In class, we recently read Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s We Should All be Feminists. She discusses the misguided representation of what being a feminist consists of, and offers her own opinion and experiences to engage the reader in a fuller understanding of what it means to be a feminist. Adichie was confronted by a peer for her feminist work and was told to “never call [herself] a feminist, since feminists are women who are unhappy because they cannot find husbands” (9). Adichie makes note that there is the often the preconceived notion that feminists are manhating, unshaven, and just simply unhappy people. Some women who claim the status of feminist love men, love to dress up, and love to have open discussions regarding women’s issues, with both men and women. Adichie discusses the importance of communication between both women and men in an open, respectful manner to not only progress, but to educate.
International Women’s Day is a national awareness day for the appreciation of women. Tons of women, and some men, come together as one to educate the uneducated, and improve gender injustices. Every day is International Women’s Day for some, but for others, it is a chance to begin their journey as an advocate for feminism.
Pittsburgh itself was home to rallies and protests in relation to women’s rights on International Women’s day. Beginning at 3 pm, women left their jobs and homes to go on strike in hopes to prove that the importance of women in both the workforce and at home cannot be undermined. Some even took it to a further level and protested the House Bill 77 and Senate Bill 3, which limits abortion access across the state of Pennsylvania. The activist group New Voices visited state representative Dom Costa’s office to express their voices on the matter. New Voices gears primarily towards movement projects pertaining to Human Rights, Racial, and Gender Justice.
New Voices is a new and growing organization straight out of Pittsburgh open to new members and ideas. If you are interested in voicing your opinions and being a part of something great, check out their website. You can become a member, check out events, or even just learn more about the organization and what they do.
Many upcoming events will take place within the next few weeks in honor of International Women’s day. For example, there is an equal pay rally taking place on April 12th at the Capitol Rotunda in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, from 10AM-11AM. There are also pre-and post-rally briefings being held, allowing the chance for your voice to be heard.
There are many that you can get involved as a feminist:
First step—getting educated. Realization that gender injustices are not just a western world issue is key. Educate yourself not only with women’s issues in America, but with the rest of the world as well. Here is a link to a great source for the most current news worldwide.
Second step—have discussions. Don’t be afraid to discuss topics that you feel strongly about. A reference back to Adichie, these discussions should be respectful and engaging. It is important to understand and accept that not everyone will have the same opinions and beliefs as you do.
Third step—join active organizations, attend conferences, simply publicize yourself and share your opinions. Now.org is a great site that provides information on upcoming events and conferences to attend. It is a national organization and a great way to stay involved, meet new people, and make a change.
A further detailed forum on how to get involved and engage in the feminist culture can be found at RIOT GRRRL ONLINE.