December 11, 2012

Bringing together young women craving a feminist space

It is difficult to explain feminist politics to a patriarchal world. Beyond Women’s Studies classrooms and feminist circles, a ton of tags are given to us because we are vocal about our oppression. Arguing makes us bitches, not laughing at sexist jokes makes us humourless, being independent makes us rude, and being liberated makes us sluts. At home, they’re scared we won’t get married and produce babies, so we are constantly being asked to keep calm and carry on.

This storm is being stifled by our values that may not always allow us to rebel. Being quiet is soothing, sometimes. But, there are other times. We feel the mad urge to scream from atop the highest buildings, or, just be mad about the way things are. There are also times when we only want to let out a silent cry or mock the street cat with a purr. On good hair days, we want to spread sunshine from the strands of our hair to all places on earth. We are full of awaiting-to-be-spoken emotions, aren’t we?

We don’t want to remain quiet anymore. We feel that our voices and feelings may not be accepted in this world. The normalcy, bureaucracy, autocracy, anarchy, modernity, and other random plenary do not have any room for our feminist commentary. We can feel what we are feeling and really believe in it, but we want to be able to say it as well. It irritates the shit out of us when we have to let go of an argument because we are deemed humourless or when we have to shut up and show respect to something we absolutely don’t believe in!

There is a need for a space where we can just be. Imagine a space where we could come together and reflect upon the personal/political and praxis. A space where we can express our feminist selves without being judged. A space that heals. A space that is available for you and us.

Our blog is that space.

For us, feminism is the atmosphere. It is forever omnipresent and we need it to breathe, to live. With every new day, we learn new ways of negotiating and developing agency. We are constantly reflecting on our decisions from feminist standpoints. The plurality of feminist thoughts lets us wander, learn and unlearn, every day.

The kind of knowledge that we are acquiring by reflecting upon our lived experiences, news stories, and fields of work is important. It is an alternative form of knowledge. There is a need to disperse this knowledge so that it can grow. Dialogue and deliberation will only widen its frame. At the same time, we do not want to disregard the importance of expression. Being able to express ourselves is redeeming. Expression in any form, no matter how inarticulate, is a form of sharing a part of our lives. A part which we hope will make a difference in the lives of many others. A part through which we can reach out to several others like us in this world – a space to let them know that there are several of us who stand for a fight against patriarchy. A space through which we heal and heal others.

This blog is our comfort zone.

Online, we want to become a meme that everybody knows about. We are full of thoughts that can probably change prevalent sexist and patriarchal thoughts. The blog gives us purpose, and energizes us to keep going. Offline, it transcends into a meeting space, where we truly enjoy ourselves together. It’s nice to hang out with each other, talk about causes we believe in, and also mindlessly dance after that. This is a slice of our lives; it is our process towards a happy ending.

We would like to rest our case by leaving you with one of our favourite poems. Here goes:

A Litany for Survival – Audre Lorde

For those of us who live at the shoreline
standing upon the constant edges of decision
crucial and alone
for those of us who cannot indulge
the passing dreams of choice
who love in doorways coming and going
in the hours between dawns
looking inward and outward
at once before and after
seeking a now that can breed
futures
like bread in our children’s mouths
so their dreams will not reflect
the death of ours:

For those of us
who were imprinted with fear
like a faint line in the center of our foreheads
learning to be afraid with our mother’s milk
for by this weapon
this illusion of some safety to be found
the heavy-footed hoped to silence us
For all of us
this instant and this triumph
We were never meant to survive.

And when the sun rises we are afraid
it might not remain
when the sun sets we are afraid
it might not rise in the morning
when our stomachs are full we are afraid
of indigestion
when our stomachs are empty we are afraid
we may never eat again
when we are loved we are afraid
love will vanish
when we are alone we are afraid
love will never return
and when we speak we are afraid
our words will not be heard
nor welcomed
but when we are silent
we are still afraid
So it is better to speak
remembering
we were never meant to survive.

Written collectively by the Everyday Feminisms team.

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About: Everyday Feminisms

Everyday Feminisms is an initiative run by five young women who met in their Women's Studies class at TISS two and a half years ago. They fell in love with each other after college over feminisms, heartbreaks, rum, whiskey, and unapologetic eating.

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