For the past year I’ve been running my college’s feminist society (or femsoc for those of you with an abbreviation fetish) and today was the final session before we go on study leave and all the little year one feminist babs take over.
Despite what every American show suggests, running a society isn’t easy. It takes loads of research, planning, photocopying, shouting at people because they’re not assisting with the research, planning or photocopying, group chat drama and vocal strain because I didn’t realise how chatty everyone would be in between tasks. I’ve basically been popping strepsils like they’re going out of fashion. But out of all this work I’ve learnt so much about feminism and, as it’s been a while since I burnt my bra, I thought I would share.
What Running a Feminist Society Taught Me About Feminism
The Movement Is Still Super White: I realised how much of a white feminist I’d become when, brainstorming for session ideas, the top of the list were body positivity, representation of women in sport and ‘does merchandise devalue feminism?’ Important issues, yes. Deserving to be top of the list? No. These were subsequently interspersed with sessions like women in war and politics, but even then we could’ve done more to promote intersectionality. As a privileged white woman, speaking about cultural appropriation was hard; working out whether the Declaration of Human Rights had a western bias was simply impossible. When a society is run by white women our default topics are white ones, so you have to do a lot of research to stay inclusive. Feminism should encourage not speaking for other women but addressing their issues as if they were our own. Continue reading