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Notes from Feministing 2/9 at Haverford College

Amophrast's picture

Hey all, these are the notes I took at the Feministing talk at Haverford College last night. I hope they are useful, or at least amusing.


1st speaker:

  • Australian
  • "stealth feminism"
    • feminism that doesn't call itself feminism
  • BAGGAGE --> some is completely deserved
  • Doesn't deserve baggage by those who want to see it fail, who don't want to see women have equal pay, etc (right of who to have sex with/how often, right to have children, etc)
  • Poverty, democratic representation, sexual assault
  • STEP ONE: Pop culture
    • The Ugly Truth: "No one wants to fuck comfort and efficiency" (re: clothes that feminists wear"
    • View with a critical eye
  • Meeting people where they are and using language they understand (re: stealth feminism/how to explain feminism)
  • If you need proof that sexism is "alive and well" in America, look at pop culture
  • "You take [pop culture] too seriously"
  • Pop culture is a gateway drug to feminism
    • Start with: Dancing with the Stars, rap songs, romantic comedies (romcoms) --> very clear to see faults
    • Then move to: politics, literature, own relationships
  • Feminism is alive and well and it needs you

2nd speaker:

  • Cuban
  • "You think we'd be over this by now" --> Body hatred (losing weight, dieting)
  • Queer and genderqueer --> let go of a lot of the norms around female presentation
  • Men's clothing as more comfortable/covering for own body
  • Mom -->hated her own body. Peers too
  • Dad expressed fear that ze would be like hir aunt. Aunt is large, but no health problems. Successful, happy (but dieting)
  • The weight always comes back, and then some
    • Dieting [almost] always makes people fatter
  • This view (anti-dieting, pro-body image) is unsupported by medical references, the media, mom
  • We need feminism and social justice
  • [Body hatred] keeps marginalized groups more marginalized
    • Skin lightening
    • Plastic surgery
    • Hair straightening
  • Internalized view --> always hated body
  • "When justice has a body"
  • Do you ever find it difficult to live the things you espouse?
  • Major step --> getting to see what real bodies look like (sometimes hard if you aren't naked all the time or having sex all the time)
  • The power of simply being seen

3rd speaker:

  • Indian/South Asian
  • "And through my journey I ended up writing about loooove and shit"
  • Idea of arranged marriage --> Someone's going to go to jail and someone to the hospital
  • Madonna --> first intro to feminism
  • Kathleen Hanna
  • "When you're an outspoken woman, people respond to you in really weird ways" --> yearbook comments, "I know I'm a lowly white guy..."
  • "I was like the feminist mean girl, but all my friends were queer so it was ok, I was defending them" (laughter)
  • Hip-hop as entry into racial politics (when hip-hop was good)
  • "Am I affiliated with my race or my gender?
  • Bell Hooks, Angela Davis, Kimberle Crenshaw
  • Re: race: "If there are no stories about you, do you exist?"
  • "How do you create a space [to exist in]?"
  • Feminist publishing houses [?! --> look into]
  • Consistent, similar themes of dating books for women.
  • Sexist dating myths:
    • Women are fragile, passive flowers
    • All dating situations should lead to marriage/is a step towards finding a dude to marry (even casual sex)
    • Don't be a pushover, but don't be a bitch
    • Men are simple, women are complicated
    • Men are vagina-hungry manbeasts: pizza, beer, vagina
  • "I don't know what's worse in dating books--the caricatures of women or the caricatures of men"
  • "I don't want to be an anti-romantic this serious?"
  • Media hinges itself on antiquated ideas of gender, sexuality, etc.
  • The most radical thing you can do for yourself is not take any advice
  • Tumblr --> Occupy Valentine's Day
    • Truly make it about love
  • Push ourselves out of this idea of heteronormative romance


  • There needs to be accountability for men as well
  • Crisis in masculinity is that we can't let go of antiquated notions of masculinity
  • Identity representation in internet-based activism
    • More recently, people are being pushed to be themselves online (not just an avatar)
    • Multiple shortcomings of identity politics
  • Even if you identify with a community, it doesn't mean you get to represent one (implications for us?)
  • Paralyzes people with privilege from talking about certain issues --> you can't talk about race if you're white, etc.
  • Just acknowledge your privilege!