Thursday, 19 February 2009

Summary - SL Left Unity Feminist Network Meeting 15th February 2009

No topic was decided upon at previous meeting. A few suggestions were considered and we decided to opt for discussing feminism itself :)

To help start things off we watched the video linked to below, entitled 'What is feminism anyways':

We spoke initially about perceptions of feminism and how the word -and it's true meaning - has been appropriated by, for example, right wing groups and is often perceived as a perjorative term.

Everyone in the group then had an opportunity to give insight into their journey/entry into feminism, which included:
discovering a name for something they had always known;
exploring alternatives to what was happening in our own lives;
experiences of inequality and discrimination - often in the workplace;
witnessing what women around us had been through;
dissatisfaction at life and options;
positive family influences;
through educational opportunities;
working in feminist organisations;
anger at injustice

Our words..
"..It was a gradual thing for me. I just realized nothing I was doing was for me and I was unhappy. And just seeing how much every woman I know has been through.."
'..I had to deal with "I can't hire you because you may get married and leave "...'
'..Those kind of things wake you up. I was told that they weren't sure about hiring me, they wanted to know if I had a responsible babysitter..

We spoke for a time about anger and how difficult that can be for women to express and how to try and use it positively. Some of us spoke of our wish not to be angry but to aim to work for consensus and cooperative working.
Some comments from the discussion:
"Anger as a motivator is good. As a modus operandi, it's probably counterproductive"
"i do not think it should be repressed more than anything if it is NOT a temper tantrum but logically and passionately presented"

The positive aspects of feminism in our lives were apparant:
"..powerful feminist role models"
"..I have been a NOW Chapter president for a number of years"
"..Not having to be a doormat.."

Some of us talked about the work we had been involved in as part of the women's movement, in Women's Shelters doing research, organiser for NOW groups, Women's Studies, Rape Crisis Centres.. Others talked of their desire to get more involved in feminist activism.

There was some consideration of how we might use the potential of SL to undertake activism, and utilise the possiblilites allowed by bringing women from all over the world together. It was noted that SL can be used to reinforce positive behaviours and practices, and that there are other social justice groups with whom we can work together. Following on from previous discussions about practical tasks (info kiosks etc) we can do here, we had a group member volunteer to start putting together a vendor with useful information/guides/support etc..

Next meeting Sunday 22nd February at 12 mid-day SL time

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