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Feminism Friday: Young Feminists

What with the continually alleged “death of feminism” in this “post-feminist” age, how are young women finding their way into feminism going about it? Particularly those who are not going to tertiary education facilities that offer a Women’s Studies Course?

How did those of us who are not so young find our way into feminism? How were we helped/hindered by family and friends?

I had a father who encouraged me to read Germaine Greer and Betty Friedan and always pay my own way on dates at the same time as he refused to agree to my mother returning to full-time work until my 6-years younger sister was in secondary school, and who thought that making a big deal about complimenting me on my body in front of his mates was OK. My mother resented being held back from working after having kids but also expressed doubt about a lot of the Women’s Lib (as it was referred to at the time) agenda. Most of my school-friends thought my feminist beliefs were at the simplest (votes, equal pay) obvious and at the more anthropological (dating rituals, sexist language) weird. Mixed messages.

I never studied Women’s Studies or feminist theory at a tertiary education level – I’ve just read a lot of books and made a lot of feminist friends over the years, some of whom have formally studied feminist theory and some of whom, like me, have read a lot and thought a lot about it outside college/uni. Different paths.

So what are young feminists doing for themselves to make sense of feminism here and now?

I just found one young feminist online community linking to this blog in my sitemeter stats: the All-Girl Army, whose tagline is Ovathrow the status quo! which I love. They’re a community of feminist bloggers ranging from age 10 to 23, which is far younger than the feminists online whom I usually read. Check it out.

Any other young feminists (let’s make an arbitrary cut-off of age 25) wanting to promote their online and/or offline communities/activities please leave a comment about yourselves! The rest of you, please reminisce about the feminist or proto-feminist you aged 25 or under.

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writer, singer, webwrangler, blogger, comedy tragic | about.me/vivsmythe

4 comments on “Feminism Friday: Young Feminists

  1. I know that this comment is much older than the post, but I only just discovered this post today, and it is exactly what I’ve been looking for. I essentially just discovered (meaning three days ago) the amazing thing that is the modern feminist movement, so I’m still terribly excited about it and I want to spout off about all the things it has suddenly made clear and whatnot. I haven’t gone over there yet, but hopefully your link to All Girl Army will let me do that. I’m 20yrs old, at the moment, and I never believed in feminism before. I’m sorry that I, therefore, can’t tell you about anything that I’m doing to help the cause, other than that I’ve joined it and I’m learning about it. One more recruit! :) Hopefully, someday, I’ll have a more impressive resume. Thanks!

  2. Llencelyn, thanks for posting! That’s exactly the sort of response I’m hoping for. Also, one idea of this blog is that it’s never too late to comment on an older post, because we’re not just sticking to current events here.

    You remind me that I need to add a link to the original responses to this thread over at the old blog. [link]

    You’ll find some links there to other young feminists who are blogging and whose experiences might feel familiar to yours. Have fun!

  3. I don’t normally post on older posts, but your encouragement has persuaded me to, in the hope of helping to give a more compelete picture of younger feminists. Though I’m obviously just one person, not representative of everyone.

    I have identified as a feminist since I can remember, but definitely from the age of around 10 or so. I’m only 20 now, and the internet has only fairly recently become the relatively easy ot access forum that it is. My personal experience at school and in general in the UK was that before 1998 or so, the internet wasn’t something everyone had access to, whereas today, most people in the UK may have been online at one time or another. What I mean is that today there are many more easily available resources online, (there may well have been 10 years ago, but they were much less popular), so the interent is a very important tool in helping women to express themselves and be heard, particularly feminists.

    Where this is relevant to the topic at hand is that I can use the internet as a good way to supplement my discussions with friends. I am not currently involved in any public activism, but I do engage the people around me in discussions about society and how it affects women. Although I still think I need to learn a lot before starting a blog and being mroe vocal, I find that in discussing feminism, and on a practical level, it has helped em to bring round the intelligent young women I know to feminism. I can’t take all the credit, because they never thought all feminists are man -hating lesbians or anything, but they probably didn’t think as much about the underlying reasons for the way things are, or know all the statistics. There are so amny young, smart women out three, who are almost feminists, or aren’t because they haven’t yet been discriminated against too badly that I think will really connect with internet feminism, if myself or my friends are anything to go by.

    The internet, and all of the amazing bloggers have given me so many posts I can learn from and share with people, which has really helped to spread the word.

    Also, it’s really gone far in educating me and priming my reasoning, and for that I am eternally grateful. Without that I might still be spouting half-formed opionions and falling into victim blaming because I didn’t see the whole picture. I can understand why many women who are frustrated at the current state can blame other women (or hate men, apparently. ) because they can’t see the systemic patriarchy lying underneath it, I make a point of challenging this reasoning whenever I come accross it, and persuading people to realise the deeper problems. Happily, I think in a modest way, I’m making a difference.

    Places like this have helped me to find the terminology and citations to back up what I’ve always felt was happening. I’m glad that there are so many feminists, young and old out here airing their views and fighting for equality. In times where I’ve felt really down and powerless to fight the sexism in my everydsy life, they have reminded me that many people do care, and that many people do fight.

    I’m still very (rightly) paranoid about cyber stalking and giving out any information online, but one day soon, I hope to be confident , brave and organised enough to be one more feminist blogger and activist in the ranks. Until then, I’m happy to learn and comment, and try to point others I know in the right direction.

    Also, you definitely deserve a Thank You for starting this blog. It’s doing many feminsts a service, and the feminist sphere would be much the poorer without it.

  4. Thanks so much for commenting. It’s terrific to hear that proto-feminists are finding the blog and that it helps clarify issues – that’s exactly the aim!

    There are some great feminist and feminist-friendly blogs around with very active commentariats: I recommend finding one with a tone that appeals to you and start joining in the fray with just a couple of comments per day. You’ll start to develop your own “voice” that way, and then when you feel ready you can transition to writing your own commentary. Best of British luck to you!

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