I began my second morning as a Soapbox Soldier with an Americano. I ordered a small, upsized to a medium, and sat down to smell the beans before running to our first meeting at the Feminist Press, up the street from Penn Station at the CUNY Graduate Center.
This was just the beginning of a day focused on media: on getting into it, on challenging it, on consuming it, and on creating it. I was particularly interested in this, as someone who has ventured into the areas of film, graphic design, writing, and promotions in her time as a student and advocate and has thoroughly enjoyed it all.
The organizations hosting us and speaking with us were all what seemed like worlds apart: from the Feminist Press, the oldest feminist publisher in the world (and just a note- yes, book design is still an appreciated art) to the Women’s Media Center, which advocates for more equal gender representation and opportunity in the media, and even Courtney Martin of Feministing, the world of “real-life feminists” seemed to be one full of different creative outlets. This is a good sign for activists, I think- we’re going to stay busy, which means we will stay satisfied. We also get to choose from a variety of activities to express our feminism, be it through blogs or PSAs.
In terms of how these various mediums benefit feminism, well- messages. Gloria Jacobs of the Feminist Press sees it as a vehicle for feminist thought that goes beyond “women’s issues” – it’s about bringing forth the issues relevant to women’s lives, written about by women, or even separate from women but related to other social justice causes. This was echoed by Debbie of BUST Magazine, who met with us and professed deep convictions that presenting typically “frowned upon” things like cooking, knitting, and fashion in BUST was controversial but necessary: she is trying to create a feminist pop culture, not critique an anti-feminist one.
So this leaves me, the media glutton and the internet geek, slouching in trains at the end of the night piecing it all together. “Carmen, how you gonna do it? How can you? What should you do?” For now, I’m taking the young and ambitious route: I’m doing a little bit of it all. I’m going to remain vigilant, remain visible, but make more of an effort now to reach out to media outlets and let them know how I feel about their programming and coverage. I’m going to remain outspoken and nontraditionally active in feminism, but I’m also going to stick to my guns and lobby and rally and yell like all hell. This is what feminism is made of, after all. Love for your own voice and respect for your own self, and knowing that nothing else matters- except maybe figuring out which blog to publish first.