We’ve invited bloggers from all corners of the web to contribute to the Feminist Portrait Project’s “click” moment blog-a-thon all week. Taking part on your own site? Leave a comment below with the URL and link back to our blog carnival page here. Here’s organizer Lena Chen to tell us more:
In 1971, Ms. Magazine wrote of “the click! of recognition, that parenthesis of truth around a little thing that completes the puzzle of reality in women’s minds—the moment that brings a gleam to our eyes and means the revolution has begun.” Forty years later, for better or worse, those clicks are still going off. Only today, the trigger is sometimes feminism itself.
Despite organizing Feminist Coming Out Day and the Feminist Portrait Project, an awareness campaign started at Harvard University and now at 15 colleges nationwide, I question whether consciousness raising alone is enough to end gendered oppression. Any attempt to turn the personal into the political seems to invariably amplify the voices of the privileged, while muffling those without the influence of capital or whiteness or what have you. While white suburban housewives plotted escapes from the domestic sphere during women’s lib, their poor and uneducated counterparts had little choice but to work for economic survival. Today, we point to female CEOs and politicians as signs of progress and indicators of feminism’s success, all the while discounting the women whom they exploit as workers and oppress as constituents. Any vocal women’s rights supporter can relate to the frustration of confronting a hip, young progressive who insists, “I’m not a feminist, but …” yet what about those who refuse to label their politics “feminist” because the movement has failed to represent them?
The Feminist Portrait Project seeks to explore and reinvent the definition of the iconic “click” moment by introducing the concept of the “anti-click,” the realization of the limitations and shortcomings of the movement in its often exclusionary manifestation in the West. While many of our participating bloggers in this week’s blog-a-thon will be tackling the Ms. definition of a “click” moment, we challenge them to also critique the institutionalized forms of feminist activism and the nonprofit industrial complex, which sometimes silence and even harm marginalized people and their purported constituency. Our goal is to offer a fuller picture of contemporary feminism and acknowledge both its triumphs and failures to start a dialogue about where to go from here.
If, in fact, “one little click turns on a thousand others”, as the inaugural issue of Ms. suggested, then what possibilities might abound if we turn inward to examine our own privilege, to question how our political priorities reflect our backgrounds, to force ourselves to confront the possibility that much of what feminism has accomplished has been on the backs of or at the expense of women it claims to help? A movement incapable of self-criticism and reflection is unlikely to survive with its values intact. In an age when the relevancy of feminism has become more contested than ever, let us resist the temptation to be defensive and instead take the opportunity to listen to those critics who we should be counting among our allies. Today, this is our click. This is our moment of truth.
Co-Founder, Feminist Portrait Project/Feminist Coming Out Day
Make sure to add a link to your post in the comments section if you participate by writing about your “click” moments this week! Keep checking back for more!
Carnival posts from around the web:
“Click! My Catholic School Report Card” by Donna Decker via the Ms. blog. (Donna Decker is Associate Professor of English at Franklin Pierce University in Rindge, NH. She is also Director of the university’s Women in Leadership Certificate Program.)
“Call Me the Reluctant Feminist” by Annamarya via The Daily Femme. (The Daily Femme features news about women and interviews of professional women at different stages of their career paths and from a variety of backgrounds and experiences in order to provide perspectives that are often missing in mainstream media.)
“Click! A College Grad Strips on Bourbon Street” by Susan Rubin via the Ms. blog. (Susan Rubin has been an actor, dancer, and a playwright, and has been writing video documentaries for the Feminist Majority for the past ten years.)
“We’re Feminists and We’re Coming… Out” a video by Betty Dodson and Carlin Ross via Dodson and Ross. (Two inter-generational feminists providing sex information online.)
“Clicks on a Keyboard: Dungeons, Dragons, and Trans-Feminism” by Quinnae via The Border House. (The Border House is a blog for gamers. It’s a blog for those who are feminist, queer, disabled, people of color, transgender, poor, gay, lesbian, and others who belong to marginalized groups, as well as allies. Their goal is to bring thoughtful analysis to gaming with a feminist viewpoint.)
“Feminist Click Moments” by Julie Z via The FBomb.org. (The FBomb.org is a blog/community created for teenage girls who care about their rights as women and want to be heard.)
“Click! Not a Knight in Shining Armor” by Robert Jensen via the Ms. blog. (Robert Jensen is a journalism professor at the University of Texas at Austin and board member of the Third Coast Activist Resource Center in Austin, one of the partners in the community center 5604 Manor.)
“Click! Teaching Feminism to Boys” by Erin Bilir via the Ms. blog. (Erin Bilir is a journalist and high school student with a passion for women’s issues.)
“Grassroots organizing for feminism, S&M, HIV, and everything else” by Clarisse Thorn via ClarisseThorn.com. (Clarisse Thorn is a Chicago-based, sex-positive, pro-BDSM feminist activist.)
“The Journey of an Envious Girl” by Melissa McEwan via Shakesville. (Melissa McEwan is the founder and managing editor of Shakesville, a progressive feminist blog populated by a community of teaspoon-wielding badasses who expect more.)
“Click! Feminist Chutzpah on the Job” by Carol King via the Ms. blog. (Not the singer/songwriter Carole King. Been a feminist for as long as she can remember and committed to reproductive rights even longer.)
“Is This Only Entertainment?: My Click Moment and Why I Write About Games” by Alex via Border House. (The Border House is a blog for gamers. It’s a blog for those who are feminist, queer, disabled, people of color, transgender, poor, gay, lesbian, and others who belong to marginalized groups, as well as allies. Their goal is to bring thoughtful analysis to gaming with a feminist viewpoint.)
“Click, Anti-Click, Click: Moments That Shaped my Feminism” by Jarrah via Gender Focus. (From Vancouver, BC, Jarrah’s blogging takes an anti-racist, feminist look at pop culture, current events, and politics. She currently runs the blog Gender Focus.)
“Click! My Church Is Against Battered Women’s Shelters?!” by Georgia Platts via the Ms. blog. (Georgia Platts holds a Ph.D. in sociology from UCLA and currently teaches sociology and women’s studies at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, California.)
“Click! Boys Don’t Like to Lose” by Michele Kort via the Ms. blog. (Michele Kort is senior editor of Ms. magazine. She is the author of three books, including Soul Picnic: The Music and Passion of Laura Nyro.)
“Click! Shelter, Posters, Lifting, Runaway.” by Holly via The Pervocracy. (The Pervocracy is a highly personal sex and kink blog with an increasing feminist bent and a minor vendetta against Cosmopolitan magazine.)
“I’m (Not) Sorry.” by Almie Rose via Apocalypstick. (Apocalypstick: No Matter How Relaxed I Am, I Still Feel Awkward.)
“Lessons in feminist activism, from someone who has been on both sides.” by Rachel Hills via Musings of an Inappropriate Woman.
“My Feminist (R)evolutions” by Rachel Levy of Hoax. (Rachel Levy is a blogger, zinester, organizer and ally with roots in New York City and Baltimore, Maryland. She co-edits Hoax, a collaborative zine attempting to bring feminism into everyday life & find connections between us despite our differences.)
“Why Feminism Works for Me” by Charlsie Niemiec via College Candy.
“Feminist Coming Out Day” by Miss Maggie Mayhem via Maggie Mayhem Speaks.
“Click! A Feminist All Along” by Francesa Tarant via the Ms. blog.
(Francesca Tarant works for the Feminist Majority Foundation in Washington, D.C.)
“Click! My Grandmother’s Resistance” by Srimati Basu via the Ms. blog. (Srimati Basu lives in Lexington, KY, and is the brand-new Gender & Women’s Studies Department at the University of Kentucky.)
“Click! Cape Town, South Africa, 1980” by Penny Andrews via the Ms. blog. (Penny Andrews is a Ms. blogger.)
“Click! Hmmm, Aha! and Oh no!” by Anna Diamond via the Ms. blog. (Anna Diamond is a high school senior in Southern California who can’t believe that sexism still exists.)
“It’s Not You, it’s Patriarchy” by Melanie Klein via the Ms. blog. (Melanie Klein is an Associate Faculty member at Santa Monica College, where she teaches classes in Sociology and Women’s Studies.)
“Click! Super Sloppy 17ths” by Genevieve Dempre via the Ms. blog. (Genevieve Dempre never quite recovered from her teen years, so she spends most of her time writing about how sexism affects early dating experiences and peer relationships. You can find her over at Fark.com, sometimes working, but usually arguing about sexism in pop culture.)