From left to right: Myra Duran, Tani Ikeda, Morgane Richardson, Miranda Petersen, Melanie Klein, Brie Widaman and Jollene Levid
I moved to Los Angeles in August 2010 in complete and utter fear that I would lose the feminist community I had created in New York City. Some people find support and understanding through their families and friends – I find it within the feminist community.
And so, upon landing I did what any social media savvy, 20-something feminist would do and Googled: Feminist Los Angeles, Feminism LA, Los Angeles Women’s group and the likes, only to find Feminist Magazine. For those of you who don’t know, Feminist Magazine is a remarkable radio show on KPFK that continuously manages to have relevant news relating to the feminist and activist community around the word (Myra, Miranda and I recently had the pleasure of speaking on the show this past Wednesday. More on that here.)
Feminist Magazine was an outstanding find, but certainly not enough to make me feel like I had a “family” in Los Angeles.
After about a month of searching and yes, crying, about my loss of community, I decided to start my own. And the best way to find the feminists in Los Angeles was by creating a panel like the one I had missed due to my impromptu departure from NYC (The “Gap” Flap, More’s Young Feminist Panel).
So became the birth of Young Feminists Speak Out: Los Angeles (click here for a list of all featured panelists and their bios). Last Thursday, I along with Myra Duran and Miranda Peterson, organized a successful event that addressed the many issues young feminists are speaking about today… and not just feminism but immigration rights, racism, education, body issues and more.
The panel itself was, in my opinion, a success. Those looking for direct answers to questions of intersectionality, agism, raceism, etc within the feminist community were understandably left disappointed. The goal of the panel/mixer was to introduce the topics young feminists are speaking about today and stimulate further conversation. We did not want to spend hours having four people pretend they were the “experts” on the subject and create a divide between those in-the-know and the “clueless.”
The issue of ageism seemed to be a topic the majority of our audience and panelists were focused on during and after the event. Is there ageism within the feminist community? Of course! And because this is a site where I can say whatever I want, I will.
A lot of what I have been hearing rests in the belief (and perhaps obsession) that “younger” feminists do not appreciate those who have come before us. There will always be those who are unappreciative however there are many more who view the “older” feminist generation as a stepping-stone so that we may continue to move the movement forward. The organizers and panelists involved in this event were part of the latter.
And the truth is, 20/30-something feminists (and all those who don’t identify with the waves before) should be allowed to have a space where the issues that they deem vital to the movement are discussed and examined. In a community were most institutions and organizations are run by feminists 45+, how else do we get our opinions across? Aren’t we allowed to “Speak Out” in a forum that we feel comfortable in… in the same manner that those who have come before us have done?
All in all, I must say that this panel and mixer far exceeded my expectations. My only hope is that everyone remains engaged in the conversations that were raised by this event. We must continue to learn from one another and respectfully critique the ideas that we all put forth.
On to the next one!blog comments powered by Disqus