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I just attended a question time webinar by WHRC and Sheila Jeffreys talked about rebuilding a women's liberation movement. It launched a surge of passion within me, but it has me thinking... How can we effectively organise and come together as women and feminists in order to have our causes recognised and create change?

I think there is a major issue with the misrepresentation of radical feminism that needs to be addressed. I know all of us can recognise it and we see it everywhere. But how can we come together to get people to understand and listen to what we actually stand for? No more associating us with right-wingers, calling us gender essentialists, or suggesting that we are violent. So many people associate radical feminists with things that tend to be in complete opposition to our arguments. How has this misinformation come to be so widely accepted, even by other women who consider themselves feminist? How can we work to remove this misunderstanding?

I also wonder how we can effectively organise in the face of such aggressive opposition from TRAs and liberal feminists? Especially when being open about our radical feminist stances in our real, personal lives can put us at risk of being fired from our jobs, outcasted from family and friends, and in some cases, put in danger (especially bisexual & lesbian feminists who may not be accepted for their sexuality). How can we organise events around an entire movement effectively when so many of us have to keep our views to ourselves, or only share them within certain groups? Of course, I am not suggesting that we have to ignore our personal risks in the name of raising awareness for a greater cause. I also understand that people react to radfems in the way that they do because it causes people to challenge a lot of what they have come to believe and be comfortable with. But I wonder how you all would suggest this issue could be navigated?

I'd love to hear everyone's thoughts!

I just attended a question time webinar by WHRC and Sheila Jeffreys talked about rebuilding a women's liberation movement. It launched a surge of passion within me, but it has me thinking... How can we effectively organise and come together as women and feminists in order to have our causes recognised and create change? I think there is a major issue with the misrepresentation of radical feminism that needs to be addressed. I know all of us can recognise it and we see it everywhere. But how can we come together to get people to understand and listen to what we actually stand for? No more associating us with right-wingers, calling us gender essentialists, or suggesting that we are violent. So many people associate radical feminists with things that tend to be in complete opposition to our arguments. How has this misinformation come to be so widely accepted, even by other women who consider themselves feminist? How can we work to remove this misunderstanding? I also wonder how we can effectively organise in the face of such aggressive opposition from TRAs and liberal feminists? Especially when being open about our radical feminist stances in our real, personal lives can put us at risk of being fired from our jobs, outcasted from family and friends, and in some cases, put in danger (especially bisexual & lesbian feminists who may not be accepted for their sexuality). How can we organise events around an entire movement effectively when so many of us have to keep our views to ourselves, or only share them within certain groups? Of course, I am not suggesting that we have to ignore our personal risks in the name of raising awareness for a greater cause. I also understand that people react to radfems in the way that they do because it causes people to challenge a lot of what they have come to believe and be comfortable with. But I wonder how you all would suggest this issue could be navigated? I'd love to hear everyone's thoughts!

17 comments

[–] finn-again 9 points (+9|-0)

In many ways, the Civil Rights Movement, and the anti-Vietnam War Movement, were the grounds for the Second Wave. Most of the leaders (NYC, D.C., Chicago) came out of these two political uprisings. They were political to the core, and were experienced organizers. These few women both attacked the left's sexism and got the whole WLM off the ground. The rest is history. New kinds of radical feminist leaders, thinkers, and activists arose, and in just a few years the movement was everywhere-- in the US (smallest towns) and international.

But it was the First Wave (referring to the west) that was, in the end, the biggest motivation for the Second. It provided the patterns, the history, many of the issues, the model activists, and the mixed radical and liberal politics which also taught and plagued the Second Wave. So, if the real Third one day happens, it will no doubt be soundly located in the First and Second no matter what other events arise to bring it into existence, and ongoing battle for radical feminism as the only feminism will continue in the Third Wave.