SO. I just got back from this week's GTTF planning hangout and here is my report
We were kind of worried that it would just be the two of us, alone with our little notebooks and our dreams of solidarity. Instead we got such a big crew that we had to move our asses outside and have our meeting out on Alterra's blustery patio. We've gone ahead and scheduled our next meeting for next week Tuesday (Sept. 14th) at 6:30, but we will be changing locations to better accommodate such a large posse. We'll post the new meeting spot as soon as we lock it in. Also, I am going to bring Newman-O's. Because Newman-O's make meetings awesome.
I will post the meeting minutes here within the next day or two. In the meantime, I'd like to post some thoughts on our purpose for putting this shit together, and maybe also humbly ask all y'all to post your thoughts in the comments section. Maybe we can get a totally rad convo going.
The largest question of the night was: What is our purpose in putting together this event? Here are some answers that we came up with...
1.Solidarity in a climate of non-acceptance. We discussed how the current political climate is being dominated by talk-radio fake-asses and reactionaries who seem to think that they are speaking for the "true America", and who are bent on promoting the idea that most people in this country share their views. Girls To The Front can provide a counterpoint, at least here in MKE. Visibility, baby!
2. Creating a safe, supportive space for people who are marginalized by sex, gender identity, race, ability, or economic status.
3. Thinking specifically about the Riot Grrrl movement; how it formed many of our identites, how it contributed to the discussion of gender in the 1990s and how those contributions have survived, been assimilated, or been co-opted today. Also, asking ourselves what was important about riot grrrl, what things defined it...music, zines, activism, meeting like-minded people, meeting people who were different from yourself... We can also stir up some of that awesome riot grrrl energy and apply it in new ways!
4. Bringing together disparate groups with common or complementary goals and vibes. We talked a bit about how Milwaukee has a lot of awesome people who do awesome things, how we often do these things near but not with others in our community who are doing other awesome things. Think about how many people you know in your neighborhood alone who do incredible work...music, art, activism, writing, theater, weirdness, whatevs. We want to bring people together and make contact! We want even MORE awesome shit to occur, and if we all get together in the same places, there can be totally exciting fusions!
5. Promoting feminism. We talked about how lots of women today seem to push away from the label of "feminist", even though women benefit greatly from the advances wrought by feminism. We are interested in reaching out to people who might be unsure or misinformed about what it means to be a feminist. We want to show people that there is a whole spectrum of feminist thought. We want to take back feminism from those who would like to corrupt and co-opt it to fit their decidedly anti-woman agendas. Also, it would be great to reach out to men and show them that feminism is for everybody, that there is benefit for males in feminism as well.
6. Because it will totally be awesome in every way.
7. Also, SA, MCC, and I discussed how we think it is perfectly okay to use the phrase "balls to the wall". What do you think? Is ball talk inappropriate in a feminist setting? Lordy, I hope not.
I'm probably forgetting things...other peeps feel free to add to this list. I'm going to go to bed now, but before I do, I'm going to leave you with this quote:
"You don't need to call yourself a feminist in order to be doing great feminist work. People often ask me that: Well don't you think it's important that they call themselves feminists? Not for me it's not. For them, though, there's a real benefit in calling yourself a feminist because you have access to this community and this support system that you may not know is there. So that's why I really try to encourage young women to not only keep believing in those feminist values, keep fighting for them, but also to identify as feminist for their own sake, and for their own well-being." -Jessica Valenti
Posted by Lauryl Sulfate