On July 5, 2012, TheNation.com hosted a live chat on the future of feminist activism with Nation blogger Jessica Valenti, Jezebel.com founding editor Anna Holmes and reproductive justice activist Aimee Thorne-Thomsen. Readers submitted over one hundred questions and comments on topics ranging from mainstream feminist organizations to intersectionality to the "personhood" movement. An edited transcript of the chat is available below. You can also read a replay of the chat here.
Sarah Arnold: Hi everyone, this is Sarah, your moderator. Welcome to our chat! We’ll get started in five minutes. In the meantime, readers, you can begin to submit your questions. I’ll start pulling them in about fifteen minutes into the chat. Anna and Jessica, once you’re here, pop in and introduce yourselves.
Anna Holmes: Hi, this is Anna. Happy to be here—thanks for the invitation.
Jessica Valenti: Hey everyone—thanks for joining! Jessica here, feminist writer/online activist.
Aimee Thorne-Thomsen: Hello everyone, this is Aimee. Excited to be here!
Sarah Arnold: Great, thanks everyone! Could you each just say a word or two about your most recent work and what brings you to this conversation?
Jessica Valenti: For sure. In the past, my work was largely focused on trying to make feminism more accessible to younger women, through Feministing and my books, especially. What I’m interested in right now, though, is how we can use some of the lessons we’ve learned doing online organizing and outreach to create a more forward-thinking, proactive, intersectional feminist movement.
Aimee Thorne-Thomsen: My work has mostly focused on working with young people, particularly young people of color on reproductive health, rights and justice issues. Currently I work at Advocates for Youth, a national sexual and reproductive health organization as the VP for Strategic Partnerships.
Anna Holmes: I’m a writer and editor (freelance). Former editor/founder of Jezebel. My background is more in media than grassroots feminist activism. As a writer and editor, I like to focus on the intersection of politics and pop culture, and I’m especially interested in using critiques of culture to highlight issues of gender politics and to use culture as a "gateway drug" of sorts to getting younger women more interested in feminism.
Aimee Thorne-Thomsen: As for why I am excited about this conversation, I think there is a lot of overlap between the work of the feminist movements and that of the reproductive health, rights and justice movements that I think we should be in more conversation with each other.
Jessica Valenti: Yay for feminist gateway drugs!
Sarah Arnold: Thanks everyone! To get us started, what are some of the more exciting examples of feminist activism that you’ve seen lately, whether in terms of pushing for political or cultural changes?
Jessica Valenti: I think the activism happening online has been really exciting—whether you’re talking more broadly about blogs starting to democratize who gets to speak for feminism, or the more specific wins like what happened with Komen. So I’m really interested in how we can harness some of that energy (and the mainstream media attention) for more lasting and sustainable change. But I also think we need to think about some of the gaps in the activism that catches mainstream media attention. The transvaginal ultrasound stuff, for example, was great but we still have ultrasound laws that make abortions difficult or impossible to get for people who can’t afford the extra money. So we have wins, but they’re not total wins.
Aimee Thorne-Thomsen: What pops up first for me is the amazing work that young women did who fought to keep birth control as part of the ACA. And while I appreciate the work and courage of Sandra Fluke, there are many young people around the country who led events and discussions on their campuses to fight for birth control. We collected over 1000 images from young activists around the country that we were able to deliver to Representative Pelosi that elevated the voices of young people around birth control.
Jessica Valenti: Yes to what Aimee said. 🙂
Anna Holmes: I’m very excited by the (ongoing) growth and depth of feminism activism in the form of "mainstream" women’s websites that have an unapologetically feminist point of view and that direct readers to the work of smaller and often more articulate and considered examinations of gender politics.
Sarah Arnold: Thanks, everyone. I’m going to bring in a few questions from the comment threads. First of all, one reader asked about Julia Bluhm, the eighth grader who, using a petition on Change.org, was able to gather close to 50,000 signatures to deliver to Seventeen magazine asking them to include one non-altered image each week. They’ve finally responded by promising to not alter the body size or face shape of women in their magazine and to make a commitment to featuring diverse body styles. What are your thoughts on this? Do you think this could take off and lead to more pressure on magazines geared toward women?
Jessica Valenti: What Julia did was awesome, and I think there’s definitely a trend of people being sick of photoshopped images (thanks in part to the work Anna did at Jezebel!) But I also am pretty doubtful that these kinds of magazines are ever going to be completely girl-friendly.
Aimee Thorne-Thomsen: I think this is a perfect example of how young—in this case a 14-year-old girl—people ARE working to make change, using social media tools and other forms of organizing and advocacy. And I agree with Jessica that I am skeptical of its long-term impact. I think the jury is still out on that.
Jessica Valenti: Exactly, young people are out there creating change already. I think what other folks need to figure out is how we can best support them.
Anna Holmes: I think it’s great. But I hope that the dialogue about representations of women can move beyond just the aesthetic issues and touch on the diversity of our economic realities, experiences, etc. That may be a lot to ask of a magazine like Seventeen (or teen girls) but I hope it’s a starting point.
I like to say that I feel lucky that I wasn’t a teen when Facebook—or really, the internet—was around, but I imagine that for all the downsides to new technology, the upside is that young women like Julia are able to seek out, find, and get support from like-minded people, particularly their peers.
Jessica Valenti: Yeah, maybe no more quizzes on "does he like your breasts?" 😉
Sarah Arnold: Ha, indeed. To pivot a little bit, a few of the commenters mentioned or alluded to the recent Anne-Marie Slaughter piece in The Atlantic and discussions of women in the workplace. Where would you like to see those conversations going? Also, what kind of organizing do you see happening and what kind of organizing would you like to see happening regarding women and the balance between our professional and personal lives?
Jessica Valenti: It seems to me that conversations about work/life balance and the needs of parents probably shouldn’t focus on just the elite. I understand what Slaughter is doing and I think talking about what powerful women do is important, for sure. But the major things that would help all parents are more basic than flex schedules.
Aimee Thorne-Thomsen: Where do I start? The piece itself doesn’t lend anything new to the conversation between work-life balance, except that it re-starts it for people who haven’t had it before. That said, I think a lot of people struggle with a professional-personal life balance, thinking that there is a "perfect" balance to reach.
Jessica Valenti: Like, I find it so interesting that the internet blows up over this cover of a white baby in a briefcase, but there’s very little movement on something as essential as mandated paid parental leave.
Anna Holmes: I would like discussions of women in the workplace, particularly working mothers, to stop focusing so much on the one percent. Is AMS a member of the one percent? I don’t know what her annual income is, but what I do know is that she spoke from a perch and of an experience that doesn’t seem to resonate or reflect the experiences of most American women in its particulars.
Aimee Thorne-Thomsen: I also think that one of the places we need to have these conversation is within feminist organizations and feminist-aligned organizations. Those organizations don’t promote a good work-life balance, often times, even though they are purportedly working on these issues.
Jessica Valenti: YES Aimee! I was actually doing some sleuthing to see what the leave policies were for feminist orgs…
Anna Holmes: I’d also like to see more discussion of how *men* fit into these conversations.It really sells them short to leave them out of this conversation.
Jessica Valenti: Men aren’t real parents, didn’t you know? *sigh*
Aimee Thorne-Thomsen: And as a non-parent, I would also like to have organizations respect my definition of family, when it comes to work-life balance.
Jessica Valenti: Quick link related to what Aimee just said: http://www.forbes.com/sites/brianreid/2012/06/25/why-young-single-men-are-the-solution-to-the-having-it-all-problem/
Sarah Arnold: We’re getting a lot of reader questions, so I’m going to start bringing them in. We’ll try to get to as many as possible. Here’s one on traditional feminist organizations from Katherine M:
Katherine M.: My question for Ms. Valenti, Ms. Holmes and Ms. Thorne-Thomsen is about traditional feminist organizations. How do they see the future of feminist activism through organizations such as NOW and Feminist Majority? Will these powerful feminist organizations still be relevant for feminist activism in years to come?
Jessica Valenti: Katherine, I have SO much to say about this. Will do my best to be brief. It feels like mainstream feminist organizations are catching on that there’s change in the air. Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, is stepping down to create room for younger leadership. And over the weekend, Erin Matson, VP at NOW made a speech at their conference that made some of the membership bristle. She said, “a great organization must evolve to champion young women leading the women’s movement forward without its tutelage…[and] must evolve to celebrate young women leading the women’s movement forward without its direct instruction.”
So folks are recognizing that there’s a lot of self-directed and youthful engagement happening. I guess I just wonder how we can support that best, and how big organizations can support it as well. I don’t think anyone is suggesting that big organizations dissipate or older feminists simply retire. There has to be a way for folks who have established power and stability to use it in different ways that support new activism/younger feminists.
Anna Holmes: Katherine: They will remain relevant for feminist activism if they make concerted efforts to reach out to women of all ages, all colors, all economic situations. That’s the shorter version of what Jessica just said, I guess.
Jessica Valenti: Ha, per usual Anna is more succinct than I am. 🙂 What she said.
Aimee Thorne-Thomsen: Thanks Katherine. My first thought is that until feminist organizations truly reflect the diversity of feminists, their relevance will not be as strong as it could be. There is more and more activity taking place around the country that doesn’t come out of an established organization like NOW or FMF. It speaks to the needs of young people that those organizations are not fulfilling.
Jessica Valenti: To add to what Aimee said, I think that’s in part why you see so many younger fems doing their own thing or even starting their own organizations.
Aimee Thorne-Thomsen: Jessica, absolutely. And why you see so many younger people focusing their activism in other areas.
Sarah Arnold: On Aimee’s comment about young people, here’s a question from reader Jacy Montoya Price:
Jacy Montoya Price: How do we overcome the perception that young people don’t care about reproductive rights? Or does it matter?
Aimee Thorne-Thomsen: The first thing we can do is stop leaders of major reproductive rights organizations saying that young people don’t care about reproductive rights!
Jessica Valenti: That’s a great question. And it definitely DOES matter. I think work like that Advocates for Youth is doing is really important—putting the voices of younger people at the forefront of the conversation. That, and pro-choice leaders need to stop saying it’s only older people who care about reproductive rights.
And we need quotes/headlines like that to stop not only because it sells young pro-choice activists short, but also because it gives cultural power and relevance to anti-choicers.
Aimee Thorne-Thomsen: Beyond that, we need to accept that each generation interprets and re-interprets fights for rights—civil, human and reproductive—on their own terms, and that it is totally legitimate. Young people are fighting the battles WITH us and FOR us. If some of our colleagues can’t (or won’t) see them, then it’s our job to lift their voices even higher.
Anna Holmes: It’s interesting because my fondness for NOW and FMF and other "big" feminist organizations is rooted in part to my mother’s generation—I literally grew up with them. The question is, how do these groups assert their legitimacy and relevance for women (young or "old) who don’t have a personal history with these organizations, who don’t have that institutional memory?
Jessica Valenti: I think Anna’s question is a really good one…I think they need to be more involved in the work younger women are already doing, and asking where they can help instead of trying to pull younger women in to work on their agendas.
Sarah Arnold: Thanks, everyone. Here’s a question from reader Ras:
Ras: How do you plan to work on more intersectionality with women of color through the digital feminism we’re discussing?
Sarah Arnold: Also, related to Ras’s question, I want to also bring in a great comment from the comment threads:
Cassandra Leveille: What really got me engaged in third-wave/present-day feminism is its vibrant community online willing to link intersectional issues across race, class, gender. On the one hand, it feels like when feminism engages with the mainstream online, we’re still stuck at "Privilege 101," and I wonder if it’s still useful to have these discussions with people who are unwilling to engage and just move on to other goals (be they legal, as with abortion, equal pay, etc. or attitudinal). I don’t think the end-goal of feminism is "having it all" and what that has become shorthand for, but it has to address equal rights on so many fronts as a human rights movement. I’d love to hear you all speak to that.
Aimee Thorne-Thomsen: Most of my work is has focused on working with people of color, specifically women of color. And at Advocates, our work on AmplifyYour Voice.org and through councils like our Young Women of Color Leadership Council make that work integral to the organization.
Anna Holmes: Ras: This may sound simplistic but I like to approach it as a given. I like to imagine, and then create, a world and a narrative that treats the experiences of women of color not as sideshows but as mainstream. Even if no one else is.
Jessica Valenti: Ras, I think that those intersectional conversations and actions are already happening, the challenge seems to be getting them the same kind of support that more mainstream activism has. (Both in terms of financial support and sustainability and in terms of visibility)
Aimee Thorne-Thomsen: I echo Jessica’s comments on Ras’ question. The intersectional work is happening in communities, but most of what we hear about, and what gets funded is not that work.
Jessica Valenti: The question from Cassandra is a great one and something I think about a lot. Take the "war on women" stuff for example. Great that feminist issues are getting so much play in the mainstream, but if it stops at Komen, or transvaginal, is that really progress? Or is it the kind of progress we should be fighting for?
Aimee Thorne-Thomsen: The truth is that we still have so much to fight for. Women of all ages are still struggling for equality in this country and feminism has helped give many of us tools to try to achieve that. That said, we are far from done.
Anna Holmes: I think it’s hard to quantify progress in *any* situation but especially difficult over the past few years because a lot of the mainstream attention being given to feminist issues right now is in direct relation to the INSANITY being pushed by those who want to dismantle and destabilize the gains we have made.
Jessica Valenti: Yes! And building off of what Anna said, I also would love to see feminists take up a more proactive fight. It feels as if we’re constantly on the defensive. Like Anna said, a lot of the great stuff we’ve seen happen has been reactionary activism. We’re fighting to stop the constant rollback of rights. So how do we create a more progressive agenda?
I don’t know in this climate if it’s possible, but I would love not to be letting misogynists set our agenda.
Aimee Thorne-Thomsen: I agree with Anna and Jessica and would add that we need to include more people in the discussion in order to expand that agenda.
Anna Holmes: That’s a great question, Jessica. My initial, simplistic answer is: MAKE A LOT OF NOISE.
Sarah Arnold: From reader Bekah:
Bekah, NDWA: Can you share with us where those intersectional conversations and work are happening so that we can plug in?
Jessica Valenti: Bekah, I’m going to do a follow post to this convo that will list some recommendations for orgs, sites, etc.
Aimee Thorne-Thomsen: Jessica – can I email you to add to your list of orgs?
Jessica Valenti: Of course, Aimee!
Sarah Arnold: Here’s a question from Janine that speaks to Jessica’s comment:
Janine: It seems like we’ve been going backwards on women’s rights for a while—abortions have gotten increasingly difficult to get over the last 2 decades. Do you see this trend continuing (personhood), or do you think we’ll stop it?
Jessica Valenti: I hope the trend won’t continue, it certainly seems to me like young people are not going to stand for it. But I’m an optimist.
Aimee Thorne-Thomsen: Janine, I think we’re going to continue to see these personhood attacks at the state level for years to come. We’ll get some victories, but it will also wear out resources at some states that don’t have a lot of infrastructure to fight these abortion bans.
Jessica Valenti: That said, I think part of the reason that abortion restrictions have been so successful is that they often focus on the most marginalized communities (restrictions that make it more difficult for low-income or rural women, for example)
Aimee Thorne-Thomsen: As an example, Colorado has fought back 2 personhood amendments, and they will face a 3rd this fall.
Each time, Colorado activists including groups like COLOR have organized fantastic campaigns to defeat these measures, but the opposition doesn’t give up.
Jessica Valenti: I think some interesting work on the personhood stuff (esp how it relates to all pregnant women, not just those who have abortions) is happening at the National Advocates for Pregnant Women.
Anna Holmes: Janine: I don’t have a good answer to your question. Like Jessica, I am generally an optimist about this stuff in the long-term, more pessimistic in the short-term.
Jessica Valenti: Aimee, is it is in part because the anti-choice groups are better funded?
Aimee Thorne-Thomsen: Jessica—the short answer is that yes, they are better funded and better organized. They aren’t trying to expand liberties but to roll them back.That’s easier to work around than our side.
Anna Holmes: I think part of the trick is to reclaim and reassert again and again the moral high ground with regard to these issues of personhood. I feel like I don’t see that happening enough—we’re often on the defensive. I’d like to see a little more offense.
Jessica Valenti: Yes to being on the offensive—with all of the issues we’ve talked about! I wonder sometimes if part of the mainstream media acceptance of the "war on women" is that it’s a fight to stop rollbacks. I don’t know that they would be so keen on a forward-thinking aggressive agenda / issues.
Sarah Arnold: What do you think an offensive strategy in terms of fighting the personhood movement would look like?
Jessica Valenti: Oh goodness! Aimee is probably the best to answer this. But I think in part it’s being unapologetic in our fight to make abortion, birth control, and parenting available and supported for all women, no matter what their reasons for wanting any of those things.
Aimee Thorne-Thomsen:: First thought is to protect abortion and abortion access in every state. We also now need to include protecting birth control access in every state.
Jessica Valenti: On personhood I also think we can make clear that this is a very slippery slope in the way it can impact all women. Here’s an article I wrote a while ago that’s related.
Aimee Thorne-Thomsen: Honestly, we can’t talk about an offensive strategy that isn’t multi-dimensional. It must include comprehensive sex education, maternal and infant health care, education opportunity, etc. If we silo our responses to these attacks, we undermine our ability to build a broad movement of support for all of our issues.
Sarah Arnold: To pivot a bit, here’s a question from reader Elaina Gibbs:
Elaina Gibbs: I see a lot of talk about reproductive rights here, as well as mention of being more inclusive across class/race/economic strata; what i wonder is if there is a plan for a deliberate inclusion of more trans* voices in the discussion. The feminist blogosphere (especially wordpress), the tumblrverse, and also I’ve seen it on facebook- the online feminist world does seem to continue to be dominated by white, cisgender voices who at times are outright hostile and even endanger people who are trans*. What will this discussion do to change that situation?
Aimee Thorne-Thomsen: Elaina, I will be honest and say that I don’t expect this one conversation to shift the feminist movements around trans inclusion in a meaningful way. What I will say, though, is that as someone who supports trans inclusion, that it’s my job to try to make that happen in any way I can.
Jessica Valenti: Well, I don’t know that this conversation right now is anything other than one of many conversations already happening. I think what we can do individually—or as people who work for orgs, sites, are writers, etc.—is to make sure that we’re part of communities and conversations that are doing it right in terms of trans issues, and having that inform our work in the most pro-active way possible.
Anna Holmes: Jessica and Aimee: I also think that part of doing it right in terms of trans issues is making sure that our peers understand what those issues are, and then explaining why they are important. I think part of the reason that these issues are pushed to the side is because the voices that dominate feminist spaces—either consciously or unconsciously—push them aside or make no effort to understand them.
Aimee Thorne-Thomsen: Anna, I totally agree with you. I also think we need to make space, literally, for trans voices so that cis folks aren’t always "interpreting" or speaking for them.
Anna Holmes: Yes. That is a great point. A very important one.
Jessica Valenti: Yes to Aimee’s comment!
Sarah Arnold: I want to add a comment from reader Autumn Sandeen on trans voices:
Autumn Sandeen: One thing is to consciously add trans voices in the vein of "nothing about us without us"—as Feministing has done with adding Jos as a voice.
Jessica Valenti: Thanks, Autumn! Definitely.
Sarah Arnold: Here’s a comment from a reader about Domestic workers’ rights:
Bekah, NDWA: Hi everyone, really glad to be part of the conversation. I work with the National Domestic Workers Alliance, a network of 37 organizations of domestic workers and we’ve been thinking a lot lately about the intersection of feminism and domestic workers rights. For a particular class of women, employing a domestic worker is part of life, for other working women, this is not the case, but we are all struggling—employers, domestic workers, etc.—and so my question is about wanting to help figuring out how to find the intersections there and how to bring more women into the conversation about domestic workers rights and women’s rights online. We’re just starting to think about this and would love people’s thoughts.
Aimee Thorne-Thomsen: Bekah, this is a great question! I think one of the areas where feminism hasn’t done a good job is really articulating class issues among women. I think there is a natural alignment between domestic workers’ rights, immigrants’ rights and the women’s movements. So many of our issues overlap and re-inforce each other.
Jessica Valenti: This is not my area of expertise, but I would say that in feminist conversations happening in the mainstream media, anything I’ve seen that talks about domestic workers is from the POV of the employer. That’s limiting, obviously. I think there’s also an obvious connection when we talk about parenting issues and care work issues and domestic labor. Why wasn’t this a part of the "having it all" convo, for example?
Anna Holmes: Aimee, do you think that feminism hasn’t done a good job of articulating class issues among women because class is such a difficult subject to discuss in general? It seems to me that there’s the issue of how traditionally "female" (read: domestic) work is devalued and a sense of (shame? guilt?) on the part of the employers of domestic workers, at least the ones I know. Some of my friends here in NYC employ domestic workers in some way or another but they are loath to discuss it.
Aimee Thorne-Thomsen: Anna, absolutely. I have many members of my family and community who work as domestic labor and who employ domestic labor and there is a real shame surrounding it.
Sarah Arnold: Here’s another question on the workplace from Judy Zimmerman:
Jessica Valenti: I don’t know that I have a "strategy" in mind, but I think we need to raise the minimum wage, have mandated paid parental leave and mandated paid sick days, at the very least.
Aimee Thorne-Thomsen: I also think we need to re-imagine what a good work-life balance is. I don’t subscribe to the idea that anyone can "have it all", nor is that my goal. I want to lead a fulfilling, healthy, happy life and support my loved ones to do the same. That may not be the same goal as others have. That said, our workplaces should be more humane and respectful of the lives we lead outside of them.
Sarah Arnold: Here’s a question from reader Terri:
Terri: Hello, ladies. I am late to the conversation, but glad to be joining now. The Men’s Rights Movement has slowly been taking root in the blogosphere and other online spaces. I wondered if you could share your thoughts on this. Thanks!
Jessica Valenti: Oh dear.
Anna Holmes: Haha. Yeah, my first thought was: OH GAWD.
Jessica Valenti: Yeah, I think the men’s rights stuff is interesting in that it’s probably the first time (that I’m aware of) in the U.S. that there’s a "movement" that’s explicitly misogynist as part of their movement goals and ideology.
Anna Holmes: Terri: To be honest, I’m not sure I have particularly nuanced thoughts on the MRAs because I haven’t found their contributions to the/any dialogue very nuanced.
Aimee Thorne-Thomsen: I think it’s important to distinguish MRA activists from men who are genuinely interested in, committed to and aligned with feminism. At Advocates, young men are part of our various programs, including our 1 in 3 campaign. That said, I try not to engage with the MRA movement. They are too toxic!
Jessica Valenti: Yes, definitely. There are so many men who are doing amazing, feminist work.
The MRA movement also lives for any sort of feminist acknowledgement so I’m with Aimee on the non-engagement.
Sarah Arnold: Indeed, let’s move on then! Here’s a question from reader Emily about feminism and religion:
Emily: How do we reach out to women of faith and girls growing up within faith cultures that may be affected by anti-feminist rhetoric? Is it possible to advocate for feminism within religion, as opposed to feminism and religion being incompatible?
Jessica Valenti: This is a hard one. I don’t think feminism and religion are incompatible, but I do think the way that some religion is taught and enforced can be anti-feminist and send misogynist messages.
Aimee Thorne-Thomsen: Of course it is possible to advocate for feminism in a faith context. Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice and Faith Aloud are just two organizations that I think do great work at the intersections of reproductive health and justice and faith. I think what’s key to reaching out to anyone of faith is to be genuine. I can’t speak authentically to that because that’s not how I move through the world or how I do my work, but there are people who do.
Anna Holmes: It’s difficult to see a compatibility between feminism and religion when so much of the ways religion is taught is explicitly patriarchal.
Sarah Arnold: I’m going to bring in one more reader question before we wrap up. We’ll open up the comment threads, though, and readers are encouraged to continue the conversation there! This is from Alexa:
Alexa: What would you say to girls who wanted to start a feminist club within their high school? What should they do within the club and their school to encourage young women to be active in the feminist movement, and how would they let other students know that feminism is a positive influence in society rather than poisonous?
Jessica Valenti: Yay for high school feminists! I think this really depends on the particular high school, and the students there. I imagine you(or whoever is starting the group) is more of an expert on what your high school and community needs than I am.
Aimee Thorne-Thomsen: Completely agree with Jessica.
Anna Holmes: I’d say: Do it! I wish there’d been such a club at my high school (and I’m aware that, when I say that, I am acknowledging that I didn’t start one myself).
Jessica Valenti: That said, in terms of general advice: try to get administrative support, find a teacher or staffer who is into it. And I think just starting that conversation—inviting as many students as you can to talk about feminism generally—is a good way to gauge what to do next.
Aimee Thorne-Thomsen: I also think it’s important to remember that there isn’t one feminism and that people interpret feminism for themselves.
Sarah Arnold: Great point, Aimee.
Anna Holmes: Yes, Jessica, I think that each school is its own individual case, especially regarding the concerns of the student populace, their experiences, their place in society. The sad thing is, I suspect that not many high schools teach women’s history at all. Perhaps that would be a starting point? To lobby for more women’s history in American and World History classes?
Jessica Valenti: That’s definitely an idea, yeah.
Anna Holmes: A feminist club at a high school could be backward looking—a corrective for all that students aren’t being taught in class—as well as an opportunity to be more forward looking.
Sarah Arnold: Before we wrap up, Jessica, Aimee and Anna, is there anything any of you would like to add?
Jessica Valenti: Just that I know that there is SO much more we could have covered, but I’m incredibly appreciative to all who participated, especially Aimee and Anna, and Sarah for moderating! I hope folks will come back when I do a follow-up post and join in the conversation there.
Aimee Thorne-Thomsen: I hope we can continue these conversations and include other women, young and older, to move forward the state of feminism. And thanks for inviting me to participate!
Anna Holmes: I’m flattered to have been invited, and I will state for the record that I am incredibly excited and optimistic about not only the future of feminist activism but the younger generation of men and women who are helping to shape it.
Jessica Valenti: Thanks, everyone!
Sarah Arnold: Thank you Jessica, Aimee and Anna and all of our readers from taking the time to participate. Please do continue the conversation here and elsewhere!