I once made a list of fun things to do while on a conference call. I can’t find that list now, sadly, because I could really use it. But I remember a few things on it, like:
“Have a dance party for one”
“Pee, and then flush the toilet with your toes while leaning out the bathroom door so no one can hear”
“Try to figure out what the hell the Second Wave Feminists are talking about (except Judy Rebick, who is always awesome)“.
I made this list in collaboration with another Third Waver friend of mine. At the time, she was on the board of a national pro-choice organization, and I was on the board of MediaWatch. Now, in all seriousness, I have nothing bad to say about my time with MediaWatch. Okay, at my first meeting we fired the Executive Director and at least one person burst into tears, but from then on in it was fairly awesome. My friend’s experience was not so great. Even though she was regularly the only woman on the calls who a) Had ever performed an abortion, and b) Was actually still of child-bearing age, she ended up leaving the board after accidently being cc’ed on an email that said “[XXX] seems to not really know her place“.
It seemed that her place was to be the young person who didn’t talk, while the rest of the women seemed to almost wish abortion would become illegal again, so they could fight to make it legal. It’s all that they seemed to know how to do.
Okay, wait. I’m not a total jerk. I’m coming at this very one sided, because I need the preamble.
Basically, it seems like maybe NAC is being put back together. Or at least possibly put back together. And I’m on the advisory committee. At my first NAC-related event, a focus group in Halifax, we did a go-round to sort of say who we all were, and why we were feminists, and what our involvement was, etc etc etc. Mine went sort of like this:
“Hi, so I’m Audra and I run a feminist communications company called Lefty Lucy Communications and one of the ways I think I approach feminism is in the possible impact it can have on culture, and how that’s really great and mobilizing. Like, all the young feminists I know, and I’m talking about SUPER AWESOME WOMEN, have this crazy crisis of confidence. For example? There is this great Le Tigre song and the chorus is all ‘Please tell your friends I’m still a feminist, but I won’t be coming to your benefit, I give up, I give up, I’ll be at home today’. And when this song came out, my flatmate — who is a DOCTOR — and one of my best friends — WHO IS AN EDITOR — were both like ‘Holy crap this is our ANTHEM!’, and it really struck me. You know? These fantastic women, and they just feel so overwhelmed, and isolated, and then they hear this song, and it’s so fantastic! It really kick starts you to feel you’re not the only one who thinks she’s a total fraud.”
Okay, that was ALMOST my answer. Except about 2/3rds of the way through I got cut off by the facilitator. But not because I was talking too long. Lots of women talked far longer than I did. But just because, like, I wasn’t speaking their language. At ALL. Everyone else was rhyming off acronyms she’d been involved with, or things like that. It was so awful! Because I had been trying to say how lost young women feel in this movement, but I didn’t get the chance to finish.
I AM ALMOST DONE.
So now there is a plenary session (note to self: find out what a plenary session is) coming up for NAC. And, after frank feedback from me about my feelings at the focus group (the woman who was running it fully apologized to me, FYI), I have been asked to facilitate a session called “Engaging a Diversity of Equity-Seeking Women’s Constituencies- Younger Women” (I didn’t choose that title). And I’m freaking out. I feel like I’m going to be found out as the biggest poseur ever. I have no idea what to say/do!
I realize this is more hand-wringy than news-disecty, by the way. I won’t always be like this. Probably. But right now, This Is What A Feminist Sounds Like.