by JessieAnne D'Amico

The following passage is from an e-mail sent earlier this year after I found myself obscenely dissatisfied with the excuse of a "feminism" unit we were studying.  I decided to enlighten her on better ways to handle the unit.

There’s an interesting feminist organization that was just recently founded and I’ve found myself being an enthusiastic supporter of its cause*.  As opposed to some angles of the feminist movement, We are the XX takes a contemporary view of the crusade for gender equality.  If brought up, the group’s platform could be an enthralling contrast to the pieces in our textbook and based on the group’s focus on social media, personal outreach, and efforts to connect to young people, perhaps a more relatable example at that.  If not that advantage, We are the XX’s focus raises several interesting points as stated in their “feminist manifesto,” which emphasizes that  "We are the XX is a movement of individuals who believe: Feminist issues do not just belong to women, they belong to people as a collective and men are an integral part of this community; Feminism is not a movement of separation, competition or comparison. Rather it is all things inclusive, celebratory and desirable; Inherently female attributes are essential to moving progress, power and the entire leadership conversation forward; Feminism is not a sidebar discussion. It is central to all that’s relevant from pop culture to politics to international development.  We are the XX believes our voice is only as loud as yours and that this superword needs us all to define what it means for us, this moment and this movement.”  This declaration really captures modern, non-extreme-man-basing views of equality and I find it particularly compelling that several of the founders were men and many supporters are as well; therefore, said audience not only depicts a cultural difference in between my current environment and that of a more urban, liberal area (this was started in New York City), but that in a day and age where women are taking an arguably more dramatic stand than ever, men, mostly of my own generation, are also starting to catch on.  We are the XX’s website also links readers to their social media outlets and interesting feminist-media: slam poetry readings, spoken word, interesting articles, feminist icons; all pertaining to their very-present goals of a relatable feminism movement.  Their taking a stand in such a positive way is not only enlightening and inspiring but rare in that it is a new take on ancient principles and the mode in which ideas are disseminated.  

    Alongside mass movements such as We are the XX's, comes the awareness of an unfortunately-negative spark of inspiration for feminism which often require a light cast on them for they aren’t always portrayed from a feministic perspective in the media: street harassment, victim blaming, adverse rape culture abreast in young people and older alike; however, unlike in the past, people are starting to stand up to the societal acceptance of revolting influences previously mentioned.  One the most powerful to the modern feminism movement is “ihollaback,” a campaign to stop street harassment, an incident I personally know**.  There are some extremely powerful pieces*** of poetry and prose alike that uninhibitedly demonstrate circumstances of the dark side of victim shaming and society’s acceptance of this strange, deplorable phenomenon.  Many of these also take the angle of feminism that explores the fact that all genders, not only women, are often subject to prejudices---a point that is occasionally ignored.

    I just thought that some it would be helpful provide real life circumstances that encourage feminism or, I suppose, in some cases, deter people from it.  Whatever the case, this unit has further ignited a cause I feel very passionately about and I didn’t think that our textbook accurately captured the feminist perspective or lens or focus that should be put on such a pressing issue nor do I see it spreading to the winged-issues that feminism supports that are all too real and regrettably, not taught in schools.


***http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OnSuR3bFWcQ (Neil Hilborn & Renee Schminkey - "One Color" (NPS 2013))
   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JNPaoszr11U (Terisa Siagatonu & Rudy Francisco - "Sons" (NPS 2013))