You can find Wetlands every Friday in the SUB tabling, spreading the info, spreading the love, and promoting our Spring ’14 submission deadline, April 1st. On Friday February 21st, Wetlands posed a challenge to the students of Puget Sound. Ask us a question, and our staff will answer it here on our blog. Here are the results, and the beginning of a wonderful conversation between Wetlands and the community it’s enmeshed in!
Q: How many licks does it take?
A: As many as you want. *Hint* It’s sweetest in the middle.
A: As many as I enthusiastically consented to receive and you are enthusiastic about giving!
Q: Why are you such a great magazine?
A: Why do you give us such great submissions?
Q: What does it mean to be “intersectional?”
A: Intersectionality can be difficult to grasp at first, but it is a concept that is central to modern feminism. The crux of intersectionality is that it acknowledges that social privilege and discrimination are not a black and white matter, but rather, that they occur at the intersection and interaction of complex variables including (but not limited to) gender, ethnicity, sexual identification, class, ability, and so on. In other words, as a multi-racial, upper-middle class, straight woman, I will experience discrimination very differently from say a lesbian Latina woman who is living paycheck to paycheck. In a nutshell, the concept is that while we may both fit in one box by virtue of both being women, our different social experiences as such are not accounted for in such a simple classification. The box reduces us to one trait: female. Intersectionality is the hammer that breaks the box. So, if you pick up that hammer and approach problems with the active awareness that all oppression is not experienced equally, then congratulations! You are being intersectional.
Q: Why won’t people make eye contact with/smile at people they know?
A: It’s a strange world of socially policed interactions out there. Ask Erving Goffman about it.
Q: How’re you feeling today?
A: Great, thanks for asking! We love it when people check in about our mental and emotional health. It’s a wonderful thing when we aren’t afraid to check in with each other.
Q: What is healthy sex?
A: Healthy sex looks like any sexual encounter where consent is continuously practiced—from the beginning through to the end. Healthy sex between folks (2, 3, even 10 people) of all genders and sexual identities needs to be based on trust, compassion, and respect. Whether it’s a cutie you just met at a bar, or a partner you’ve been building a relationship with for years, trust is an essential component for safe and healthy sex. Consent is not necessarily vocal “yes” and “no”-ing, but there are no blurred lines around the issue: when entering into a sexy time, if you don’t know unequivocally that both you and your partner(s) are consenting to whatever is about to go down, then it is not okay to proceed. Often there are messy and invisible power dynamics at play in sex. These can be hard to articulate and negotiate, especially for the partner who is risking being disadvantaged or even harmed by a power dynamic left unchecked. Checking in, consent, speaking about it—whatever you want to call the act of building a foundation of trust between you and your partner(s)—is absolutely vital if you want to have a healthy sexual experience!
Q: Has feminism evolved? How?
A: Yes! Feminism is constantly evolving, from its inception to today!
What we think of now as “modern feminism” had its beginnings in the Suffragette Movement of the early 1900s. The concerns of those women were primarily to achieve legal recognition of their right to vote. Then, from the 1950s-1970s, what gender studies folks like to call the “Second Wave” of feminism occurred. This is the period when women strove for greater reproductive autonomy through abortion legislation, greater access to birth control, and equality in the workplace (in the form of sexual harassment regulations, equality in employment practices and equal pay). Many of the battles begun by second wave feminists are still being fought today. Importantly, however, the feminist “Second Wave” was in large part dominated by the interests of middle-upper class white women. This isn’t to say that there weren’t huge numbers of women of color and different socioeconomic statuses protesting alongside these white women; there definitely were, and many of them had been working on gender issues like sexual violence long before white second wave feminists took up those issues.
However, what we now call the “Third Wave” was propelled in large part by women of color who had participated in the Second Wave and felt marginalized and silenced by the goals and tactics of that movement. The Third Wave was made possible by enterprising second wave feminists like those of the Combahee Collective, a group of African American women who outlined what is now a central tenet of much of today’s feminist thought, the idea of “intersectionality,” or an examination of the way that multiple systems of oppression interact within every individual’s experiences with the world (see above).
To this day, feminism is constantly evolving. To quote one of my favorite young feminists, Tavi Gevinson, the founder and editor of Rookie Mag, “Feminism is not a rulebook, but a discussion, a conversation, a process” (waiting on source info from Erika). Gender studies folks are now debating whether or not a Fourth Feminist Wave is taking place, particularly among young people. Today, feminism is incorporating a ton of new voices and ideas, from debates about the liberatory power of headscarves in Muslim cultures, to changing notions of gender itself, including an evolving recognition and interest in masculinity.
To read further on Rookie Mag click here: http://www.rookiemag.com/
For an interesting source on the role of women of color in gaining awareness of intersectionality, check out this book: http://www.amazon.com/At-Dark-End-Street-Resistance-A/dp/0307389243