see it also in commentaries that talk about the racist founding of Second Wave feminism, all the while completely ignoring the older women of color who were there. (I forget the waves maybe because I’m squeezed between them.) I think that upsets me the most. I welcome the discussion about race and feminism , but please let’s not add to the problem by ignoring the older women of color. I”ll start by naming Flo Kennedy. Or Faye Wattleton who is still here. Of course, we all know Loretta Ross, but I have yet to see her on The Rachel Maddow Show.

“We all felt the ageism too in the performance we did two weeks ago: “Between the Door and the Street.” Ironically, it was started by an older feminist but staffed by young interns, [sic] who, by the way, were paid.

“I’m glad we are bringing up younger women, but we need to take care of ourselves first, I think.

“P.S. I hate the Cialis adds but that has nothing to do with age. Why can’t birth control advertise? I think we all know the answer to that.”

~~Reynolds N. Art, artist